16 December, 2012

'making it'

I just want to report that I have some colleagues in the business with whom I sang in young artist programs when we were very young who are now -- singing at the MET!
A. This is awesome.
But, even more interestingly, B- they were not necessarily the 'chosen ones' in our programs together. It's just a little tid-bit I feel that I have to mention.

The people that I know who are there are not singing leading roles, they are singing supporting roles, but nonetheless at the MET. They are in their mid-30s, and I sang with them when they were in their late 20s.  TWO are in the chorus (and making bank, apparently), and the ones onstage are men.

Now- how does that really breakdown in terms of statistics? Well, two of them who were in a certain program with me were told they would NOT make it upon exiting the program. And that it wasn't about their talent, but it was about their drive, their attitude in the business, etc. I know, tough love- which of course didn't make the NEXT few years easier for these guys I'm sure.
And now- nah nah nah boo boo--- they're MET singers and of course haven't been hired by the previous program or even considered being asked to return after their 'departure'.

I'm of course on the other side of the ocean and not a 'local' anymore, so I don't really consider the MET the end-all and be-all and my next 'step'.

There might be more to this conversation, but for now let's just say that you can't take every criticism as the end-all and be-all of what your career will be like. Obviously technical issues have to be worked out, yes. Obviously you have to have the raw talent and skill on stage, etc.
But- sometimes you can prove the nay-sayers wrong.

07 December, 2012

radio silence

It's been a bit hectic around here...

Things are calming down a bit-
If by calming down you mean that I have 1 month and one week before I have to show up for rehearsal.
Um, there is still a lot of work to be done.

There are about 5 pages I just can't -  the notes come out of nowhere at breakneck speed, in 9/8 alternating with 2/4 and 5/8.  I'm over it. Kinda.

 Except that I have to sing it correctly.



28 October, 2012

more modern music

The score is about 300 pages long. I have to sing approximately 127 of those pages.
Currently I can SORT OF sing 40 of them, LOOKING at the music, counting my @ss off, and HOPING that the notes with 2.5 octaves in between them are coming out correctly.

2.5 months left.


The things that are easy...are easy.

What's hard is:
The INSANE counting and meter changes that happen SO much and in no particular pattern and every time one 'beat' or one tripelet 'off' -ie, different than the last time.
The fact that sometimes it's just a high G to low G jump with a C in the middle, but all the OTHER times it's G to Fsharp to C, Gsharp to G to Eflat, and so on and so forth- just that little TINIEST 'note' off again- like the beast.

Could I ever just get a pattern? How bout some ABA old-school music here? Haendel anyone?

Thank the unicorns it's in English at least. No trouble memorizing text or words. Just have to know what note and beat they all come on!

25 October, 2012


Well, apparently it was between me and one other soprano for the role as of yesterday. And today I'm the runner up. Only, since this isn't a competition, I didn't get any 2nd prize winnings, nor can I write runner-up anywhere on my resume.

At least I got realllly positive feedback -- ha.
But again, in the end just wasn't what they chose.
That's kind of what I expected in the first place, and honestly, I'm kind of shocked and flattered at the same time that I *was* even the runner-up.

So- there you go. Maybe next time they have something that's more 'my' repertoire they'll remember and think of me!

23 October, 2012

auditions in castles

This past weekend I traveled to Belgium for an audition for a summer festival that is held in a castle. With a moat. and other castle-y stuff. Like those gardens with the perfect hedges and you're like who has time to get this 90 degree angle so amazingly perfect? The castle garden people.

So anyway, the audition was for Rigoletto. Yes, yes, a role that I can sing, that I haven't sung, and that is cast dramatically/lyrically heavier than me MOST of the time, but certainly has a historical casting of coloraturas the cut as well.

So I sang Gilda. Yes, I learned this aria when I was 15. No, I have never been asked for it EVER except for ONE time in an audition in - I think - 2005. I THINK.

Anyway, I spent the last 2 weeks or so practicing it every day, finding the nuance again, getting it up to snuff. And if I do say so myself, I think the audition went quite well.

No, they won't hire me if my actual vocal weight and timbre is not what they are looking for. But I do know the panel was impressed (especially with the cadenza that I sang at the very very end of the aria, which, is actually Gilda's exit in the score and rarely offered in shorter auditions), and then when they asked for Koenigin second and proceeded to ask me about EVERY conductor in Europe that I've sung it with, I supposed they were having as jolly good of a time as I was.

1. This was my first (I think?!) Post-baby audition. I wore the same outfit that I have been wearing for auditions since 2004. Yes, people, 2004.  it's wrinkle-free and CLASSIC.
I am somewhere between 8-13 pounds away from my pre-baby weight/wedding weight (I'm just trying to get to pre-baby at this point...German chocolate is not helping). Those pounds are currently found in my boobs, a pooch, and like maybe 1/4 of an inch on either thigh. But with the help of a glorious product that I wear ANYWAY called SPANX, everything was 'in ordnung'.
I fit into my regular clothes, just not the 'same as before'- which is, annoying.
I have no grounds to buy new clothes. They all fit- buuut the sweaters are a tad short b/c of the boob thing, the pants are a tad tight because of the pooch thing... you get the drift. A bigger size won't help that since otherwise my measurements have remained the same.

2. When you haven't slept more than 4 hours at a time since January of 2012, your entire world view on whether one legato line was as perfectly executed as possible is changed.

3. I did a GOOD job and felt good. But I know I have more work to do. The voice is easy. It's HIGHER (not that I need any MORE high notes). It's supported. But- I want time for coachings and lessons and feeling like I'm "IN" this like I used to.

4. I need to stop eating German chocolate and start going jogging with the baby in the stroller because apparently I will most likely be on the verge of nude in upcoming-production.
Nothing like a 2.5 month deadline to get you working...uhh...I mean, procrastinating.

12 October, 2012

I'm still here!

There hasn't been much on the musical front since the opening of the show, followed by a good 2nd performance one week later (in between I had a huge huge cold and had chicken soup for every meal every day).
NOW it's time to learn next-role.
Modern. Yet again. Counting. Yet again. The notes aren't hard. I mean, they are 'high', but not higher than 'normal' ie, Koenigin.
Have I mentioned that I don't like when music is math?
The music is all math right now.
Triplets, Quintuplets, whatever...meter changing every other measure. It hurts my head.
I reallllly need to make some progress.
As of tomorrow I have exactly 3 months to learn it and have it ready for the first rehearsal.

28 September, 2012

Premiere for realz

Ok, now that I've been sick from Sunday until Friday and I'm finally feeling better I will write about the Premiere!!!
First Zerb everrrrr! hurrrayyy!
Ok, since my throat was itchy and I felt like I couldn't really hear myself (congested in the head I guess), I didn't do anything on the day except for a 30 minute massage (awesome!). Then some light food, gathered up my ricola and pineapple juice and water and headed to the theater 2 hrs before the show for my makeup and wig call.

Did a bit of lip trilling, warmed up - I actually LIKE when I have early calls because that just means that I have all that extra time to warm up and it's right before the show starts. So I'm not sitting in makeup wishing I could do lip trills 15 minutes before curtain.

First act always went by in a blur. The duet was FINE- let's just say, JUST fine because I'm not generally so gung ho about it anyway. I know, it's the 'honest' part of my character, but it's just so ...lyric... I guess?

2nd act- got in the mood with my little black and pink number and tophat...
Warmed up a bit in the dressing room but didn't sing through anything.
And then it was a breeze.
I mean, I was sweating buckets by the time the aria was over, but I felt like I nailed it musically and dramatically.
Plus it doesn't hurt when the audience claps for a realllly long time after the aria! I'll take it!

Even though I had to stay ON STAGE for the entire rest of the show, I felt great. Sang my last little tidbit of a line, and voila- it's all over!

The 'important' people that needed to like it, came up to me and said they liked it.

Next show is in 2 days. I am still coughing a little bit and sometimes stuffy so I really want to kick this thing pronto, BUT on the other hand, I know I can sing on something like this. Now it's just a little tail end of the cold. Not a big deal.

25 September, 2012


Remember that time I sang Zerbinetta for the first time? Me too!
Only what I DON"T have is time to blog about it right now since immediately following the first show (well, kinda even during it, but I dealt w/it) I got a HUGE nasty cold. Still recovering now with the aid of hot water/ginger/lemon/honey and 2 batches and counting of home-made chicken soup.
Next show is on Sunday so I have to be better.
So far it's out of my throat and face (for the show I was fine vocally, but just felt like I couldn't hear that well and my throat was a bit itchy), I got past the blow my nose every 4 seconds phase yesterday, and today is the weird-bronchial cough-up-nasty-phlegm day... which will HOPEFULLY signal that this thing is almost over. I'm REALLY trying not to cough a lot. Just get this stuff OUT!
Also, not medicating at all since I'm still BFing...but so far I'm feeling WAY better than yesterday, and I hope it only gets better from here.
More on the ROLE debut later, I suppose.
But let's just already put it out there that- I had fun. I sweat- a LOT. Singing the aria is NOTHING compared to the vocal demands of singing the entire 2nd act. It was super super fun and I want to do it again whenever I get the chance.

Good night.

19 September, 2012

4 days until opening

So...the show is over-rehearsed, but under-rehearsed all at the same time.
We've never run the WHOLE thing (meaning, act 1 and 2), but we've run each segment over and over and over until we got the note to do 'less', and we got the note to stop chattering when we're supposed to be 'mouthing' dialogue and interest in what's going on.
We are over-staged in the REHEARSAL room and not the stage, and under-staged because we've yet to do anything with orchestra besides a 45 minutes sitzprobe for each act, and OH YEA, we will SKIP over your aria and work on the end because that's 'harder' for them to play...soooo--no orchestra for me until our GeneralProbe tomorrrow night. Thanks.
Also- the costumes are ..interesting. I know I didn't "just" have a baby, but I still have 6ish pounds to lose (ok 10 if I want to be back to the pre-baby WEDDING body), and my boobs are BIG and my child-bearing hips are - child bearing....but PLEASE do not try and fit me into the same costume as the 4 ft 8 Russian soprano who weighs 95 pounds and sang this 6 years ago.
I'm supposed to be the image of coquette-ish-ness on stage... no matter what I'm wearing, fishnets, jean shorts, black lingerie... so, let's all get on the ball here and make me feel Sexay. Thanks.

TOMORROW we have to run the show in the morning with orchestra and no costumes/makeup and tomorrow night is the last rehearsal. Then dark day, and then- it's Saturday!

I know it'll all be ok. It's always these last minute things that seem like they're the end of the world... And then everything is fine again.
I'm just looking forward to doing it with orchestra!

09 September, 2012

2 weeks left

The show is staged and we still have 2 full weeks of rehearsal!
It's bare-bones right now, meaning, we know the blocking and 'why' it's happening, but we haven't done it more than once or twice (except for the 2nd act which we finished the first 5 days I was here).
So- it is done! Now we run thru and run thru and run thru until opening plus 2 BO's with orchestra and a new conductor who was just assigned to the show because the conductor we're supposed to have has been written sick for 3 weeks. Yep, that happens here. I don't know what has to be wrong with you, but it is possible to be an ADULT and get a Doctor's note to NOT go to work. Uh- that's awesome! And you don't even have to plagiarize your dad's signature to get out of gym class in 11th grade because it's way cooler to hang in the Student Council Office and pretend to be doing something very important for our educational development in there for 42 minutes instead of going to gym, getting on the clothes that stunk yesterday and still stink today, warming up for 5 minutes and then doing presidential fitness tests for the remaining 20 minutes or running the MILE or something equally as awful.


Ok, yes. We're staged. Yes, I know my motivation or have 'made it up/made it work'. Very excited to be moving on to run-throughs and the orchestra rehearsals so that I feel like this is a role that I've sung for years and can whip out at a moment's notice.

27 August, 2012

rehearsal days 1,2,3 and 4!

To make a VERY long story short, the place we are subletting was sublet to another person for the first half of the summer. That person didn't find it necessary to take the trash out, clean out the fridge, clean the apt, do the laundry, or for that matter do ANYTHING considerate of someone else moving in shortly after him. So, we arrived here to an apartment that was filthy and filled with dead flies. Everywhere. After the initial shock and immediate call to a cleaning service, I could relax into what would be my first evening rehearsal just 2 hours later.
Fast Forward 24 hrs.
The apartment is CLEAN and live-able, my first staging rehearsal went fine, first musical coaching went fine, now almost the entire "opera" act is staged and that is what is most challenging in terms of blocking. In this production I'm on stage. The. Entire. Time.  Thanks, whoever directed this 6 years ago. Thanks a lot. Of course right before my 11 minute aria I have to dance, jump off of a bar into the arms of 4 men and sashay around with a tophat. OF COURSE.

Got good work done in 2 musical rehearsals and have a rehearsals with the Intendant tomorrow- he's our conductor for this production.

Staging is going fine except that we're being 'plugged in' to a previous production. Without the original director there, it's a lot of 'let me refer to my notes which makes no sense, oh wait, let's turn on the dvd and see what they did in 2006'.
So, a LOT of standing around, waiting what to be told to do. No real 'process' you could say.

That doesn't make it any less artistic, I just get fewer choices so in essence, I have to take the choice that's already been made for me and make it work. Commit to it, and find a reason for it to have happened.

So far baby-momma-opera-momma is working out just fine.
The little one is not 3 months old like last time around, where it was on-the-clock feedings every 3 hours or else screaming commenced. No, now I am not as worried about stretching out a feeding for a 4 hour block of time that I'm called to the theater. I'm not pumping either, YET! Got some FREEZER storage for every time I miss 'bed-time' (which, actually, is kind of often, since it's 8pm and rehearsals go until 9). But since we live about 4 minutes walk away from the opera, I'm going to maybe ask our director to have our evening break at a set time: ie, we rehearse from 6-9pm, always break from 7:30-7:50... and that will be enough time to have the little one brought to me for his last meal before bedtime.

Navigating opera-life again is fun. I'm excited to go to rehearsals. I love this music. I love doing what I'm doing. And just as equally, I love coming home to the little one and reading books and playing with airplanes on the floor.

29 July, 2012

approximately 45 minutes

Between 4:18 until 4:56 I did a decent vocal warmup and sang through all sections of upcoming-role.
So I really do just need 45 minutes a day. I have to be able to find those somewhere, right?!
I've performed the majority of the 2nd act previously, so this always feels flexible and good. And this is the 'long haul' quintet, 12 minute aria, quintet.
What needs more finesse is the first act. Small interjections that are 'talk-y', and of course, the big duet.
I think I can I think I can!

26 July, 2012

remember that one time...

...when I had TIME to do things?
Things that I wanted to do?
Things that I needed to do?

Things that didn't involve breastfeeding every 3 hours, changing poopy diaper explosions, wiping chewed up soggy banana pieces off of all of my clothes, wiping chewed up soggy banana pieces off of all of HIS clothes, wiping chewed up soggy banana pieces off of everything in the kitchen?

Yea, I don't remember that either.

This is not a direct response to my friend and colleague's recent HAPPY announcement that I am so super-duper-excited for her about:

Just a happy coincidence that both were choosing the topic of pregnancy/babies/motherhood and opera-singer-mom-hood-ness.

Yes, it's all amazing, bubbles, rainbows, and sparkly unicorns too-- I mean, babies are magical things. The smiles that I get are absolutely unforgettable and when he laughs my eyes light up and my heart is full.

But, I'll take anything at this point. 20 minutes?
Of course now that it's 10:45pm I can't bust out Zerbinetta's aria or anything.

Here's to muscle memory, learning through osmosis and just going all out next month no matter how much time or lack there of I have now. Prost.

24 July, 2012

T minus 4 weeks

It's 2am so I suppose it's Thursday-- and that means I have precisely 4 weeks until the THURSDAY that I begin my next opera rehearsals.
Ummm, guess what I'm going to start doing tomorrow? Yep, that's right- walking around town with the libretto printout to test my memory. Over. and Over. and Over again. Until it rolls off of the tip of my tongue like.. butter? honey? spit? spun silk? Well, whatever it is-- til it's in there.

Why am I up at 2am on Thursday you ask? No, not because of the baby who is sleeping soundly in HIS OWN CRIB in HIS OWN ROOM (#winning)! Most likely because it's finally hitting home that yes, I am working again in one month. This role is BIG and EXCITING and I want so much to do an amazing job on it. So yea, that whole anxiety mixed with excitement at what is next thingamajig.
Which obviously is NOT helpful at 2am when I can't practice and I'm sitting in the dark typing out the libretto.

One last thing that I'd like to do is find a coach and go through the piece once a week for the next month-- that is easier said than done since everyone is on summer break!

Ok. Forcing myself to turn the computer off. In 3, 2, well, ok I'm checking gmail ONE more time and then turning it off..ONE.

06 July, 2012

adventures on the ICE train

Hello again friends,
You thought I was on summer break, but I had a day that was just too good not to share.
Warning: post about boobs, milk pumping and opera-mom issues ahead.

So I had an audition yesterday that required me to take a train for 4 hours to another country.
The night before went something like this:
7pm- first attempted bed time. Baby wakes up after 20 minutes, crying and inconsolable unless picked up and held.
8pm- 2nd attempted bed time. See above, only this time it lasted until 11:07pm
Finally feed and get to bed- 1am feeding, 2am loses the pacifier and wakes up, 3am feeding, and my alarm goes off at 5am.
Shower, do my hair, get in comfy clothes and bring the audition clothes ready for my long train ride during which I can hopefully sleep.

Also, did I mention, bring my hand pump?
Yea--- 9am in the ICE train bathroom was the first batch. Pumping on a moving train in a gross tiny bathroom- totally not my idea of fun times.

Arrive at the opera house at 11, warm up, sing audition at 12, pump again before I leave (this time in the NICE bathroom within a private warm-up room at the opera house), and then get BACK on a 4 hour train to arrive home 13 hours later at 6pm.

Oh, the audition? Yea, it went really really really well. Helps when you're singing one of your all-time favorite arias for consideration for that same role.
Too bad all the other sopranos were ALSO singing said aria- how DO these panels ever choose?
Is there just one clear OBVIOUS yes? Or is there ever fighting?
Well I like that voice, but SHE acted better, but SHE lives in Europe, but SHE etc. etc. etc.

Aaanyway, I'm glad that I had the audition and the chance to feel like I'm kicking some booty in my summer of music-learning!

End of mommy-boob-tales.

06 June, 2012


Does high-lighting 1/3 of my upcoming score (until the yellow got really really pale) count as doing prep work for next-modern-piece-2013?

Methinks it does!

24 May, 2012

Happy Summer Y'all!

My last performance went very well, and just as quickly as this whole experiment in being a working opera singer-mom began, it's all over- at least for 2 months!

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't be practicing, coaching my upcoming Zerb which will be my first ever since I did the 2nd half in a studio program as a young'n, learning a NEW role for January (modern music aaaagain, and this time I'm PRETTY sure I can't use the score for half of it! ha).
I will of course be attempting to do that while juggling a 4.5 month old through 7 month old- which means- teething, first foods, and did I mention teething?

I've gotten back into Bikram. Can't go as often as I'd like because it just doesn't work that way with a baby that decides that rather than every 3-4 hours, he'd NOW, RIGHT NOW like to eat, RIGHT NOW- which puts a damper on actually getting out the door and 'doing things'.

Also the whole sleeping thing (ie, lack there of) is pretty rough. There are better nights and worse nights. This past week was a phase (hopefully!) of.. worse.

SO. Enough about babies.
Let's talk about career stuff!!
There are two possibilities that are still open for next season, and that I really really really hope I can be considered for.
ONE is my ABSOLUTELY FAVORITE music/composer (I actually had the overture on my 'birthing center room' playlist..who knows if it played or not, I was pushing and 'operatically screaming' too loudly to hear anything else)-- and as of right now I THINK that there is a role that is still not yet cast. Waiting to hear from manager about whether it is cast, and whether I can be considered with or without an audition there!

The second one is another Koenigin- but one that I've done before that is having a Wiederaufnahme next year. Soooo- from ALL of the Queens that they've had as Einspringers there, and the ones that were Fest and maybe not anymore, I would LIKE to be the one they choose to invite back.

We shall see. Both inquiries have been made by my manager and now we just wait and see.
I guess I shouldn't think about it TOO much, but ahhh-- it would be SO nice to JUST add these two small things to my season next year and then I'd be a happy momma-singer/singer-momma.

So far the work-life-balance thing has not even been a question. I've enjoyed every second of rehearsal AND every second of being at home. And also every second on the road, in the car, in the train, back and forth, and traveling SO that I could have 'balance' and not just stay in a hotel for a week by myself and then sing a show.

Happy Summer to everyone- not sure how much I'll be updating unless I start to seriously do some coachings that I write notes here about.

20 May, 2012

weeked o' crazy, part deux

Opera Saturday night, arrive home 1:20am, feed baby 2:30am, wake up at 5:30 to feed baby again, alarm goes off at 6:40 on Sunday morning, get up, get to the train station, 3.5 hour train across the 'country', train delayed by an hour, arrive for show #2, drink hot water with ginger and honey, warm up a TINY bit to make sure the F's are there, get in makeup and wig, pump (yea, see, I went there again), get in costume, SUNDAY MATINEE of Magic Flute, pump during intermission, get out of costume, get on 4 hour train ride home (longer because at night the ICE's stop in more places), sit next to a guy who didn't wear his shoes and smelled like he hadn't showered in a few days (ie: STUDENT), he gets off one hour later, then stuck with a woman taking up more than her share of the seat and doing crossword puzzles, freeze in the over-air-conditioned train cabin, 10:56 get out of the train, 11:10 arrive at my door. WHAT a weekend. Totally worth it. Last Flute of the season. ONE more show until I'm on 'vacation'- meaning, music-LEARNING, rather than performances until late August.

11 May, 2012

threeeee more shows and then ..

Summer break! So far this has been going WELL. I do not want to jinx anything. It has been challenging. It has been TIRING. But it has been good. Good to be 'back to work' so soon and to just take life as it comes with baby and career and all. But I can't hide the fact that I'm GLAD I only have three more performances left through the end of May, and then I get a big ole summer break until mid-August. Sure, I need to learn a modern opera (again!?!) during that time period...but that's different than having to show up with my A game for rehearsals, performances and just basically be on the ball all the time.

Whew. Looking forward to the next three and then looking forward to after.

07 May, 2012


This past weekend I drove 4 hours to sing Koenigin der Nacht on Friday night, went to bed at 2am due to an overactive baby, woke up at 5am due to a hungry baby, drove 4 hours back home for a 2 hour 'nap'- which meant that I fed the baby and was up the whole time, then drove 2 more hours to my makeup call at 5:30 for my OTHER show on Saturday night. Sang the show (fed the baby at 7 shortly before curtain), and got in the car at 10pm, arrived home at midnight, FED THE BABY, and went to sleep.

I was a zombie on Sunday, but I did it! Weekend of "crazy" is over. I have to do it ONE more time in 2 weeks (2 shows in a row, this time the 2nd one is a matinee, so no naptime). How did this all happen smoothly? The husband.

He took off work for a day so he could do all the driving (ACTUALLY we requested an AUTOMATIC rental car, but when we got there they only had manuals left...and I only know how to drive a manual 'in theory'- never road-tested!). He took care of the baby when I wasn't there while at the same time having conference calls with his bosses in the UK and Spain. He brought the baby to the dressing room to eat, then took him back promptly so that no spitup would end up on my Koenigin constume! And then he got in the car late at night and drove home.

It's about a support system. No, I don't have a nanny. And no, my mom didn't fly in from across the ocean to help and neither did his. Maybe one day these are things I'll need to think about. But right now we are LUCKY to have the flexibility with his job combined with the weird demands of my schedule, and it's working.

THREE more weeks of shows, and then a trip back to the US, then 2 months 'off' where I need to learn 2 roles (one new one previously learned but never performed) and then work again in the late summer!
So far, so good. Healthwise I'd still love to lose a few more babyweight pounds/KILOS, but every sunny opportunity we have I'm walking between 4-5 miles with the stroller, and TOMORROW I'm starting Bikram again- after a YEAR off. Oh lords above please pray that I don't pass out like a fool in the first class.

22 April, 2012


We did it! One of the most challenging pieces of music that I have faced so far in my career. With orchestra and conductor BEHIND us on the stage, with a prerecorded choir that had to sync to the maestro's conducting, with 20 actors undressing onstage, being painted blue, rolling around in plastic costumes with glued-on spatulas to their butts- yes, welcome to German Regie theater!! The composer was there for our generalprobe (final dress rehearsal) as WELL as at the premiere last night and he seemed VERY happy! Awesome. And on a personal note- I did it! First show back, with a baby. On the road. Thankful for all of the help that I had. Also, thankful that I said YES to thing and got back into the 'swing' of things so quickly. I am ready to keep going now. More motivated to find MORE work. I LIKE to be busy. I LIKE to do what I do. So- bring it on, please! Up next- the remaining performances here, WITH another 2 performances of Koenigin (with DIFFERENT DIALOGUE- UGH) mixed in at the same time, then a short US-vaycay for the little one to meet the REST of his extended family, and THEN getting back to some Zerbie and new music coming my way. Hurray.

15 April, 2012

One week

The premiere is one week away and I can safely say that I've conquered going back to work.
I have two more dress rehearsals, and barring any meltdowns on stage that merit extra calls, that's IT! The premiere.
This week will be rough because of my calls- 1hour45 before the show for makeup, then the run-through and then notes. Soooo that might mean double duty bottle time. So far I've only had to leave one bottle per rehearsal that I go to. There have been double-days, but each time I get to come back and pump another bottle in between.
How's this musician-boob-blog NOW, huh?
ANYWAY, two more rehearsals. A lot of toi toi toi cards to write, and a premiere to attend ...uh, yea, about that- I have no dress here except an 'audition' dress that's pretty informal. Hmm... May have to add a shopping spree to the list of things to do this week.

THEN, I get to go HOME! And just come back and forth for the next shows. Which will also be a bit of a schlep (2 hr drive, or 2.5 hr train ride each way)...and I have the choice of staying over in a hotel (sans baby), or driving back the same night (long day/night for me..but home in my own bed).

And THEN- one OTHER show (in the middle of these shows)..which I have to learn NEW/old dialogue for (oh queens, how you taunt me with your ever-changing text), and then I'm freeeee for the summer! Well, until August.

Guess what? BIKRAM yoga is going to be my bff again- at least twice a week, yes, this is a late-new-year-resolution. In addition to bike riding for 45 min. every other day.

Now to find a babysitter to make that all possible

01 April, 2012

on the horizon...

Week 3 of 'working mom' and I am getting the hang of it.
There have been no bottle feeding meltdowns yet and we haven't even dipped into freezer storage for milk!
I'm concentrating in rehearsals, and I *know* that everything is fine, instead of *worrying* whether everything is fine.'
So far this is totally handle-able.
Everyone around me is shocked that I'm back to work so early. In Germany most working moms take advantage of the one year to 18 months that they are guaranteed to have 'off' if they so desire, with the ability to be paid a certain percentage of their salary plus a guarantee that their job will be there when they return.
Well- I'm a free lance, guest artist- so no one guarantees whether or not my jobs will be there ever...
I'm glad I'm back 'on' again. I'm looking forward to these performances and another show which will take me through the end of May. Then I get a little time to relax and be 'just' a mommy for the summer (a full time job!) and rehearsals begin once again in mid-August for the next project.

I'm being pulled more and more toward modern music these days. I do have to say that even if I don't particularly 'like' the music of the piece I'm singing, I can appreciate it- the fact that it exists, that someone thought about making it, and that it is a challenge for all musicians involved.
Up next next next is another modern piece, in English, which will hopefully be easier to learn than current-craziness.

For now- I'm just happy that the little one decided that in the last two days he wanted to sleep for 7 consecutive hours during the night. No feeding, no waking, not a PEEP!
I felt like a new woman.

16 March, 2012

working mom week 1

Tuesday morning was the first time I had to leave the little one for work. Of course I knew he would be fine in terms of someone taking care of him (in this VERY lucky and rare case, my husband who is working from 'home' for this month while I'm at rehearsals, as well as my mother in law who is here to help out since the husband actually has to WORK even though he's 'home'). I knew he had enough milk (pumped with love at 5am). I knew it was only a 3 hour rehearsal, plus 30 minutes of getting there each way.
But what I didn't know what how horrible it would feel to come back home for our lunch break, see him sleeping and want SO much to wake him up and tell him I still loved him even though I wasn't there all morning. Of course, NEVER wake a sleeping baby! So I waited an hour, he woke up, all smiles, ate, and then went back to sleep when I went to my 2nd call of the day.
For some reason I still felt guilty, sad, and thinking that he loved me just a little less (as if he knew I was even gone- he was napping the whole time!).
But, since it wasn't me taking care of him 24 hours a day as I have been for the last 8 weeks, it was just different.
I could concentrate on the music. I was fine in rehearsals. But as soon as I walked out of the theater I was only thinking about getting back and whether anything was 'different'.
Was his 'routine' (or, lack thereof for an 8 week old) the same, could I still soothe him best (or was it my MIL now who put him down to nap so often during the day), etc. etc.
Yes, at the end of the day, everything was perfectly fine, but I still felt guilty.
Thankfully, my rehearsals for the first week have been SO light- aside from the first day's sing through, only 2-3 hours a day, which is amazing.
AND to top it all off, my last rehearsal was today at noon (Friday), and we are off until Tuesday- how does THAT happen? ! In the US this would be unheard of (only one day off a week), in addition to the fact that I would be guaranteed to be called at least to two sessions per day, ie, six hours of rehearsal.

So- I'm thankful that with a 9 week old baby, starting to work again is so far going well.
My day still looks something like the following and I don't know how long I can keep that going with so little sleep:

Let's start with nighttime-
Midnight-12:20 breastfeed, 12:20-1- watch the little one roll around, grunt, whinny, and make strange noises as he hopefully goes from LIGHT sleep to deep sleep.
1:30am-ish, I fall asleep.
3:30am-4am- hear him wake up, breastfeed, try to get him back in the bassinet without waking him up since he fell asleep at the boob.
4:30am-ish, I fall asleep.
6:30am-7am- he wakes up again, breastfeed, only this time it's 'morning' so we do diaper changes (crying), clothes changes (crying), begin the soothing-waking-playing (reading books, looking in the mirror, or music listening) for 45 minutes.
7:45-8:15- is he napping yet?
8:30-9, OH MAN I"M TIRED
9-shower and get some clothes on
9:33- bus to the theater
10-1 rehearsal.
2- back for the afternoon until 5, repeat the breastfeeding, playing, crying, napping scenario once or twice and choose between eating lunch and napping myself.
5:33- back to theater
6-8 or 6-10, rehearsal.
Come back, he's lightly sleeping, breastfeed at midnight.
Wash, Rise, Repeat.

Week one is complete, I know it was a light load in terms of rehearsal, but I made it.
Onward and upward.

07 March, 2012

6 days

Until I'm officially a 'working-mom'- not that these past 8 weeks haven't been filled with FULL TIME WORK just BEING a mom!
Yes, I know the music. I know, I know- shock and awe.
When I was assigned this insane piece of music I had my doubts..I STILL do, as I have not heard it with orchestra (and usually that's when this kind of stuff clicks for me)...buuut at least I know all the right tritone jumps, up one octave minus a half step, etc. etc., and can get through it all with confidence.
So- here we go!
Pretty much the only thing I'm concerned about with now is feeding the baby with an ever-changing rehearsal schedule.
Yes, there is a German law that says I have to get pumping/feeding breaks...but at this young age and not quite on any type of schedule for feeding except kinda-sorta every 2.45-3hrs, I have NO idea what to expect- how much I'll be 'milking' myself (yes, this just turned into *that* OPERAMOM blog a bit) and whether I'll be able to have him brought to the theater or have to put some of that 'liquid gold' on ice for later.

Wish us ALL luck.

26 February, 2012

ah sweet mystery of life...

At last I've ...KINDA... found you.
And I'm talking about this modern piece of music for which rehearsals begin in approximately 15 days.
YES. I've gotten to the stage where I can go through the score from tab to colorful tab (where I've marked my entrances), and sing MOSTLY correctly every random interjection of modern music that I have.
When I don't know what's coming up in the score I stop and review it, but that only happened a few times, and the funny thing is that after singing tritones to minor thirds to up one octave down a half step, the ones I actually get 'wrong' are perfect 5ths or some equally easy interval that in my head and on the score for some reason look more difficult than they are.

I'm Preeeeety sure I'm not going to be fired on the first day of rehearsal (have seen it happen before, twice). No, really. I always come prepared. OVER prepared. And with this piece I'm also pretty sure that I"ll be extremely well prepared (15 days from now, def.)

At some point I'll try to get into singing-opera-mom-baby conversations, but for now I'll say that no, I haven't had as much time to practice as usual, no, I don't have the time I would LIKE to start working out and get back into physical shape as quickly as I'd really like to, and no, I'm not really looking forward to going back to rehearsals with a 10 week old baby and figure out a 'schedule' when I will really have no set schedule (as is the norm in opera rehearsals..you never know when you'll be called- morning, day, evening, all, none, etc).
I know it's crazy. I also know that I CAN do it.
Just keep swimming...

12 February, 2012

have i mentioned

how much i LOVE modern music sometimes?
You see, sometimes the composer, decides that he has to control everything he possibly can in the score.
That means, that 1/4 of the orchestra is sitting on a raised platform precisely 3.5 feet above another 1/4 of the orchestra (except the 2nd violin players who are on stage right), and the last half are behind the audience in the opera house, and .. you get the picture.
Well in THIS specific piece, MY character/part has the 'indication' of being RAISED and SITTING in the orchestra (the stage right side of the divided orchestra which is raised above the stage left side of it)... SO, I was kinda-sorta hoping that this would magically happen ... and guess what it is?
I GET TO USE MY MUUUUUSSSIIIIIICCC! For like, a LOT of the action.
I have NO idea how I'm going to be blocked into it, but I received official word that I only need to memorize the last 'section' of the 4 section opera (about 50 pages, instead of 320!), and I have two things to say about this:

One- thank the sweet magical shiny unicorns who rule from their sugar-coated fluffy rainbow clouds on high... because this music is FRIKKING hard and NOT having to memorize the whole thing in the next month is going to make my life (with a baby that demands feeding every 3 hours and *sometimes* takes 1 hour naps after those feedings) SO SO SO much better!

I know this.
Not every singer who agreed to start opera performances EIGHT WEEKS after having a baby actually gets to go through with that contract... I mean, I assume some singers would cancel it, not knowing if they COULD do it. Others may be canceled UPON, but houses that think they wouldn't be ready, and others still may not have even said yes in the first place, not knowing what their vocal situation would be, or not knowing whether they would have time to learn a role (if it was new, etc.)- thing is, I would have said YES to Queen, or ANY other role I've sung...and assume that muscle memory and good technique would kick in no matter what and I'd be able to do a great job at 8 weeks.
But modern, new, completely crazy music? That was...a tiny bit of a gamble.
And yes, I'll have it learned perfectly, and yes, I HAVE worked hard on this even though I've not been the most enthusiastic about the style and how it sounds in my ear (right NOW..maybe it'll grow on me with full cast and orchestra...as modern music usually does).

That's all for now!

05 February, 2012

one month...

It's been one month with the little one, and I now have about ONE MONTH before the big day of going back to rehearsals!

I'm tired out of my mind and can still thankfully get it together enough to practice/learn the music that I have to know for March.
Even if it's only 30 minutes a day while holding/bouncing/rocking a cranky/gassy(?) baby.

More on singing and learning modern music later...
I have to wolf down some food before he wakes up and see if the 1 hour window of opportunity that is presenting itself currently (ie, he is sleeping NOT in my arms and is in his co-sleeper and has not woken up screaming yet) will let me practice for a bit!

26 January, 2012

remember that one time...

Remember that one time when I didn't blog for like a month and I wasn't sharing tons of information because I was happily awaiting the arrival of our first CHILD?
Yea, I remember that too.

Happy to report that after going to 'sleep' at 2am, waking up from 4am-5am, 7am-8am and 11am again to 'begin' the day, I have found that I've somehow GAINED more high notes. Breastfeeding? Weirdo hormones?
This is never a bad thing, but also kind of a useless thing- since nothing is written that high!!
Time for more interpolated high notes in Olympia I guess.
Oh, and I'm back, I suppose. :)

18 January, 2012

oh, hai again..

There is news...but not for the interwebs...

For now lets just say that for my next feat of amazing-ness, I will MAGICALLY learn 120 pages of extremely modern music that I don't particularly (currently) care for (THIS COULD CHANGE ONCE I 'get' IT...but right now, I don't understand you, Mr. contemporary composer), and it will get into my head before I have my first rehearsal in March...
Right now I know 20 out of 120 ... and by 'know', I mean... I have PERUSED the notes, TRIED to figure out whether they have any relationship to each other, attempted to mark the correct rhythms...which, of course, as it is modern, is mostly in 4/4 but then is all tripelet'ed' and dotted tripelets and other such nonsense.

OK. I am PUTTING ON HEADPHONES NOW, and going to attempt to 'learn'/peruse TEN pages tonight.