25 April, 2011

qotn # ... a lot

Last night (Easter Sunday) I had yet another performance of Queen...at the first theater that I was hired to sing it...in 2009.
It's kind of cool to be able to say that I've been Guesting somewhere for that long. Even though it hasn't been so many performances, it's definitely the most performances of one production that I've ever sung (ie, the same production). Obviously Koenigin wins for most performed role as well.

Last night we had an einspringer Pamina, 3 lady, new Tamino to the role (he had sung it twice before), einspringer 2nd lady who had done it with us before a few times, and a papagena who took over the role in November (and was new to me).

And everything worked like clockwork. The einspringers were working off of a dvd and about one hour of a stage-walkthrough of their blocking (which is NOT 'normal' Zauberfloete staging), the asked a few questions in the dressing room about when I say this, when we go out there and that happens, and then...we were off.

I do have to say, yet again, that working on one continuous show really takes any and all pressure off, and I am just free to be the artist I WANT to be onstage.
It's not about the review, about impressing the theater for next season, about impressing the conductor since this is one of four times that I'll work with him live onstage (as in the US), not about whether my agents are there, whether OTHER people's agents are there, whether OTHER general directors are there to check out the production for a possible future rental (and therefore a possible future hiring of certain members of the cast), not about making sure I 'earn' my nightly paycheck for my four performances, it's not really about ANYTHING except for the ART.
And that feels amazing.

I sang my two arias, the quintet, bowed (too many times..this house REALLY liked to send us out on curtain calls)...but throughout the ovations I received perhaps some of my strongest applause yet-- and that just goes to show, when you can do your JOB and not have to worry about all of the other BS (and by bs I mean both BS AND "business of singing"...which, yes, I'm great at, but no, I don't want to be thinking about while in a performance), I feel more connected to the art that is music-making.

21 April, 2011

home sweet home

It's good to be home :)
The last show was probably the best one that we all sang. It always happens like that-- when you only have 4 shows, somehow, even when the last one is a matinee.
My flight was uneventful although I was kind of annoyed that we didn't have the touch screen tvs where you can watch one zillion movies the entire time. Instead, we had individual tvs, but the movies only played and synced up every 2 hours...I know, it's petty and shouldn't really matter, but on a nine and a half hour flight when you are not tired at all and don't feel like reading or sleeping, it makes a difference.

My next show is in FOUR DAYS! whaaaat? Hope I remember what I'm supposed to be doing! Last time I sang it was in...November? December? Who knows.

I get to enjoy the sunny weather and learn two new roles the entire summer, in addition to making sure my competition rep is in order since I'll be in WIEN for the Belvedere competition at the end of June.

For now, relaxing, not-really-unpacking, and enjoying two or three days completely off before starting to get back in the swing of things.

15 April, 2011

show #3 and onward

In a few hours I'll be heading to an early dinner with out-of-town friends/donors who have followed me to many of my shows around the country.
Then, to my dressing room for my hair and makeup call 40 minutes before the show, and then show 3.
But it doesn't end there! Tomorrow morning I'll be waking up extra early (ok, extra early for the day after a show), driving for 3 hours to sing for the qualifying round of a competition, doing a photoshoot (new headshots/publicity shots), driving BACK 3 hours, and then singing a matinee on Sunday.

1. I'm pretty sure my suitcase is going to be over 50 pounds. Have the scale in the room, but haven't finished cramming everything into the suitcase yet (INCLUDING A BLENDER. And FLOUR. DON"T ASK)...so...yea....that should be a fun activity on Sunday night.

2. I have to start eating NO BREAD soon- which shouldn't be hard because of Passover for the first 8 days...but in addition to that, I am 'up' five and a half pounds.
This is like, pre-Germany, pre-wedding, pre-this entire year and a half weight...
And I chalk it up to fried chicken, ice cream, happy hours at previous-hotel and basically eating anything I've wanted to for the past 2 gigs...and not doing enough exercise to balance it out...OOOPS! Time to stop that behavior. No resolutions will be listed here, but ... it's gotta go.

3. Better/awesome review came out today.

4. I just had that fleeting thought about what is coming up. Actually, I almost have the whole summer 'off' starting in June...which I do like (so I can make sure I absolutely rock at 2 upcoming roles), and I'm 'booked' for the fall and early winter...but it needs to start getting more busy. I don't know when or how that will happen, but here's hoping the magic fairies make it happen somehow.

14 April, 2011

show #2 and about reviews

Tonight went really really well again! I think since we all had a few days off everyone was SUPER aware of entrances and timing and the like. I, for one, found myself 'fast forwarding' my head...after every time I finished singing, I had a split second of, omg what comes next when I come in next time?
That lasted for about the first 10 minutes of act I, and then I was ok for the rest of the show.
It felt fresh and exciting tonight...a bit more settled, as the 2nd show usually tends to be.
Now we have a Friday which will hopefully draw a bigger crowd, and a Sunday matinee-- which, even though it's a matinee and no one particularly loves those mid-afternoon performances, we will all be excited for anyway since it's the LAST ONE.

Such a big difference between doing 4 performances in the US and 12-30 in Europe.
The 'pressure' is on, you could say.

Now to reviews---
It would be nice to get a review from someone who KNOWS how to use musical vocabulary correctly.
As soon as a writer begins to postulate about Norina being a soubrette role (as reported in the NYTimes this week), I mostly stop paying attention.
No matter what, it's an opinion...and even though MANY people do know what they are talking about...JUST as many...don't. I mean, yes, they can have a feeling of liking or not liking someone as a character.
They can comment on whether the characters are believable. On whether the sets/costume/design worked. Tempi of the orchestra..balance, ...Even on whether they LIKED the opera...
But as soon as you get some choice adjectives to describe the voice that just don't make sense...I just wonder why they even went there and also, what they MEANT!
Soaring coloratura? check..lyrically thin? Are you talking about DICTION? The WORDS that the composer made me sing? What lyric? Lyric LINES? I never even have lyric singing! I ONLY have coloratura!?
Ok, I just googled "lyrically thin"...and every time it shows up in a review, it's talking about the words (text) that the character had to sing or speak...NOT the VOCAL quality of the character..so, yea..now I feel like THAT's what you meant, except that it SEEMS like you say my VOICE is thin, lyrically. Which would SEEM like not that positive of a thing to say..except that you say it right after SOARING COLORATURA!!!

You got some 'splainin' to do please...

13 April, 2011

day of the show x2

Yayyyy! Day of the show part deux...
First of all, I was kind of annoyed for the past 2 days..because..
Sunday night we had a huge rain and windstorm here, and on Monday I was supposed to drive to an audition about 3 hours away. I woke up at 7am, got on the road by 8am...and all the time I was vocalizing just a bit in the shower and in the car, it did not feel EASY or GOOD.
This is a first warning sign that something is wrong.
My nose was totally clear, I didn't have any gross phlegm or anything nasty...I just felt bone dry. Accessing my top in a light headvoice was barely possible, and the only way I could sing a high F was to 'muscle' it out..which, in emergencies for performance I would say is acceptable if you HAVE to get through it, but..this was an audition...followed still by 3 more opera performances, and.. it just was not worth it to drive for so long and know that I wouldn't feel my best.
I called my manager at a gas station about 1 hour away and asked if there was any chance of rescheduling.
A few phone calls and texts later-- there was.
And so, I made my way back, knowing that whatever allergic reaction I was having for the day would not make me possibly blow out my voice for that day.
The rest of Monday- quiet, water, bananas, and also went to see the ENT that the opera company recommends.
I haven't been to one since 2009, and I needed to make sure there was nothing going on BESIDES allergies.
He took a look at the vocal cords and said everything was dandy (and I saw it on video), except that I did have some redness on the outside tissue...could be an acute allergic reaction to something, or some reflux..
well, I've been PRETTY careful about reflux which I have not had a serious problem with in over 10 years...so I will chalk it up to whatever was blowin' in the wind that night of the storm.
Tuesday I felt way better, even went to a bikram class, had sushi for early dinner, chinese for '2nd dinner', woke up today..and since it's 10:30am I still don't know about how awesome my voice may or may not feel, but it doesn't feel crazy dry like before, which is a good sign.

Before the show today I am thinking about another Bikram class (at noon)...simply because I forgot how good it makes me feel.
Relaxed, rested, stretched out in all the places that need expansion...and calm...
(before the "storm"!)

10 April, 2011

opening night

Last night was SO much fun.
I have worked really hard on this piece and it has definitely been a challenge to learn, but after our performance last night I can say that this has really been an enlightening and enriching experience.
I had fun, and so did everyone else onstage.
I think the audience really appreciated it, and most importantly- my family and friends were there (some to see an opera for the first time) and they LOVED it.

I have a few days off now, have said goodbye to everyone at the airport for the 6am, 10am and noon flights home, and now...it's relaxing in this gorgeous weather, saving it all up for my AUDITION tomorrow (3 hour drive away), and then our next performances during the week and next weekend.

Not much to say except that it's been a wild ride and if the next shows can be like this or better I'll be very pleased.

04 April, 2011


ahhh- feels so good to sing this from stage, with full orchestra.
A bunch of places are MORE clear, a few places are LESS clear (don't hear the instruments as well as the piano banging out my entrances or the correct rhythms, etc)...but in general, I think it went really well. This music is TOUGH for the orchestra, (and the singers, obvie), but I think we will all pull it together for a great show!

03 April, 2011

final room run

Everything went really really well last night...
I think I only made three mistakes which NO ONE would know about (counting), except for, of course, the composer- who happened to be sitting 15 feet away from me.
Tomorrow is our sitzprobe, and then we're off- tech, piano dress, orchestra dress, opening!

A very special guest is arriving from very far away this week...and so I'm planning major 'Texas cowboy' activities during the DAYS (before my evening dress rehearsals).
I am assuming that since the actual sing isn't that tough that I'll be fine for the rehearsals at night...although my backside might be sore from trail-riding, hiking, jumping into waterfalls and playing cowboys and indians ;)