31 August, 2011

5 days, 5 pages

I have to memorize five typed out pages of dialogue in German by Monday evening at 5pm.

This isn't something I've been procrastinating about-- it has basically been an open-ended question that has yet to be replied to by email or phone for the past month since the theater was on vacation.
And now, finally, a reply.
I knew there would be SOME dialogue, but I had two versions, one super-cut, short and improvised, and one lengthy, lengthy and did I mention lengthy? version.
And so, I'll be spending all of my time in the next few days...attempting to smash this dialogue into my brain. Yes, it can be done and I've done it before on a bit of a smaller scale with the last minute Koenigin Eingspring plus extra dialogue a few months ago.
But now that I actually have the whole opera easily memorized in my head musically, I was SO looking forward to just a tad bit of a break before 'work' starts on Monday...
Can I just take one LITTLE moment to be a kid and say "but I don't waaaannnnaaaaa!" here?
Ok, there. That's over and done with.
Now that it's 11am and I've been online since 9am I think it's time to close the computer and begin some memorization work.

26 August, 2011


You know you've had an amazing vacation when the text you printed out and the photocopies of those few pages of dialogue and music that you wanted to study on the plane, in the car rides, and at the beach go completely unopened.

Had to give up one audition which was a bit disappointing due to last minute scheduling, a complete lack of pianists who could play my rep, one who wanted to charge me 75 dollars plus a rehearsal, and the last minute planning of it all while everyone was on vacation (last 2 weeks of August). Really annoying that I was THERE and couldn't do it...but hopefully next time. Was not about to pay a competition entrance fee to someone who couldn't guarantee me a great Zerbinetta or anything else for that matter.

ONE more week of rehearsing in my head, on my walks, and in my kitchen.
And then I'm off to the races again.

16 August, 2011

wait, just one more thing...

Remember when I said I'm going on vaycay and not writing anymore until I get back?
Well there's just one more thought that needs to be 'thought out'. Just a little.

'Tis the season, where summer YAPs end. And some singers (like the ones in Santa Fe) get the chance to re-audition for next year (if it was their first year). Some singers find out SUPER early what likelihood they have of being 'all set' for next summer.

OH SUMMER PROGRAMS!! I Love you and I don't love you at ALL ...all at the same time.
Granted, I haven't done a summer program since 2006. Followed by singing mainstage as a principal artist in a summer program in 2007.
And no, I haven't auditioned for any summer programs in 3 years, either.

But yet again, I'm seeing colleagues who I have sung with in the past (SIX years ago at a year round apprenticeship, and so on, etc), who were OLDER than me back then, are (obviously) STILL older than me now ...and they are singing in summer programs. As young artists.

I know, I know. It's a tough business, bla bla bla...connections, la di dah.

But it seems like some programs have just turned their apprentice programs mostly into what seems like summer programs that hire professionals who are managed, who already HAVE regional and national and possibly international careers...but these singers still 'apply', audition on the one of many 'city' dates for the 'apprenticeship' or fellowship, move somewhere for the whole summer, have master classes, give concerts, get housed, sing leading roles in the operas... and it's no big deal.
They may be treated like professionals during their summer. But I'm pretty sure they're also still getting the individual meetings about future repertoire, headshot, resume, etc. as if they were still 'working' on getting a career in the future.
And, if they're all over 30 (by MORE than a few years)...what are all the 22-29 year olds doing?

I'm not saying EVERYONE is over 30 at the programs, but looking at the very top tiered summer programs, I see some names that stick out- colleagues that I know from our 'years' in the YAPs (mine being in the past, theirs seemingly continuing).
And the roles that they were assigned at said YAPs for the summer- are not roles that one needs years and years of vocal dramatic development for.
No fully dramatic soprano or wagnerian tenor.
Just plain old 'cutesy' roles- even MT- that could be done by any budding young talent.

And so I wonder why the 'young' and 'ready' talent was not chosen, and instead a perhaps 'safer' 'managed' singer was picked. Is it because the company has been burned before? Did they take a chance the didn't pan out on a singer who just got their Masters, had done two small YAPs previously, but just didn't cut it one summer?

But if young artist programs are out there to 'propel' you into getting management, making contacts, by maybe giving you mainstage auditions or by having agents come to the mainstage productions and see you in leading or supporting roles, why am I seeing more and more colleagues that are 30-35 years old, managed, singing 3-5 mainstage shows a year plus professional concerts-- doing 'YAPs'?
It seems to me the only they place they would 'propel' themselves in this situation is to be hired, again, as young artists by maybe the top 3 or 4 YAPs...or the same one they are in now...for the next year.
To again, spend the summer as one who, by definition, is still in the 'grow and nurture' phase.

Is it just the money? Or, the summer gig?-- since the US doesn't really have a regular summer opera season besides these summer programs? It's something I feel a bit removed from since I haven't continued in that summer rat race to see 'how high' I can get to in the summer young artist food chain--
Will there be a Merola, Wolf Trap or Santa Fe in my future?
I know those are three very different programs in terms of how much mainstage time each young artist gets versus the kind of roles (leading/supporting) etc...
But still, if those are still 'the big names' that people throw out there, I can throw them out too.

Well, this Fall, once again I'm EMPLOYED, which means- no time in New York between late October and the 2nd week of December...perfect timing to make a debut at an important opera house, right? PERFECT in a sense that it looks great in the bio and resume and no one in New York that is casting for next season or the next will know about it.

And of course, I DO have time in the summer (my current performance schedule is booked in a GOOD way until Mid-May and then again only in late August), so I could feasibly have applied to ...something...

Back and forth I go.
I thought that by the time I reached a 'certain' ..ahem...age (which I HAVE NOT REACHED YET!), that I would be 'aged-out' of most of these programs and of course, when I was younger, I assumed (correctly) that I would only be having a mainstage career (which I thankfully and happily, am!)!

But as the age limits creep higher and higher or disappear altogether...I can't help but be somewhat enchanted and giddy at the thought of an entire summer among 20-30 apprentices, FULL time music at all hours, coachings, lessons, preparation, and just that whole 'total' musical existence (which is VERY different than 4-6 weeks on one production)..and what a summer like that could mean to me.

NOW I'm off to pack for my vaycay.

15 August, 2011

on the ball

Nothing like an upcoming audition to get the ball rolling again.
I practiced (and practiced WELL) for the past 4 days. I'm not sure what aria I will begin with, but, lately, I'm into the oldie, but goodie- Fire Aria.
MAYBE? I have never started with it. But- it's short and sweet and then they can pick WHATEVER they want next, right?
I have already sung Zerb and Marie for this same company 2 years ago, and DurchZ about 3 years ago, I believe.

I like auditions while on 'vacation', because I am always so relaxed for them. It doesn't end up being my whole day (because of course there are better things to do on vacation than get super hyped for an audition and let it control your entire day).
I get ready in the morning, walk in, sing, and then I'll be on my way to a southern beach resort for a 2 day jazz festival.

Not bad at all!
Ciao for now...be back at the end of the month.

13 August, 2011


Thanks to two awesome friends, I now have digs in upcoming-opera-2 city.
That's one less thing to think about.
It's not walking distance as I had hoped, but, since it will be the beginning of winter in a very 'windy' city, I think that I probably won't want to walk that much anyway.

This week we're going on vacation which will be more of a huge extended family and in-law visit (that's what happens when your vacation destination also happens to be the place you grew up that has beautiful beaches, amazing food, and great people all around).

I can't wait for sunshine and very very very hot weather compared to what we have here everyday for the past 3 months.

It's crazy to think that VERY soon after we get back I will be back in 'work' mode. But truthfully, I think I get so much more done when I am more busy.
When I have a schedule, and I ONLY have one hour to learn the music for the next opera, or to practice this or that, or to get in some walking/biking time, it gets done.
When I have the entire DAY to do all of those things...well...let's just say I do a lot less. And a lot more time is spent on the interwebs.

Like today.

But I will stop that now. It's almost noon and time for breakfast! Then to clean the apartment, plan dinner for our guests visiting tonight, make the guest bed up, did I mention clean the apartment? And hopefully be practicing or 'thinking' of my words during that entire time. Oh yea, and getting some physical activity of some sort in as well.

10 August, 2011

things I should be doing instead of being online all day long...

Since I made such good progress on opera1 memorizing, I felt the need to not do anything yesterday.
Actually, I did warm up for about 20 minutes and do a speed-sing-through of opera1 and opera2. Not paying attention to whether I made mistakes by double checking in the score. Just going on memory and seeing what came out.
And actually, it was pretty ok!

It has been a cold and rainy summer, and in between the downpour yesterday I did take a one hour walk and shockingly, listened to music OTHER than upcoming-operas.

Today is actually starting out sunny, so I MAY just try and take a walk sooner before the dark clouds roll in again.

The thing foremost on my mind right now? Trying to find a sublet for my next gig.
I want to be close to the opera house. But that means being downtown and paying a ridiculous corporate furnished housing fee of between 2500-3thousand dollars a month (I'll be there for 6 weeks).

Googlemaps SAYS that the theater is walk-able from another studio I saw on Craigslist that is a possibility for me-- but a friend of mine that lives in said city says I will NOT want to walk that every day (it's about 1.5 miles, maybe a bit more).
My other possibility is subletting at a friend's place- huge, gorgeous, grand piano-- but, a 15 minute walk to public transportation, a 15 minute subway ride, a 5 minute walk...multiply that by however many breaks we have during the day, and I'm pretty sure I'll start to hate the commute. HOWEVER- there is ANOTHER singer who will be there at the same time, VERY close by- and have a CAR!

What to do, what to do.
Bottom line is, I don't want to spend a lot of money on rent.
That is just silly.
But I also don't want to sleep on a FUTON for 6 weeks.
Decisions, decisions.

I still have time, and actually I DO have free options (not for the entire period) from friends and distant relatives...which makes me even LESS willing to spend a whole lot of cash on housing.

But I would obviously feel more 'settled' if I knew where I was going to 'settle' in 2.5 months.

07 August, 2011

opera dream catcher?

Last night I had a dream that went somewhat like this (from the bits I can remember):

I was hired to sing a leading soprano role. I think it was Lucia.
It was a last minute hire, to make the single cast a double cast. Everything else was single cast.
I came prepared having already sung the role.
Only to find out some of it was in English.
And in the first entrance there was an 'additional' aria that was in English that was sung to the tune of Che gelida manina. And then there was another inserted aria in Italian (Caro nome) at some point.
I knew the director, but he was doing a different production than the one we had done together (Lucia a number of years ago). In ADDITION to which the other Lucia (a singer I DO know in real life), had already rehearsed for two weeks, but every time she did it and then I went up to get my turn and did what SHE did, the director changed what I was doing.
And he said that she was doing it right and I was doing it wrong.
Over, and over, and over again.

And then EVERY time I opened my mouth to sing Lucia in Italian, something in German came out (right music, wrong language). And EVERY time I was supposed to do the 'translated insert aria' Che gelida, I sang in Italian instead of English even though I had written the English on a 'prop' that I could use.
And I never got to even GET to the Caro nome because the director kept stopping me and changing my blocking.

Any dream interpreters want to tackle THAT one?

06 August, 2011

SIS summer progress

Had a lovely mini-vaycay before my REAL vaycay coming up in 2 weeks.
Which meant that yes, even though I brought the words that I need to memorize, I was really walking around a beautiful German city, getting a full spa treatment, having lovely meals in the park and lovely meals inside while the rain poured outside, and generally relaxing instead of memorizing.
HOWEVER- I DID memorize on the train ride home tonight.
Which means that for upcoming-opera1 I am ALLLMOST all memorized besides the FINALE and some dialogue.
Upcoming-opera2 is all there in my head word-wise. It's right. Because of the 'trio' aspect of it, I need to keep practicing it for memory sake and for accuracy so that when the other two actually join me I won't be messing up.
Upcoming-opera3 has been listened to once. But I really do have PLENTY of time for that.
I think.

02 August, 2011

shhhhh...out it out

SO many things are swiiiiirling around my brain right now, and I can't talk about them to anyone!
And for once, they actually have nothing to do with my singing career or an offer from this or that company or bla bla bla.
Except...that they DO have a lot to do with WHERE said singing career travel contracts will be booked ... FROM ...
So if I'M not the one moving internationally for MY job... then ...
2nd international relocation in just over 2 years?
Mum's the word.

And, really, no, I don't know yet. And no, it's not an offer...yet.

Let the googling begin.