20 December, 2013

clowning/queening around

While everyone else gets to enjoy Christmas, family time, and a vacation, my work begins this weekend.
Two productions of Magic Flute, 5 performances in two weeks, trains, automobiles, and hopefully NOT planes.
The first production just 're-rehearsed' for 2 days this week. Thankfully, this one has a cut version of the dialogue, very easy staging, and not much to do. So four out of my 5 performances will be relatively low-stress. There is ONE thing that I'm not too happy about and that is the conductor who led this piece over a year ago, with a totally different cast, not even taking the time to ask us about tempi or what felt good. And what he took just didn't do it for me. Yes, I can sing the first aria's first part super slow, and then the coloratura super fast. And yes, I can sing the second aria in your 'slower' tempo than I'd actually like, but you know what? If you really wanted me to 'sparkle', you'd FOLLOW ME! or at least ask how the tempo was after the rehearsal or during break! But, no. Instead you waved your little hands around and made the orchestra sound pretty at the tempo that you wanted to have the pieces sung/played at. Not so fun. Plus, when the arias are SO slow, I start thinking - hey, do I actually KNOW this text? And then of course I blank. Sooo-- that's awesome. I know it's coming now, so I'll be more prepared than our one rehearsal which happened to also be the first time onstage which happened to also be the first time with costumes/makeup and orchestra. Great.

Now to the second show, which worries me just a teeeeny bit more. I sang this production ONCE, two years ago. The text is the LONG version and for some reason I have NO recollection of ever having memorized it! (awesome, #not). Also, I wrote down the blocking (2 yrs ago in chicken scratch)...soo.... that has to be deciphered. And of course for production #2 there is no prompter and there is NO brush-up rehearsal since I'm the only person that's new and they just had performances of this show a month ago! Gah. Sooo--- that should be fun times as well.

All of this plus- it's the WINTER! I'll be in HOTELS! Sleeping POORLY! JOY TO THE WORLD! I'm still getting better from a super-long super-horrible cold two weeks ago. I know, negative nelly and debbie downer right now, but I have to get it OUT or else it will still BE there when I go to do the shows. So, it's over and done with. Now time to decipher the blocking, practice the arias in a slower tempo, and stay HEALTHY for the next two weeks.

10 December, 2013


Recently read an article in the Times about job-seekers who were asked to write about their current job-less-ness as part of their further application process in order to actually get a job (ie, meet with couselors, fill out forms, etc.) And of course, it turns out that the more people wrote about their past experiences, even the fact that they were bad/negative and they DIDN"T have a job or were fired/let go from their job, the faster they got new work.
Now, I can't start making comparisons immediately- but let's take a quickie look at this here lil' blog and I sadly see that as far back as 4 or 5 years I was writing almost every other day- the yearly entries around 200-300. And now I'm at a measly 30 per year? I'm not going to connect that with the current state of my work-- because work in different countries is different, and also because I was still in the YAP track back then. But- maybe it WOULD do some good to 'write it out' and just see if that approach leads me to any new revelations about where I"m going next.

2013 began with what was possibly the highlight of my career in terms of gig visibility/publicity, etc. I was on a great roll, and kept rolling with it as an offer came it to bring the show to another theater, in between a zerbinetta or two and a queen or two.
I guess that was the 'prime time', and I did try my best to make as many connections and RE-connect with as many people in the biz as possible. So, I did my job- but it's tough to follow up when NOT that much new and exciting is happening.
Yes, I have 2 more queens and a zerb.

I'm not flying back to the US for auditions this year, as I've been told there really aren't any-- well, specific to my repertoire. I've had a few auditions in Germany that have yielded some of the most bizarre feedback I've heard-- possibly also due to the fact that they were in some of the most bizarre settings that I've ever had to sing in-- ie, the theater is under construction, let's set up bleachers in an old warehouse and erect a stage out of metal and clapboard--aaaand go.
Then on an audition that I really felt I nailed (and even have the recording offstage to 'prove' it)- another resounding no with feedback that I can't really do anything with or do anything about to change. It's just my voice and if you don't like it or it's not in 'style' right now-- sorry not sorry.

So I have one more next week. For a role that I've sung a few years back. A FUN role. I would REALLY just like to 'nail' something. I have work in 2014 (well, one production). And I want ONE more at least.

Even better, here's my list of "THINGS": Just putting it out there----
I want to work with ONE new theater (ie, get a job for '14 or '15) in Europe. (preferably the role I'm about to audition for, mmmkay?)
I want to get asked back by ONE of the theaters that I've already worked with in Europe.
I want to get asked back OR get asked to work with a theater in the US in 2015- I know, without an audition this season-- but...a girl can dream, right?
I want to SOMEHOW find concert contacts and get TWO concert bookings- either arias with orchestra or something like Carmina or Messiah for next Xmas season.
And then I want something totally out of the blue to happen with the modern/contemporary music that I have around.


What am I doing to GET all of the 'THINGS'??
Well, I set up a consultation with a possibly new voice teacher in January.
I am going to send a recording with a letter to all of the bigger orchestras here (I've already penned this ages ago, so need to update it and get around to really finding all of the contact info. and sending it, I mean REALLY).
I am going to try and find SMALLER ensemble opportunities for ongoing gigs in the area. I don't yet know how I'm going to do this. I did it for the past 2 years but when the lower-pay of small-time ensembles is NOT offset by my travel costs, it's not really worth it. So I have to go local...or, MORE local than a 60 Euro train ride or 65 Euros in gas.

That's all for now, folks.

08 November, 2013

Back in Deutschland

Back home, picking up the 'routine' again, which, of course, does not include staying in bed until 10am, watching a few episodes of Law and Order, and then rolling out of bed around noon to prepare for rehearsals or performances.

In two weeks I'll be singing another Koenigin, and I'm happy to report that it's the reduced text (yahooooo!), and I'm even happier to report that they're going all "German Wiederaufnahme" on me, which essentially means- I get sent a DVD of the show to look up, show up to the last 2 orchestra staging rehearsals, and then sing the show for the entire run after that! No rehearsal time (can I get a yahoooo again?!), which means I get to spend more time organizing the next few months, next auditions, other repertoire, thinking about a possible dvd recording of some contemporary stuff...maybe just maybe...not sure yet.

Looking forward to working closer to home for the next few months. There may be another international flight or two in my future, but if they're for auditions, that's fine. Otherwise, I get to sleep in my own bed, take ICE trains to performances, and get back in time for a late night snack and bedtime!

26 October, 2013

the Good, part 2

So I get on an airplane 2.5 weeks ago, arrive at rehearsal, have 1.5 hrs to coach and learn the blocking to act 1, have 1.5 hrs to coach and learn the blocking to act 2.
And two days late I'm onstage doing the first piano dress, and two days after that I sang an orchestra dress rehearsal.

The show has since opened, I'm 'on standby' but of course not expecting anything to happen besides having to sit in my super comfy apartment near the theater and wait-it-out.  Now there's a week and 2 days left until I fly home.

And, of course, while I've been away, a few things have been brewing as well.

One of them, another offer for Queen. Yep, I'll take it.

So I'm gainfully employed again (awesome), and now waiting to see what the European and US audition season may have in store for me.

10 October, 2013

i know, i know, but this one is GOOD, part1

Yes, it's been forever, bla bla bla.

Life has been ABsolutely crazy in these last few days.

Here's the rundown:

On schedule for the end of this month: performance with company A (outreach shows, very little money).
Suddenly, AgentX asks if I'm free to do a one week cover of 'favoritest most fun show EVER' in France with company B. Pay is 5 times as much as company A. I'd be SORT of an idiot not to turn down A (politely)...money is money..."it's the economy, stupid", etc.

Contact AgentY and say I need to cancel A (it's just outreach, they should be able to deal with it-- was very polite, and it never HAS happened before that this happens to me, but there's NO way I can say no to this opportunity to introduce myself to the new house, plus 'favoritest role in most fun show EVER'...

All is ok, A is cancelled, B requests my financial info. (last thursday), THEN on Friday AgentX says- wait, the company B in France is reserving the right to decide whether they actually want this to happen until next Wednesday. Ok, I'm thinking, oh crap- just canceled one thing and now I don't even HAVE the other because no contract was signed...this suuucks.

And then on Saturday I get an email from AgentY asking if I can still cancel house B because there is a WHOLE show that needs covering, with the possibility of performing-- at house C. BIG awesome house C that is many many many miles away from Germany.
For FIVE times the amount that house B would have given me- plus, 3 weeks of work instead of just 1.

At this point, I don't have A. I don't KNOW if I have B, and I have an offer for C.

I take C.
I let AgentY know immediately that I have to cancel B and that, contractually, there WAS no contract- so this should all be 'ok'- (and frankly, it was their fault, because I would have really thought twice about accepting C if there was actually something in writing-- and then they go and decide to 'think about it' after they made an offer..so really...eh).

Then I'm feeling just CRAZY because I have 3 days to figure out how to get my life ready and pack for 26 days on the road. Oh, and also to remember the opera- since I sang it in 2004. (And again in 2011 but in a different language).

Part 1 ends with me flying for 10 hrs on Wednesday, arriving at the opera house at noon, costume fitting at 2, wig fitting at 3, rehearsal from 7-10 (I was nearly passed out from jet lag by then-- I didn't sing, just watched) and TODAY rehearsal "just for me" from 12-5:30 and tonight watching a runthrough from 7-10.

Oh wait, addendum to part 1.
I just got offered MORE work before the end of this year. People-- all of this last minute stuff-- it's exciting and cool and all, but really-- mini-heart attack just waiting to happen.

I am THANKFUL for the work and am EXCITED to do it all-- but of course, feel crazy and so last-minute and so much planning and dates, and daycare and housing and fees and car rentals and trains and planes...and music..and... and...

When it rains, it pours-- and I'll take the rain any day if the news that comes along with it is this type of news!

02 September, 2013

just one thing

I just want to write ONE thing.
I know it's been a while.

Here it goes.
I'm out of the YAP game now and have been for years, but- looking at some of the applications deadlines now.
Sure, there were always those outliers that had super early application deadlines...mid-september, etc.
But now- SO many are due by the end of August, FIRST week of September!
People, I know it's a competition to get the first applications, get the $$ in order and get your audition tours scheduled, but the poor kids aren't even back in SCHOOL yet!
Some are just leaving summer programs, some might be on the road home to load up their car before school starts this week! Come on now! Can't we all just enjoy labor day weekend and THEN get the apps together?

Shocked and a bit sad for the people that actually had to get all their crap together including updated CVs, recordings, AND letters of recommendation (when they aren't even at school yet!)!

Good luck to one and all, I guess.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program of me not-so-much updating the blog.

Oh yea, performance this summer went well. Preparing for fall performances and auditions.

07 June, 2013

once a month?!

Wow, sorry for the neglect. I suppose I could say I've been busy, but actually I've been on vacation!

A few music related notes. Haha. Notes. You got that, right?

1. Audition before I left for vacation- if you can't 'imagine' me singing fiakermilli from hearing zerbinetta in an audition, then... I'm not sure how you can imagine anything, frankly. So, thanks for the super positive feedback, and too bad your director couldn't find it in his 'mind' to link me with the role.

2. Audition while I was on vacation- Let's talk a bit about my pet peeves with Queens. Usually, it's that they just SOMETIMES hit the high F's, they just SOMETIMES do the correct dynamic markings, and generally, they sing balls to the wall LOUD, whatever sound comes out.  Well, I 'tried' that technique after being asked to sing the aria AFTER singing all of Zerb and all of Glitter and be Gay. Not because I 'wanted' to try it, but because there's no way after singing an 11 minute aria followed by a super-energetic 6 minute aria that you are going to get any 'delicate' markings with a Koenigin. And apparently from the feedback that was my 'best' audition ever for them. Sooo--there you go.

3. Audition after I got back from vacation. I didn't trust my gut and put Oscar on the list. After starting with Zerb (1/2 of it), they asked for it. I HATE not knowing whether they just wanted to hear something 'short' after a long aria, or whether they actually wanted to hear me sing in 'middle voice' in a pants role for 'sometimes' coloratura soprano if they're actually considering the show. Hate that.

4. I've been asked for the SECOND time in the past few months to audition for Christine in Phantom. Auf Deutsch. Like, we will put you directly in the final round, we just want to hear you and think that you'd be great. I already said I have work in the middle of their rehearsal period and another show in December that would conflict, and they said (in an email) - but, wouldn't the chance to be first cast christine or first cover christine for a whole year make you want to give up that other opera?
Uh- NO, actually, it wouldn't! hahahahah! Sure, let me give up a Koenigin der Nacht in a great house to COVER Christine for a year.  Thanks! You are funny.
The thing is, I'm TEMPTED, just TEMPTED to go sing an audition for them (and bring Queen of the night in addition to 'think of me'). And see! ANYWAY vocally I suppose I should be singing Carlotta. But 'looks' wise I'm too young and would be 'typed' as a Christine.

5. Big audition coming up next week. Have to fly for an hour to next-door-neighbor country, sing in 'the big house', and here's hoping that with the right rep, they'll consider me for something!


26 April, 2013

a bit busier

Happy to report that I am now a bit more gainfully employed for the season. Still looking out for what the future will bring of course.
A few open ended things, a few more auditions coming up this spring/summer, and a few 'meetings' where I'm supposed to be 'marketed' or 'sold' or 'mentioned' or whatever it is that gets you on the radar of houses once they meet your manager and they have something specific in upcoming rep. for you.

All in due time is sure taking its time right now.

That plus I just got over a week and a half of a horrible mess of allergies...

HOWEVER, I'm feeling much better now, even got a chance to practice today, and a small person in another room is taking an epic nap this afternoon (about to hit the 3 hr mark) so I have NO further complaints.

Happy Weekend!

28 March, 2013

Pounding the Pavement

This is the first time in a LONG time that I find myself-- not as fully employed as I'd like to be.
Obviously, 2013 started off with a bang, and that's great. That alone on my resume/cv would be 'fine' for this year, but- as someone who usually has 4 or 5 productions per year, to dwindle down to 2 (so far) is not that great.
I know, it's April. I'm not 100% sure that something else won't come up before 2014 rolls around.
But it's still not a situation I've been in since...oh...just about ever!
Sure when I was doing my undergrad and grad I only had time for one summer program, but then- full year residency, and even in the 'gap' year of moving to NYC for auditions I had 4 professional gigs.

So what am I doing about it? Well, I suppose as much as I can, thinking both inside and outside the box.

Trying to get in touch with every theater I've previously auditioned for with 'positive' things to say about the audition. Trying to get my name out there to previous orchestra conductors that may have concert work. Asking my manager to ramp up anything they can on my behalf since I haven't found myself in this type of situation before. I know from other colleagues who have also been 'professional covers' for a few years that this could be an option as well- if the repertoire is right and there is no resident artist covering the 'big stuff'.

It's equal parts frustrating and inspiring- ok, more frustrating I suppose.  Frustrating that there is only so much I can do, frustrating that it's already a certain 'time' in the season and so many things are already cast, frustrating that I don't have the direct emails to houses that may be doing modern works in their next few seasons to say- hey! pick me, pick me! I'm good at it!, (and even if I did, they wouldn't pay more than 2 seconds of attention since the email is not coming from a manager anyway!), and yes, frustrating that I now have to look back at my fall and ask myself whether or not something should have been different about the 'audition' season that I have (or didn't have, actually).

Inspiring because- yes, there are people who are happy to hear from me and my good news/updates, give me great feedback, and say they can't wait to work with me again in the future. Inspiring because it makes me want to be BETTER at what I do- to find new rep, to find new coaches, to try out a teacher or two, to delve into what I do and make it the best that it can be for whatever comes next.

And then of course, frustrating again.
Here's to pounding the pavement via email, and hope something comes out of it...sooner rather than later.

24 February, 2013

Closing Night and 'the biz'

And just like that, 4 shows later- it's all over.
Final performance was this evening and everything was electric again. I wish we had 2 more performances! Or 10.
Working with such a talented team of creative directors has really been one-of-a-kind on this show. The treatment of the piece was so new and so - how many times can I say creative? - so...so....just...awesomely fantastic that we all knew we put together a great show and were just hoping beyond all hopes that this big city audience agreed with us.

Since I haven't sung in the States since a certain little someone graced my life last year, this is the first time in over a year that I'm getting REALLY great press, and since the show was so well received on top of that, I'm reallllly hoping that this media blitz goes somewhere.
It's already my 'norm' in the 'business of singing' routine to do my own update emails and let people know every 6months to one year about my whereabouts, etc.- but this time it's big enough that I'm hoping this actually translates to calls or emails being made by my managers on my behalf to get the word out to specific theaters that may have 'modern' programming coming up, places I haven't yet sung for that now have the 'excuse' of a great review to make a first inquiry or a first impression, etc.

I don't want to be considered a 'niche' singer of only contemporary/modern music- I love Mozart and Strauss WAY too much- but if this is a way to make a good first impression and if anyone is programming this kind of stuff in the future and needs an 'agile and magnetic' coloratura soprano- I'll take it!

16 February, 2013

opening night

Haha, remember that one time when I did an entire gig without blogging once until after opening night?
Oh yea, that's now!!!

SO. I've been here for 4 weeks. Opening night was last night.
It's been one of my hardest gigs yet. Actually, THE hardest besides the crazy opera that I agreed to sing at  weeks after having a baby last year.

This piece is hard. The music is hard. The direction was something completely new. We were all behind it, and after a LOT of rehearsal and a LOT of hard work by all-- we pulled it off last night.

Bla bla bla, a lot of rehearsals,
Bla bla bla, a lot of sleepless nights including one bout of the flu and one horrible head cold/allergy leading right up to opening night,
Bla bla bla, I hope I sing all the notes right since the composer is sitting in the 3rd row...

But yes, it was all good. And I'm happy to once again report that I have been able to learn a crazy-modern piece, and make it feel like- Mozart. Ok, well Strauss at least.