26 May, 2011

the audition part deux (actually, DUE)

Ok, so I had my iphone recording from the wings of the stage...and the speaker monitor was right next to it so the piano accompaniment is super loud..BUT- I KINDA rocked it...
I mean, I am totally happy with almost EVERY note of the doll song (the pianist even kinda messed up a half measure after my high Aflat thrown in there but got back with me immediately), and as for modern-n-crazy piece, I sang the crap out of it and I know it.

So, yea. I guess I am proud of myself. I mean, seeing as how Doll just isn't asked for as often, I was thinking, ok, maybe it wasn't the best it could be...but vocally, at least as it sounds from the wings...it actually WAS. Maybe I could have held that last note a LITTLE more 'nicely'/freely at the top, and maybe on ONE 'wind-down' I could have vibrated a bit more on one note, but otherwise...the pinpoint coloratura was there, the line was there, and hopefully the 'acting' was there too!

Ok, I'm finished obsessing now. Although I can not guarantee that I *won't* listen to the iphone again a few more times just to make sure and try to pick it apart some more...

NOW I really know that whatever happens, is out of my hands. You can sing your best, your can sing less than your best, and at the end of the day it's NOT your decision.
But for this one at least I know I sang my best. Now it's whether THEY liked it or not (or had a tuna wrap for lunch before the audition...or in this case, some home-made potato gnocchi and vino).

25 May, 2011

the audition

If I were OperaChic's blog, I guess the title of this post could be:
"I'm a young American woman who was just in Milan, and you're not.
I just sang an audition for La Scala, and you didn't".

BUT I'm not OC, and I don't really have anything else original to say, so let's just get down to the details.
A. I don't even CARE what happens from this or what the feedback is right now, because TODAY and yesterday I got to go to the Artist's entrance of LA frikkin' SCALA, rehearse with an accompanist in a GORGEOUS GUILDED Salla Rosa with a grand piano and did I mention the golden guilded entire room? and then- sing a STAGE audition.

This kind of came up on short-ish notice (they are doing a specific opera in a few years which happens to have some crazy high notes that I happen to already have studied in my repertoire)...and the date was available, and..why not?

So, the run down-
Wore a new audition dress (silver), sweat through that in like 3 seconds since it was about 35 degrees in Milan this morning at 11am..awesome.
Thankfully no one saw that since it's a thick material.
Warmed up for about 20 minutes, rehearsed with the pianist.
The stage manager was joking around w/us in Italian (there was one other soprano there...dramatic, so no rep. overlap), we got to walk out onstage to see how it looked before the audition started.
She sang first, then me.
I wanted to start with the 2nd half of Zerb. The Italians had a better idea- the Doll Song.
It's always ready and always on my list...but...it's a TOUGH sell to show one's 'acting' while being a mechanical doll. I would have MUCH rather sung the pants off of Z, but whatever. I added a high Aflat into the 2nd verse coloratura and ended the final cadenza with the normal high G and nailed it, so I GUESSSSS it was good even though I didn't get to choose.

Then, first soprano sang again, and they wanted to hear 'crazy-new-music' from me (for the specific thing they were planning on programming in the future).
Obviously I nailed that...except that the music is so INSANELY crazy that if these people have never seen or really heard the piece more than once, they would have NO idea whether I was singing it right or wrong.
For example, the first part goes by so fast that you don't even know I just sang 16 high E's in the first 5 measures AND an Fsharp.
the 2nd part is written for 'senza vibrato'...so yea, straight toning high F's and low Ds.
And the third part's final cadenza is totally crazy, but if you don't KNOW that, then you don't know how HARD I worked to learn it, and learn it RIGHT.

So, that was that. In between my pieces, the stage manager came up to me with a NAIL and said here--this is from the backstage, it is good luck.
Turns out Pavarotti also walked the backstage area looking for good luck nails!
I'll take it!
And it didn't get confiscated in my carry on items!

I think I have to post about travel in another post..but let's just leave you with a few fun facts:
Flights leaving from Malpensa- always late.
Flights leaving from Zurich- always on time-
Coloraturaaah- running out the plane onto the bus, into the terminal, through ANOTHER SECURITY CHECKPOINT even though I just got off a PLANE and didn't go anywhere...where I got pulled into a private booth because I beeped (ps, I didn't beep in MILAN- so does that mean the metal detectors in Zurich are stronger?), running to my 2nd flight and boarding in 10 minutes before they closed the door- priceless.
Landing in Deutschland and having the plane park in the FARTHEST corner of the airport from the terminal, waiting FOREVER to get on a bus back to the terminal, having the automatic doors NOT open when we got dropped off from the bus at the terminal, running up an escalator, down two more escalators...HOPPING on the RIGHT Sbahn with one minute to spare and then-- SEEING THE DANG TICKET CONTROLLER on the train! Obviously, having NOT bought a ticket, I JUMP OFF, try to jam some money into the machine in my 30 remaining seconds only to be told that it doesn't take 50Euro notes right now!!! MISSING THE TRAIN and waiting 30 more minutes to take a 6 minute ride home.

23 May, 2011


A volcano has just erupted in Iceland again, but so far that has not put a wrench in any of my upcoming travel plans.
These next two and a half weeks are BUSY.
Trains, planes, automobiles.
I do have to say that I'm getting more and more annoyed with air travel recently.
You just CAN NOT find a deal anymore-- on a flight. Anytime. Anywhere.
Maybe if you're flying in the US and you get those last minute weekend deals to vacation destinations like Miami or Las Vegas, yes..but if you have to go somewhere for business/audition purposes...forget it.

I consider myself QUITE web-savvy, and this time around I was having so much trouble.
Well, I did have specific time and day limitations, and I was JUST about to throw in the towel and pay 230 euros for an eight hour TRAIN ride, when I found (for 60 Euros more) a flight.

Ugh. And again...ugh.
Yes, yes, I can afford it. But it just hurts my SOUL that tickets are this expensive for a one hour flight that SHOULD be direct on the hour every hour, but somehow...is not.

And the funny thing is, the flight is at 4:15, I arrive an hour and a few minutes later, have to take ANOTHER train to get to the city center and then find my hotel, and with arriving at the airport early-- it's about 5.5 hours of travel-- almost the same as that 8 hour train I could have taken with no stops, one seat, no take-off and landing (the parts I hate), no snippy airline staff, lines, paying for food...etc.etc.
Whatever. I've made my decision..now let's just hope the cloud of volcanic ash doesn't drift over here in 2 days.

17 May, 2011

motivation part 2

I practiced for 35 minutes!
Yes, I'm congratulating myself on my own blog for doing what I'm supposed to do almost every day.
But I SO didn't feel like it today, as noted below. And then all of a sudden, the sun began to shine, the birds began to sing, I could turn the HEAT off and open the windows (yes it's May), and so- I warmed up briefly, sang through 3 audition arias, and felt good about the day again.


So remember that time when I moved my butt for five days in a row?
Suddenly a magical thing called the WEEKEND happened, and I was having none of it.
On Saturday nigh we watched the Eurovision contest finals and I basically cringed and yelled at the screen the entire time (except when ITALY was singing their awesome jazz song). Yes, I ate cookies and potato chips. But also lots of veggies and a LITTLE bit of dip!
Sunday I went to the opera to see a colleague perform...and then ate the largest plate of MEAT served over FRIES with a side of kraut salad. (It was called a doener plate, but I wasn't really expecting it to be an actual plate of spiced shaved lamb meat...it was amaaazing).

Yesterday I rode my bike to the city and back ! Does that count? It's not the usual 50 minutes, but it was about...35...
And Today I rode through the city at a leisurely pace for about 40 minutes as well.
It wasn't my INTENTION to actually get on my bike and ride for fitness, but I ended up doing it anyway since I had to be out and about.

Thing is, I've been kind of exhausted for the past 4-5 days.
I hope it's not my thyroid acting up again (which it very well could be, which means I should get a blood test done and see whether I need to up my meds).
It got colder again, so yes, that's once reason to want to stay in bed all day...
but actually, it's HARD for me to get out of bed again and I always feel tired, cold, and want to just get in bed.
Right NOW as I write this, I'm in bed, it's 2pm, the keyboard is on the bed and so is my Ariadne score...and I have done about 25 minutes worth of banging out some notes and rhythms in the "Opera" act....and I feel like I could fall back asleep (um, yea, I also only got out of bed at noon...well, I was UP and ABOUT (dentist appt) from 7am-9am, then back in BED from 10-12ish...
So, yea, I'm thinking I should check the thyroid thing.


Naptime maybe?

13 May, 2011

5 days down

Rrrrreallly didn't feel like it because I had a generally craptastic day yesterday, but I went walking for about 40 minutes anyway. Didn't practice though.

Today I got it together, practiced for an hour and a half (first half of Ariadne and I are becoming better friends, not besties yet), did 45 min. of yoga (online vid) and then 45 min. of biking through the woods.

Nothing like bugs flying into your face at dusk while you're trying to take in the fresh woodsy air--then quickly realizing that if you breathe through your mouth you are probably eating said bugs.


I moved my butt for 5 days in a row.

I deserve some chocolate or something now, right?

11 May, 2011

sweatin' to Strauss

Sweatin' to Strauss on my ipod while: biking 20km yesterday in total (went for an evening ride as well), doing another 30 minutes of yoga video, and generally eating well again (except for one piece of chocolate!),...ok, two.

I think I actually learn things more subconsciously when I am concentrating on something else, like fitness, and also happen to have a score open, or itunes on...and of course I'm not being an active listener for any purpose-- I just like things running through my head as I do it..and if anything sticks, great.

So I'm starting a new label, XorSize, because that is what I HOPE to be doing every day now.

Not for weight loss or anything...just to feel good in the summer and be healthy.
And I'm not going to have any kind of Project associated with it.
Will just check in here and list what I've done once in a while, even though I'm keeping a 'word' document of what I'm doing and what I'm eating anyway.

So ... no goals, just do it.

Today so far: 30 min. video with weights (via youtube). Done.
Later: possible swimming depending on the weather.

Practice yesterday- audition arias for 1 hour...while preparing dinner in the kitchen (with stopping the chopping of veggies to blow in the pitch pipe and make sure I'm still right).

Today- it's quiet hours now so I have to wait until 4, but I'll probably do some Strauss.

10 May, 2011


selllffff impoooooosed stuuuuuudy.

Yesterday: 1.5 hours. NICE
Today: haven't sung YET, but as SOON as I finish watching this 30 minute overtime60Minutes interview w/Obama, I will warm up. Really.

In BETTER HEALTH NEWS that may only last a few days yet again-
I took a 50 min. bike ride through the Wald yesterday morning and a 30 minute evening walk around my hood in the evening.
And ate well!
And today so far I've ridden 30 min. (ok, it was to the city and back to have BRUNCH which included bread and butter, but still!), and then 45 min. of yoga video at home.
Still to come- maybe swimming tonight!

09 May, 2011

evil queens

Aaaand for the 2nd performance in a row I have made a small child get UP from their cushioned seat on the floor, tears in the their eyes, and run to their mother or father in the rows behind them.

According to my director my intensity is a "great success" (a la borat voice), and it has never happened in the 5 years they've been doing this performance for kids.

She's super happy about it.
I'm a little perturbed!

And then in the 'autograph' session they all look at me like I'm evil and ask why I'm so "boese?!?!?!"
And I have to say it's only AUF DER BUEHNE!

06 May, 2011


woke up at 4am this morning.
for no apparent reason.
could not get back to sleep AT ALL.
not even SLIGHTLY tired, except my body was exhausted but my mind was racing. ??
Then the birds started squawking at 5am. Then I heard some trucks, the light came streaming through the blinds...and...all hope of sleep was lost...
Turned on the tv for a few minutes around 7.
Rolled out of bed at 8:30.
To the theater by 9 *that's a.m.
Warming up for Queen and in costume/makeup by 10.
All went well, but I'm TIRED
and am SO glad for the entire day off tomorrow.

04 May, 2011

learning other things while rehearsing

Usually I have very little 'extra concentration cells' left in my brain to be thinking about other upcoming roles, but, seeing as how this is Queen (again), and although the dialogue is new, the rest of the show obviously isn't, I HAVE had one practice room session (one hour) where I banged out some of the first act of Zerbie.
The 2nd act is memorized and already performed. Except for like 3 lines of 'recit-y' stuff before the first quintet begins, and that final line of the entire opera.

I was working on the 'recit-y' stuff in the first act and it's going surprisingly well and getting into my head FAST.
Is this going to be one of those things that I learn through magical memory fairies?
Well, I can say for sure that the ARIA (when I learned it as a young'n) was NOT. I banged out those notes EVERY.DAY.
Rehearsed the coloratura, made sure it was pitch perfect every time, and now, it's like a walk in the park.

What I don't really get is this big 'change' from the first act duet/aria to the 2nd act's 'antics'.
The talk-y stuff, fine..Zerb has that a lot, and you just have to make sure you are saying it on the right beat but that it ALSO has textual meaning...textual...hahaha...moving on.

But the Ein Augenblick stuff...it just doesn't FIT her, or does it?
Is THAT the real her? Or is it the coquette?
Or is it that every woman has MANY emotions and parts that at times can define her and at time can leave her suitors speechless?

At any rate, I'm not there yet- at the same place where the aria is for me, where I 'get' it, and every and all parts of it I can embody.
Where I am right NOW is the counting and trying to figure out whether I should think of it in 6 first or whether that will trip me up later on when I have to 'release' it into 2 or 3.

In addition to which I also have to learn Najade at the same time...Why do those first 2 pages have to be in such a horrible key on the piano? Not to mention the Ein Gotttttt part when Bacchus is arriving-- I HATE when the entire key signature is sharps!
REALLY? I mean, REALLY? I'm sure it would sound JUST as SUPER cool if we moved UP a half step or DOWN a half step and everything was 'normal' again...
plus, then I could accompany myself and make sure I'm singing the right notes!

02 May, 2011

re-rehearsal day 1

It's Queenie time again...
This is the 4th 'blocking' of the show that I've had just THIS SEASON!
Only this time I'm also being 'inserted' in a previous production that has been done for the past 6 years.
So the first rehearsal was mine all mine.
No break for another scene to go back and sneak a peek at the 'new yet old yet almost the same but not really the same as before' Queen dialogue (ever-annoying, that).
Just me.
One hour alone.
Auf Deutsch.

And it went really well!
What I have to remember for THIS time around- the Queen is not SAD at all. In previous-production-that-i-sang-last-week she is SAD because her daughter has been abducted, and though she is also a bit angry at P, she is mostly sad that her power is lost and now her daughter is too.
But in this one- It's MOM for a second, but then NO. QUEEN. No sadness.
All about lost power and revenge...
and that kid better do it, OR ELSE.

One thing I DON"T have this week is internet in my apartment (I'm staying in an 'opera owned apt. which is nice and clean and small and has no internet).
So I'm sitting in Starbucks for my 2 free hours (paid for by one cup of chamomile tea for Eur1.90), and then I'll find some lunch, hang out in the apt. for a while, and go back to rehearsal tonight.

Probably won't get to check my email later unless I come back here (schade), but I'm really trying to make it a once-a-day thing...
I really am on the interwebs all.the.time.

I can survive without it ! Yes! I can!