Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dec. 23

It's after 11 pm and I've just wrapped my final gift.

I made the most fabulous soup for Christmas Eve, and it's just waiting in the fridge to be reheated when we get back from PA tomorrow.

I finished packaging and tying all manner of ribbons around the chocolate covered pretzel sticks I made for my aunts.

I sent poor Joe out to have prints made of all the pics I've been promising people from the wedding. (What a drama that has been)

I've only had two glasses of wine tonight,and I thought it would take at least five.

So, I think we can have Christmas now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What I want for Christmas

1. Beyonce's new album

2. Everyone to like the presents I got them

3. To drink lots of champagne

4. Jewels, furs, expensive purses

5. To be cast from a couple of these auditions I've been schlepping all over creation to do

6. To be with my fam, Joe, and my friends and to drink and go shopping and and play cards

7. To learn Donna Elvira. That's a big one. Oy. It needs to be memorized in a month.

8. To not gain ten pounds eating things

9. To have some sense that things are as bad as they are going to get in this crazy country, and that we can only go up from here

10. To stay completely, one-hundred percent focused on whatever is happening in the moment, and not to be sad about the past or anxious about the future

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I have the greatest difficulty coming up with pithy titles for my posts, so I guess the easiest thing to fall back on is simply the day of the week. Creativity is found in the present moment, or so my "guru" says. Apparently, I've been living a little too much in the future: the next audition, the Christmas activities coming up...

I am feeling more and more settled all the time into my place, the decorations done, the beige couches, even, are growing on me. As much as I love auditioning, I am simply so comfortable at home, especially when the weather is icky, that I have a hard time getting myself out the door...

And the voice! It's been a swollen, hormonal mess the past couple of days-- although in my lesson last night, T never ceases to amaze me with his uncanny ability to tune things up in such a way that it feels like I'm not such a mess after all. Lucky for me, since, though I'm broke as a joke, I've somehow got to afford a trip to NYC on Thursday for another audition.

After Christmas, I suspect it will even out a bit, I HOPE!!! I'd like to be able to eat a great dinner before Thais at the Met with Renee, just after New Years!~ It's been a while since I've seen La Fleming live, so it should lovely, with her all decked out in Christian LaCroix. Jonathan tells me it's divine.

In the meantime, we've still got some shopping days left til Christmas, and I really need to be invited to more holiday parties...the 60 degree weather is NOT putting me in the mood. Snow? Please???

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I love new york

I really do. Every time I go, I think how much I would someday love to live there.

And every time I go home to my nice comfortable cheap apartment in Baltimore, and look at my bank statement, I realize just how perfectly fine it is that I don't live there at the moment. Some day.

My jaunt to "the city" yesterday was super fun, and I was so relieved that even despite the frigid conditions, my two arias went VERY well. I could even go so far as to say I was on fire. Which is a dumb phrase, but describes my emotions quite well. So, it wasn't a wasted trip.

I did something really daring, too. I wore a dressy black turtleneck with a black skirt and black heels for the audition. This has never been done before. It is highly unusual, as you are usually supposed to try to show off your hot cleavage at auditions. But I was just too cold, people. And I thought, by golly! I'll be damned if I'm going to freeze my ass off for these people!

At the studio, I ran into my friend Jonathan, who is always a good person to ask about these things, and looked really dapper himself. "It's unusual to wear a turtleneck," he smiled tactfully, "do you have another option?"

Yes I did have something else, but I didn't wear it. I wore the turtleneck anyway, and it was almost scary how comfortable I felt standing there singing my little heart out. It was too cold for cleavage.

Then we three went to lunch and it was just the best day.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Today is a long day. I have to work a concert tonight, but have a good dinner to look forward to at least!! Joe is making lasagna. Which he is quite good at. Among other things. I'm kind of glazed over today-- I slept fine, but maybe it was the HUGE vodka soda I had at the Monument Lighting last night...then we came home and watched this entirely inappropriate movie "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," most of which I was asleep for.

Tomorrow, a baby shower!! Fun. Especially because it is not my own.

Sunday: Second sunday of advent, and I LOVE it. Love advent. Warm, fuzzy, hopeful. Even half-buddhists can enjoy a good advent service.

Monday-- back to NYC for auditions-- but this time Joe can come, and it will be a fun road trip day, I hope, and maybe lunch with JM? I hope so much. I would like to eat at that Vietnamese place again, please! I surprise myself sometimes, because auditions are really a fun adventure for me, and have ceased to be scary and stressful, except of course, when someone changes your scheduled time slot for an hour earlier without telling you. That sucks. Sabotage???? Does someone have it in for me?? I doubt it.

At some point, I have got to get down to the business of buying Christmas presents and learning recits. For realz.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I will survive

the crazy end of the semester insanity that is infiltrating every corner of this place!

I came in this morning feeling so good, so happy, and so invigorated after the audition yesterday, and my first AVA audition experience. Intimidation lurks in every practice room-- but I USED it. I sang louder, prouder, and with more focus. I ran into a few singers I knew, and I met a mezzo at the pizza place around the corner who was just lovely and showed me where to go to get a practice room, etc.

I don't care that I spend my days wandering lost around cities, I don't care that I spend all my money on lessons and travel, I don't care that every night I sleep in a damp bed so that my humidifier can keep my throat moist in my desert of a bedroom, and I don't even care that every morning I wake up and the first thing I think about is my voice. I just love singing.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


oh the drama!

I was lost and wandering around a certain East Coast city for so long that I thought I would eat my own arm-- I was that hungry.

Until an honorable city cop came to my rescue. I am certainly not above doing the damsel in distress thing if it will get me to the nearest on-ramp for 95, people.

No siree.

Three circles around the block and I finally figured out where I was supposed to go. And then it was rush hour.

I love my life.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Loves it

I love Christmas. Like a lot. And for the first time, as a married person, I'm in the position of needing begin some new traditions, separate from our families, for this year.
I've got some ideas, and we've made some plans, but I guess we'll have to see whether we like them enough to make them a tradition. I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself to make it "magical." Or something like that.

One thing I'd like to try doing, oddly enough, is roasting a turkey. I became kind of intrigued with the process at Thanksgiving, so the plan is to buy one on sale and try it out on a random monday night when it doesn't matter if it's ruined and I could potentially just throw it out. No one to impress, and no pressure to perform. At my stage of life, it stands to reason that I've got a good 15 years before I'd be called upon to make a turkey myself, but you never know. With mothers around, who would want to eat mine? Nobody-- that's who.

Another Christmas observation: whenever I hear Christmas songs being played in the stores, I feel like crying. What can this possibly mean? That I am hormonal wreck? That I am a freak? Or just that I am a hopelessly idealistic sap?

The good news is: I have my VERY own holly tree in the back yard. How's that for holiday magic?

Monday, December 01, 2008


I'm back. And so are my cats. Oh how I missed them!!!!

I get scared sometimes when I think about what a crazy cat lady I could easily become. I remind Joe almost daily to keep me from getting another. Two is the limit. The absolute outer limit.

Well, kids, I'm back on the horse, and Wednesday, it's off to Philly for another audition. Joe can't join me on the road trip, so I will have to rely on the provided accompanist for the first time in months! Which is weird for me, actually, but the lovely thing about being a lyric soprano is that everybody knows your rep. And I'm not singing anything wild and wooly, so it should be okay. Although I'll miss Joe, it will be a fun Jessica day trip and I'll take myself out to lunch and maybe stop to shop on the way home. I am the kind of person that loves to be alone from time to time, and without those little breaks in the action I start to feel like I might scream. Because of familial obligations and Thanksgiving (I have lots of reasons to be thankful), I have had precious little Jessica time.

I did my nails last night (aren't you just thrilled I'm blogging about such important topics) and used a cheap nail polish that I must have neglected to throw out on my last nail-polish purging crusade. It looked like such a lovely color-- dark burgundy (which I always feel like wearing after watching The Hills)-- and today, already, it's chipped. Damn. Such an annoying color to put on evenly and properly, too, with no smudges.

Tonight, after my lesson with my teacher maestro extraordinaire, I will come home and finish decorating the tree. It's ten feet and has 1000 mini-lights. I've done the top and just need to finish up the bottom... when that's all done, we can start thinking about what a drag it's going to be to take it down in a month. oy.

And now, off to another fierce inner-acoustical extravaganza.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the great white midwest

Tomorrow, we're heading to the in-laws for Thanksgiving, and by all accounts, it's a winter wonderland out there. I'm excited about snow.

But for today, I need to get the German aria back in commission for auditions right after T-day! I'm nervous about sparing the practice time while visiting this week, but oh well. As my coach says, don't think of it as time taken away from your pursuit of singing-- living your life is part of the art.

I bought a bag and pair of shoes last night (oh the guilt over buying things for oneself at this season of the year), justified in my own mind, at least, by their very deep clearance mark downs!!! I have to say-- just carrying the new bag to work today lifted my spirits immeasurably. At some point I should probably address my self-medication with shopping problem, but right now, it's working for me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2008


I got my wish and it snowed big beautiful flakes for about a half an hour this morning. Yay!

I'm feeling a little relief as I look at the line-up of auditions I have been lucky enough to get...not as many as I had hoped, but hey. Everything happens for a reason, and I'll just have to sing extra well at the ones I do have! Going to New York at Christmas is a pain, but it's also just down right warm and fuzzy and gorgeous. I try not to get too lustful about the fabulous things in the windows, and always try to eat somewhere fun to make the trip seem worthwhile.

In the meantime, I have to really work on my package of arias, constantly in flux, as always, since I think voicey is growing up a bit. Michaela? Anyone?

Tonight, out for drinks after the opera, because I realllllly need one. I came home in between work and the show to make chicken and rice soup last night (my specialty) and was really looking forward to drinking leftover red wine while cooking, and when I took a sip, realized it was a bit past it's prime. Disappointing! So tonight, I'll have a fruity cocktail to make up for it.

In other news, I am addicted to microwave lite butter popcorn and don't know what to do with myself exactly.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It's opera weekend here at concert central, and as I may have mentioned in semesters past, everyone turns just totally crazy. People start smoking and drinking that normally don't smoke and drink, and everyone is a lot meaner than usual. Tonight the show opens, and I've heard that it's quite good. I work tonight, so I'll be able to hear it for myself!

I'm listening to Carmen at work today, of all things. I crack myself up sometimes. And I will have the card trio stuck in my head all day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wishing for snow

I really would like some snow, please. Because it would be so great.

Tonight, we are going out to dinner for the first time since, well, forever! I feel like I have lost my fabulosity...has it come off and fallen in an opera-shaped hole? Or is it all because I haven't got any money? Probably both. I remember when I used to get a manicure every week and a pedicure every two, and go dancing, and out for drinks non-stop. Oh the fun and drama! But it wasn't doing much for my goals...and I certainly didn't have the love and gorgeous apartment in my life that I do now. Things are good!

This weekend, I have an audition for a part I may or may not be really right for...but I think I should try! It would be fabulous on my resume, and make sense with all the other new additions from this year. The problem is always that singing a piece from the show seems to be what everyone wants you to do these days, but I am reluctant to sing something with which I am less than perfectly prepared and at which I am absolutely fabulous. So, the old stand-bys will have to do, and we'll see what happens. I do have a piece from the opera, in the dug out just in case. But I wouldn't dare start with it. It is painfully touchy at times, and at least until I settle in with it. Also, I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone hates it. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008


I did not start out the day in the best of moods...I think it was an accumulation of tiredness from the weekend...

Friday's performance went so well. I was so happy and relieved, really, because earlier in the evening, my throat was feeling odd. And it wasn't just me-- Ms. T was feeling weird too. The weather, maybe?? Scratchy throat, thick feeling cords, and I really wondered just how much those crazy B-naturals were going to just come sailing out like they are supposed to. So I put on extra make-up so I would look really pretty in any case. Somehow, in one of those odd freaks of nature, the minute I got on the stage, it all went away, and all of it went better than ever before. Quando felt really good, and even thought I was late with "Che ci avete in casa," I didn't beat myself up about it. Being Musetta is so fun that you can't stop to worry about these things. I broke plates and glasses and had the most wonderful time. It really is one of those parts I hope I get to do again hundreds of times. YAY!

Today I got my Giovanni score out and started marking. She's kind of a screamer, that Donna Elvira. I'm only slightly freaking out. What I am freaking out about, however, is the Adina I have to have ready for an audition Saturday...but yay for that too.

In the meantime, I seem to have accidentally bought a hideous loveseat and chair that I hate for my new place. Am on the lookout for pillows and throws to make it seem less barfy. Will welcome any website advice for pretty things.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's a tea day

It's so cozy here with it raining outside, and I've got the water on for tea. I like these kinds of days, oddly enough, even though everyone else is complaining about them.

The dentist wasn't painless, but it was bearable and they were gentle with me. The hygenist who was helping rubbed my arm while I was getting the four shots of novocaine required, and was so sweet and kind. I kept thinking how dumb these two must think I am-- both the dentist (she's a girl) and the hygenist, having had several kids between them. Well I haven't had a kid, people. And I don't do well with pain.

Tomorrow night's the opening, and I guess I'm kind of weirded out by how NOT freaked out I am at this point. I feel good, excited, and generally happy. Tonight, I plan to sit and pound the liquids (never minding the strange feeling in my throat at the minute), go over the score, and eat. And search for furniture on line to put in my empty apartment!

There's been a lot of talk lately in singer-dom about the lack of opportunities, shortage of money, and general all around unrest because of the scary state of our economy. In truth, I've certainly done my share of complaining and worrying about auditions. And all of us have felt as though we were being taken advantage of by opera administrations from time to time. But there are nice people out there, who DO care about us, and I found another one yesterday. It was so great to be treated with kindness and respect instead of like just another annoying person clogging up their inbox with a request to sing for them. Yay for nice people.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I hate the dentist

I have to go today and have a tooth bonded and a filling. Is there any chance they could put me under for that? It would be too lovely to just go to sleep and then wake up to find it's all over. Yes, that is my special dread for today. The needle.

It will, however, make tomorrow's flu shot seem like a piece of cake.

I got two auditions yesterday, one for a local opera company, and one for a bigger summer festival-- it was good. I was relieved. Waiting to hear back from these applications is a little like going to the dentist, actually. Dreadful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

baaaaaadddd blogger!

Last night was our dress, and I was a bit concerned, since I'd never gotten to sing through the fourth act with the orchestra, and have NEVER had a rehearsal with the Alcindoro. Any variables in the second act freak me out, because I have to concentrate so much just to come in right and sing in tempo! So I have to admit I was in a rather horrible mood all day, waiting for the impending doom of the evening rehearsal. And then, while I was driving up there, I just realized how completely stupid and counterproductive I was being, and made up my mind to sing and have fun, concentrating only marginally (as opposed to neurotically and obsessively) on counting and getting everything perfect. As if perfection is even possible.

Oh it was so fun. The last act just tears my heart out, because T is such a fantastic Mimi and sings everything so purely and with true emotion. The second act didn't suck either. I threw my shoe and I tried to break plates, but unfortunately they just bounced. It was hilarious! In fact, I was feeling so totally in character that I took the other shoe off and threw it at Alcindoro too. Everyone was quite shocked and pleased to see me throwing caution to the wind. :)

When I got back last night, I was beyond exhausted. It was all I could do to NOT call in sick and then stay home watching Sex and the City all day long eating bon-bons on the couch in my comfortable new apartment. But I bucked up, and here I am, groggy at my desk, listening to the Westminster Abbey Psalter on I-Tunes because I find it comforting, and because I'm kind of a dork, actually.

It's good to be back.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Well, dear readers, I come to you on the most important Tuesday in years, with nothing terribly important to say.

Sunday, we had our first orchestra rehearsal for Boheme, and I was SO nervous!! Both casts were there, and it was another one of those things where you just sit and listen to each other, and know that evaluations are being made. But wow. The Mimis are FABULOUS. I get so excited when I hear such beautiful, slender, controlled singing that also has some heft. Cuz folks-- I've had my fill of the over-darkening and the wobbles. The Musettas aren't too bad either, if I do say so myself! I got the news last night that we lost a Rodolfo to a much bigger, more prestigious gig. Which was a blow, because I happen to like this gentleman very much (he gave me a couple of lovely compliments at the rehearsal, so he is my new best friend), but never fear-- we've got one left. So we're okay....

I did okay-- except that the Marcello wasn't able to be there, and since I take many of my lines from him, it was a counting extravaganza instead of being able to just sing. I really hate counting. Yes, I just said it. I'm nervous for him, though, when he arrives-- there's so much ensemble coordinating necessary. Also not having him around to play off of is tough.

Tonight, I'm working a concert, and will then rush home to watch the results of this election come in. I have a really good feeling, but as they always say-- it's not over til it's over.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

so tired

I'm still on Maui time, apparently, and can't fall asleep at the right times, resulting in a chronic lack of sleep problem. Driving to PA tonight for my lesson is going to be brutal. Oy.

But I need it. It's time for a tune-up.

Although, the week of relaxing, eating, drinking, spa-ing, and NOT thinking about singing at all, in the humid climate must have been good for my cords, as I surprised myself by vocalizing up to a VERY easy high e-natural. YES. Violetta, here I come. Just kidding. Lord knows the world doesn't need another aspiring Violetta. I aspire to much smaller things: could someone please grant me a freaking audition? I'm starting to feel bad about myself and a little worried, especially since I've been ADDING to my resume a lot this year.

Sunday I have a marathon orchestra rehearsal and run-through and I have to tell you I'm kind of dreading it-- there's a little awkwardness between the Marcello and I, but I think that after this Sunday we will have bonded.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back to reality

WOW. Where do I begin??? The most fabulous 2 weeks of my life have come and gone. What fun it all was-- the wedding, Maui, and now we're moving into our new place!

And I have one thing to say: all the drama, the hard work, and the hot-gluing was 100% worth it. Never let anyone tell you it isn't. I had the absolute BEST time, and people have such an amazing way of coming through for you and stepping in when you need them.

I've been told that weddings tend to bring out the best and the worst in people. This is completely correct. You learn things about people you simply never knew before-- and while there were a few disappointments, I can whole-heartedly say that I am more thrilled and in love with my best friends than I ever was before. The ones standing up there with me (and a couple of adorable usherettes who tended to me in my most freaked out minutes before walking down the aisle) were truly the people who I know I can trust.

I am so unbelievably lucky!! Now, if I can just get some auditions...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Never shall I touch a glue gun again

It was an intense few days, but I'm pretty sure MOST everything is done!

I tried to practice yesterday and my voice sounds HORRIBLE, so I think I'll have a lot of reconditioning to do when the whole things is over...or maybe it was just a bad night.

After today, Drew will be in charge of the Joe and Jess Wedding Show. And I will have a little time to shop for a few last things, and try to spend a bit of quality time with Musetta before leaving on the honeymoon!

Love it.

Bye for now!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

home stretch

we're getting there. slowly but surely.

it is way too fun to go out to dinner with my grandmother and mom every night and have drinks too.

and now, after all the drama, I have just one thing to say: I cannot wait to get married.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Good news

We got SO many branches glued last night!!! I was so proud of the effort of my mom and Joe and I-- although, when Drew brought them over, I thought I was totally screwed because they were not the right color, and looked somehow fresher, greener and less brown and dead than I wanted them to be, so that they would fit with my color scheme. I was on the verge of making my mom drive me to Walmart so that we could get spray paint and make them dark brown like I wanted. Oh yeah, that would've been dumb. But by the time we'd made this decision it was already getting late, and I would have felt bad calling in reinforcements at that hour-- Ms. T had volunteered her services. The other scare is that, well, we didn't have enough branches and need to order more. Which means I may not have them in time for the branch gluing party I was planning on Sunday night. Sighhhh.

I got some very sad news yesterday about someone in my immediate family who won't be able to come to the wedding, and the heavy sad feeling has carried over til today, I'm afraid. I'm trying to get myself together so that I don't bomb at rehearsal tonight. When I woke up this morning it was as if I hadn't slept at all, even though I got 8 full hours of sleep! So, I brought my score today, to go over my blocking. I will overcome this feeling!!!! I will rock it out tonight even if it kills me!! I will not let me issues affect my voice, even though when I tried to practice last night I sounded like a bleating sheep. :)

Tomorrow is the Baltimore Marathon, which means we are basically trapped in our neighborhood because of the street closures. I PRAY that I can get out in time to go to the wedding I have to sing for!

But it IS Friday, whatever other problems we all may have, and the weekend is here!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

noticing a pattern

It used to be that I was totally exhausted by Friday. That Friday was the day I crashed: walked in to work wearing god knows what, having shown no apparent interest in my make-up or clothes, clutching a large coffee, with drooping features and large circles under my eyes. That was before the wedding planning and Boheme.

Now, my friends, Thursday is the new Friday, and I find myself at this desk barely able to keep my eyes open, worried about gluing flowers on branches, worried about rehearsal tomorrow night, worried that I'm not practicing as much as I need to to be fabulous, sad that I'm finally doing a role I always dreamed about but there is so much other crazy stuff going on (moving, wedding, job) that I can't throw myself into it as I would like, trying to keep myself from bursting into tears. I did manage, somehow, to put on a decent outfit. I think.

Around 9 am, when I was actually already supposed to be at work, I had Joe drive me around the block so that I could stop and get another coffee. Well, just as we pulled up, naturally the big boss of the school walked in the door, and since I was supposed to be at work I couldn't go in and show my face. So, no coffee for Jess.

Tea? Yes, I can boil some water in the carcinogen-producing (oh, I am so not spelling that right) electric kettle. But tea is dumb and I don't like tea that much and I am falling apart.

This is all very ridiculous and dumb, I realize, in light of the stock market crashing, the possibility of another republican president looming on the horizon, world hunger, injustice, Darfur, Tibet, etc. I also realize that I was the one who chose to have a rather large wedding (or so it would seem at this point), instead of simply going over to the courthouse and doing it, or going to Vegas, or having it in a bowling alley, like my boss always jokes that I should. So it really is my own fault, but I know I will be so glad and realize it was all worth it.

I promise that in about an hour I will be over it. I really will.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

gluing flowers on sticks

Because I am apparently the genius of creating unnecessary stress and heartache for myself, I planned very early on in this wedding process that I would do all my own decorations, menu cards, place cards, candles, etc. for the reception. Sans (that's French for "without," Robert) florist. The original plan was not, of course, supposed to be stressful in any way, and was supposed to save me thousands of dollars. Which could only be considered smart, frugal, and very practical, right? I'm doing these big branches in tall glass cylinders. With little white flowers glued randomly all over them. Whatever it sounds like, or whatever image that may conjure up in your mind: I promise, it is going to be SO pretty. For real.

I was supposed to have those hundreds of branches yesterday, so I could start hot gluing like my life depends on it.

Well, Matt, or whatever his name is, from the warehouse called and said they won't be able to get them from Pennsylvania, or Transylvania or wherever until Friday morning.

Never mind that I have rehearsal Friday night and will have no time to begin gluing frantically. Never mind that I have to sing at another wedding Saturday, which will literally take up hours of good gluing time. Never mind that on Sunday I have an approximately ten hour hair appointment, and then on Monday, everyone starts arriving from our of town and all hell will break loose.

I'm not freaking out yet. Really I'm not.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Could you just let me sing, please?

Friday night: Was I out drinking like the rest of America, and like any girl in her twenties whose wedding is in two weeks should be? No. Joe was kind enough to chauffeur AG and I to opera rehearsal, so it was really fun, and we had a great time on the drives there and back. Everything in between, however, like the actual rehearsal, for instance, was a little stressful. It was our first time doing the blocking and singing off book. And all of us Musettas were there watching each other.

I am doing my very best to not compare myself to them, or succumb to the usual competition that's kind of built in to the double cast relationship. And it's easier this time than most, because I really like AG and respect her as a musician. We're different singers, of course, but at a similar place in our vocal development.

Saturday, no rest for the weary. I dragged myself out of bed and curled my hair and got the make-up bag together (I'm pretty sure I also took a shower at some point that morning, but I have no recollection of it), and took off with Joe for Philly for the next audition on my list. The drive was insane. There was a huge accident, involving a tractor trailer with a chemical spill, of all things, and a ten mile back up on 95. It was quite a scene, and everyone was driving in reverse back up an on-ramp to the highway to avoid the traffic. And I felt like I was in a movie, or the twilight zone or something. Joe is brave and followed suit, so that we could find an alternate route and not miss my audition...

It was the most unbelievably gorgeous day in Rittenhouse Square, and everyone was eating brunch outside at the restaurants, and old ladies were at tables registering people to vote, and it was just a totally uplifting place to be. Of course, we had the usual park-the-car-rush-to-get-jessica-to-a-bathroom drama that happens every SINGLE time we go on an audition trip, but I made it in time.

After all that time in the car, I got to the venue, and low and behold, big surprise: no place to warm up. EXCEPT for a very scary, probably haunted, musty basement with lots of old furniture scattered around. But I did it, I kind of actually nailed it, and sang three full arias, including my new Countess action. Afterward, it was interesting, because the conductor took a little time to talk to me, and I told him about my recent changes to the rep list. When I talked about Susanna, he said "Actually, I could still see you doing that." Yes, so I could I. But I like this other aria so much better, people. So, I'll keep both of my Figaro girls, and sing whichever I feel like???? AHHHH!!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


We got burnt just a bit too crisp last night, I'm afraid. Although I'm doing a pretty good job of covering it up. And I have some stripes, which will look great with my gown. Curses on my brilliant idea of going to the ghetto tanning place just because it was convenient. I see a stand-up bed in my immediate future, and after the swelling goes down. JK

Therapy today was oddly therapeutic, although, after taking a long break, you always have to rehash things you really thought you were over. And you probably were. But, hey. I cried for the first time in weeks, but realized that all in all, I'm doing pretty well with all this stuff. I'm coping while not fabulously, better than most. As Aunt Nancy is fond of saying: "It's a wonder you're not a serial killer."

At this stage in the game, most brides are a couple weeks into their starvation plan, but I've been nothing but hungry for literally days straight. Am I not getting enough sleep? Probably not, but hey. I want everything in sight: Fries, pizza, cookies. Luckily, I've only been eating reallllllly truly bad stuff about once a week. But does the seconds of vegetarian stir-fry from last night count? No, but I guess the skittles kind of do. Oy.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The camera adds ten pounds

I watched a video of myself last week. And I don't have to tell you that it completely ruined my day. Yes, I am that self-absorbed. Do I really look like that? Oy. It was rough. I'd been doing so well with my self-image issues, just trying to "listen to my body" **barf** and be good to myself, and then this video comes along and plops me right back on the train to neurotic-ville. So I was totally freaking out, but then this morning I put on a "certain" pair of pants, and well, they were a little bit loose. sigh of relief.

Oh well. It was a rough week for my self-image. I was reading a fellow singer's blog the other day, someone I don't know personally, and came upon an entry that contained some thinly-veiled tasteless criticism of my most recent show. Nothing bad about me specifically, but I guess I can chalk it up to: GET USED TO IT. NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LIKE EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME.

I had a lesson with my teacher on Monday, and it was great to be able to tell him about GS, and La Boheme (which shall henceforth be referred to as LB), and the offer to do Donna Elvira. I was slightly dreading telling him about the latter, because I knew his eyebrows would go up, and he would say, in the most fatherly and protective of ways, "That's a BIG role." Which is, of course, exactly what he did say. But then he shrugged his shoulders and asked how many performances and what venue and promptly replied that it couldn't hurt. So, I'm really seriously considering it. The biggest problem, of course, being "Mi tradi" which is enough to make anyone scream.

This Saturday, we're taking a road trip to Philly for an audition for which I have added to my rep for the first time: The Countess. It feels so much better than trying to squeeze myself into "Vedrai, carino," and when I told my teacher I even had it on the list for the last one, he winced, as if in obvious pain. Which is actually akin to what I felt when I realized it simply isn't for me. Because I really freaking like that aria and I LOVE Zerlina. Hands down the coolest girl in Mozart, besides, maybe Susanna.

Tonight, I will do something I generally don't necessarily approve of, except in extremely small doses once in awhile: going to the tanning bed. Don't judge me. I'm the bride.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Well, it was a crazy weekend. I sang at a wedding, worked tirelessly on my own (lots of little crafts to do, all of which resulted in Joe and I with glitter all over our bodies), sang a little, freaked out a little, bought groceries, complained that we're broke, and packed a few boxes to top it all off.

REALLY fun stuff, though. The debates, of course, at Ms. Z's. She made this unreal cake, too.

Oh man, and I went to the MAC counter and bought make-up. For the wedding, and for auditions, of course. What fun that was.

And now, I am back to my usual: going to my lesson tonight, stressing about my next Boheme rehearsal, because of course you can never know the second act well enough, and wishing that I had an extra thousand dollars to spend on clothes.

But, somehow, I am SO looking forward to the drive tonight. There's something oddly familiar and comforting about driving and stopping at gas stations to buy sodas. I will enjoy it. And try to go over my blocking in my head.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Musetta = running around the stage like a crazy person

Last night: blocking. YES. Love it.

I realized something important. I cannot sing, run around the stage, pay attention to the accompaniment to come in properly, read the blocking notes I've got written in my score, and breathe all at the same time. It just turns into quite the cacophany indeed. The director had said that she didn't care whether we sang or not, but just to try to do everything she'd given us in time with the music.

Now this is the second act, here, people. It's FAST. Basically like a bat out of hell.

Well, it wouldn't have been so bad, if my dear double-cast mate AG hadn't handled it all with such aplomb, managing to get to all the right places on the stage, AND come in, AND sing gorgeous high notes all at the same time.

Thank god it's the first rehearsal, and I've got plenty of time to work it out, at home, in privacy, with only Pete and Mimi the cats to notice how crazy I'm being. So there really is no reason to feel like a dork, but somehow I still do.

Just got an offer yesterday to do Elvira. I brought Don Giovanni to work with me today, and spend a little time look through the score. Something tells me it might be a bit much. We'll see.

Tonight, we're officially celebrating our birthdays, and going out to dinner. I'm wearing my grey boots today, too! Then, we'll go to Ms. Z's to watch the debates, which HAD BETTER BE HAPPENING. Come on, people.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The best year ever

I really have had one of the best years of my life, although it seems that in my mind I think that every year, this year I'm saying it.

I'm sitting at my desk, and I just feel so oddly good, and weird at the same time. Getting older is a weird thing. I could never have planned my life out the way it has started to unfold, because it's been a little surprising at times, but it is nothing if not proof that things always work out for the best, if in fact, you choose to see it that way.

Today, I'm wearing an incredibly sexy new sweatery kind of thing Joe gave me for my birthday, and tonight I have rehearsal. Yay!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I was practicing, but now I'm sitting at the computer amusing myself with Joyce DiDonato's fabulous blog and drinking cava. By accident, of course. While Joe talks to Julian about various things in their usual tradition of late night phone calls. Oh, and is it pathetic and embarrassing that I keep listening to the fourth act of Boheme OVER and OVER, espcecially the duet with Marcello and Rodolfo...

I'm starting to get drunk, and it comes at the perfect time. In two days, darlings, I will be 29.

life works itself out

I LOVE my fiancee!@!!!

He is helping me so much with all the insane wedding details, and always makes time to play through things with me when I need him. We won't even mention how many times I've dragged him on what we now lovingly refer to as "road trips," but that are actually long hellish drives through any amount of traffic gridlock punctuated by me suddenly announcing that I have to get to a ladies room RIGHT AWAY. Like now. It can come at any time, especially with the amount of liquids I ingest. He is so patient and merely laughs at how annoying I am being! Then we stop at McDonald's or Subway if we are being good, after. All this to sing for five minutes and then leave. But that's how we do.

What a day at work it has been. I am breathless and dying to have dinner at home in the quiet and watch Barefoot Contessa. And that is exactly what I will do.

Thank you. Goodbye.

Today I'm better

Yesterday, I felt like I was falling apart, and began to wonder what exactly was wrong with me...like maybe I had mono or something, since I've been one hundred percent exhausted and sick feeling for the past three-four days. But today, I'm so much better, and I feel like I can be in control of my life again. Maybe it was the aftermath of the weekend. Yes, I think it was.

In other news, life goes on, and it's three weeks til the wedding.

In other, other news, I'm hoping against hope I get some auditions out of all the applications I've sent out: something like 17. Geez. I know they got them, because I'll be darned if they haven't started cashing my checks, don't you know. It's the worst form of torture to wait around for all those checks to go through, really just crossing your fingers you have the money in your account when it happens! I appreciate, however, all the companies that cash them right away, because it saves me a lot of heartache.

My first audition of the season was very enlightening. It was in one of New York's most infamously dry venues. Unforgiving, shall we say? Yes. I sang my heart out in my first piece, trying not to push to crazily in order to hear myself. Then, the auditor asked what else I had brought to sing. I recited my list, and as I did so, I realized how silly one of the choices must sound in light of how and what I had just sung. I knew he wouldn't choose it because it just sounded so utterly silly on that list. So, I have some Mozart work to do. Zerlina is just not for me at this moment in time. I came home at lunch and sang Countess stuff. It feels good, but I wouldn't put it on a list without a lot of work with GC and TH, so back to the drawing board.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's sunday

and I'm falling into my bed with a stuffed up nose and a teeny headache...I think the zyrtec is wearing off and it's been a LONG day.

But I am SO lucky that I get to sing in Boheme. Our first rehearsal was today and I'm getting really excited. Riding to rehearsal with Miss AG was great too.

Sometimes I can't believe how cool life is, even when I'm tired, and annoyed and totally dying from whatever pollen is in the air, I realize that the most umimaginably exciting things are happening all the time: reconnecting with a super old friend, Mrs. R's baby kicking!, Puccini, my wedding being three weeks away, my sweet little cat, whose face is so adorable.

And I realized something else. I've lived through some interesting attacks this week, of various types (not the violent kind, now worries), and I'm totally totally fine. Fine with me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

some hafiz for a friday

A Great Need


Of a great need

We are all holding hands

And climbing.

Not loving is a letting go.


The terrain around here


Far too




Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ragweed is not my friend, but gray leather boots are

So, I wake up this morning with some symptoms I simply cannot ignore: eyes watering and itching and **the horror!** my throat is scratch-a-rama.

In light of the recent office and opera and general life drama I have been wading through, I thought maybe I was getting sick again. But I'm not, it's just regularly scheduled allergy season coming back to haunt me for my first audition of the season. Now I know why I sounded like ass last night, at least. I had some claritin in the cupboard, which I took, and is barely helping. Time to go to rite-aid and stock up on Zyrtec.

However, as the Universe seems to be in the business of keeping things in balance, I'm very excited to say that I got an awesome pair of gray boots!!!!! ANNDD that we are moving into a new place. I am so thrilled about this new development. Now, I'm not saying now is the perfect time, because, well, it's the worst time imaginable. But hey. Now or never. YAY!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

feelings, consistency, and being just downright scared

My mind is a veritable war zone while preparing for a show...sometimes I don't sleep well, I spend copious amounts of time trying to make sure that my notes are fail proof: totally "in my voice," with NO chance of vocal drama, and sometimes I totally freak out. I guess I'm really just trying to protect myself from the vulnerability that IS singing virtuosic repertoire in front of lots of people. The scariest of which are, of course, your own colleagues. You know, the other people on stage with you-- the ones who also sing and have very distinct opinions about singing.

I forgot how completely terrifying it can be.

In school, we had a kind of built in camaraderie that made us support each other, at least to our faces :), who knows what they were all saying behind our backs. But that feedback was so important-- hearing someone SAY something about what you had just sung, was at least for me, very comforting. And I'm noticing that often, professionally, in the big wide world, singing opera is our job, and we're simply expected to DO it. You may or may not get any feedback. No one feels the need to tell you how fabulous you are. Maybe you're not particularly fabulous. Or maybe you are, but after all, you're getting paid to be fabulous just like everyone else, so it's kind of just what everyone needs you to do. Or your feedback gets to everyone BUT you, which is often the case.

After each rehearsal and performance, I almost always have a very strong feeling about how I sounded. It was either really good, really whatever, or really bad. It's different every time. It FEELS different every time. And one thing is for sure: I ALWAYS wish I had done something or other a little bit better.

In the last production, there were moments I was convinced were kind of vocally embarrassing, based on my own inside-the-head-commentary and am neurotic enough want to know if I was right...but you can't go around asking people: "how was that? how did that note sound to you? was I in tune?" It's a recipe for disaster, and everyone would be super annoyed. It's called confidence, Jessica. And you need to get some. :)

Well, I did eventually get some unsolicited feedback, and it seems that most of us are a lot more consistent than we THINK we are. That is, to others people, not inside my own head, I sound pretty much the same all the time, and my feelings are rarely reliable-- I guess that whole technique thing is worth all the money I spent on it after all.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday morning....

I am living the aftermath of

a) one of the most grueling, albeit totally fun, weeks of my life
b) about four very strong screwdrivers last night with mommy, Joe and Aunt Becky while playing rummikub (I think it is such a dumb game but my mom made us play it)

While I'm really sad that the show is over, I will be so glad to have a break from the driving, which is killing my back, and making me even more bitter about our dependence on foreign oil.

I met some super fun people, and was really blessed with fun dressing-room mates, and I was just so proud of everyone, and how hard they worked. The costumer, a REALLY fab, talented lady, gave each of the girls in my dressing room a gorgeous yellow box yesterday before the last show, and inside was a tiara! It was such a fun present.

I'm still trying to get the eyelash glue off my face. That stuff is unreal.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Cast party last night. Am. So. Tired.

I have about an hour and a half to regroup before driving back again for the last performance.

Oh my goodness.

I will be so sad when it's over...but OMG I am so not quite ready for my first audition of the season in New York on Saturday. New arias! AAAHHHH

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Ohhhhh wellll now we are off and running, and last night things went so well, at least I thought so! Joe was in the audience, and that was great...I can't even believe how much better I feel when he's around! I'm so proud of everyone in my cast. We've overcome some VERY interesting obstacles, and got a good review in the local paper. Life is good. The aria gets easier every night, and I've stopped stressing about it. Which is a huge achievement in itself!

Today, we have a walk through of a potential new apartment! And the cast party is tonight after the show...

I'm having way too much fun.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

my eyelids look like innertubes

I woke up this morning with some seriously messed up eyelids from the eye-lash glue, and my face was horrific looking and blotchy. So I iced my eyelids and smeared benadryl cream all over my face...and did so until I looked okay to go out in public. Here I am at work, looking a little better. So, I will be reevaluating make-up tonight... my poor little facey.

The dress was lots of fun, and we were all working our hardest. There are a few little issues with the orchestra, but they are being addressed, and we're looking forward to tonight. It's the open dress! YAY. IT will be fab to have an audience to laugh in the right places, etc.

Tomorrow, Joe is coming home and I can't contain my excitement...now, I just have to do the dishes and take out the garbage, and I'll be ready...

Can't wait!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I need to snap out of

this stupor before tonight. So tired. What should I do????? Caffeine is my friend...


During the sitz last night I made a major discovery. The problem with O mio babbino is not O mio babbino: it's all the crazy stuff that comes before. Which, as opera singers, we're supposed to know, and I think I did kind of...except that the rehearsal hall was acoustically so dead, that I always blamed my problems on that. Well, the theater is lovely, and the sound is fab, so I knew that I couldn't use that as an excuse any more. And I kept wondering why I could sing it so well at home, in the studio, with my coach, and then suddenly at rehearsal felt like I had very little control and was pushing! WELL: The quartet section is very rangy, very loud, and very fast, and it happens about one minute before the aria. Which is really NOT enough time to come back down ground myself into my support after all the adrenaline and shaky excitement that seems to accumulate during that insane section. And while I like to be in character at all times, BEING Lauretta, I realized last night that those few seconds in between the quartet and the aria is one time I'm going to have to paste on a Lauretta-ish expression (not too difficult considering) and FOCUS on getting grounded and getting my breath back, or I'll be totally one hundred percent F***ed. Big time.

And especially since orchestras seem to have an ineffable compulsion to play the aria three times as slow as I want to take it. But we worked it out, and I felt for the first time, that I was really singing it well, notwithstanding all the little things we singers notice that aren't perfect and we want to eventually fix.

Tonight, before the dress, my mission is to get a head start on opening night cards, and find some flats to wear with my costume. I'm a tall girl. It'll be a good investment. And I CAN'T wait to wear fake eyelashes tonight. I wish I could wear them everyday, but somehow, I don't think it would really fly.

Monday, September 08, 2008


3 days til opening!
3 days til Joe comes home!

The wedding? I can't bring myself to think about it right now. Sorry.

Yesterday was undoubtedly one of the longest of my life. We ran the show, and then we teched it, and there was some serious waiting in between while they did tech for Suor. Thank goodness, the director released T and I so that we could go to the mall in the interim...which helped a lot. That is one heck of a mall they have over there. I love Pennsylvania. All the Schicchi girls (four of us) are sharing a dressing room, and the other two are also in Suor Angelica, so we brought back dinner for the girls, and all sat around the dressing room gabbing. T and J both have kids, and they were regaling J and I with their dreadful stories of labor and childbirth. I become ever more convinced that that whole scene is just not for me. Wow.

At any rate, tech tends to provide a whole other level of bonding, and we've all really started to feel like a cast.

I love my costume-- it makes me feel like a Renaissance princess, even though, it seems, I am the dowry-less bourgeois daughter of a kind of criminal. It's hot inside all that silk, though, and whenever I see the nuns walking by, I think that it looks like a pretty great set up: a couple layers of robes and a cord around your waist.

I didn't get back til 11:15 last night, and I feel like a couple more hours of sleep could really be in order, but here I am, faithfully at my desk. If I could fall asleep in bed the minute I get home, it would be great, but I just can't do it. I need some popcorn, or some TV and whatever else before I can be ready for bed. Tonight will be really fun-- a Sitz with the orchestra! I'm so excited to just stand there and sing.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Tonight. I. will. not. party.

I will go home and watch tv, and go over my music for the orchestra rehearsal. I will eat healthy food and I will get lots of sleep. I will revel in my last night of calm peace and alone time for 10 days.

I will begin the countdown:

6 days til Joe comes home
6 days til opening
14 days til my first audition of the season
43 days til the wedding

And, somehow, I promise to still stay present in the now, which is, after all, all we ever really have.

I simply adore my friends

Last night, while on the way home from a coaching, I got a difficult call from a very close family member, concerning wedding arrangements and all the things you might expect considering I'm getting married in less than two months. I don't know what it is about weddings, but they seem to just make everyone go bat shit crazy. Any way, the conversation was emotionally charged and full of psychologically trying ramifications on many levels. Let's just say, I had a feeling I would have trouble getting to sleep later that night. That said, my latest coping strategy has been to strive for acceptance of, not resistance to, things that occur over which I have no control. And oooohhh how it's helped in the past few months. But last night, when I put the phone down, I found myself back in the old pattern, saying: "Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to deal with THIS on top of everything else?"

Which, of course, is exactly the wrong attitude. Why NOT me, really. But it's tough when it's someone you love and want to trust has your best interest at heart. So I needed very badly to be yanked out of my horrific self-pity complex.

Therefore, it was awfully lucky that Ms. A's birthday was yesterday and I could be pleasantly distracted by celebrating the lovely person that she is. I LOVE going out, and I haven't been doing much of it lately-- this was just what the doctor ordered. Everyone was so fun, and we laughed a lot, but the thing I appreciate most is that we don't have to remain politely subdued. There were some pretty impassioned moments in a political discussion we had later on in the evening, and somehow, after all the smoke had cleared...I think we could all understand where people were coming from and why. In other words, we can just be ourselves, and speak our minds, and everybody's cool with it.

What an unbelievable contrast to the phone conversation I had had just minutes before stepping out to meet up with everyone.

After my bridal shower, my aunts commented on how diverse and, well, great, my friends were. Yes, I said, They have been VERY carefully selected. :)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I guess it's about time I write something on here!

Life is good. I've had the week to kind of semi-relax before mayhem next week. Last night, I had a good lesson, and am feeling almost back to normal vocal after recovering from my malady.

The REALLY good news is that Joe is coming home in a week. And that will be SO great.

My shower was unbelievable. I had such a wonderful time, and am starting to get so excited about the wedding...everyone is going to look so hot in their black dresses...

Tonight, I'll probably just practice and go buy cat food. If I had money, I would go out for a drink or go shopping, but really, I'll be just fine doing my thing at home.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Ohhhh I am up so early this morning, it's weird. I'm so excited about this weekend, and yesterday was so fun, and Barack is so fantastic, that I just can't help but be happy.

Melly came to help me yesterday with wedding crafts. Well, first, we went all the way out to Pikesville, a place that I, as a WASP, admittedly, don't belong, to check out a maternity clothing place in hopes of maybe finding her a dress for the wedding...but alas. It's only open approximately three hours a day. So, we just came home, made dinner, and did wedding projects while watching Judy Garland. It was awesome.

Today is the day, also, of my first mani/pedi in quite a while. Girls, it's sad to say, but I'm just not as high maintenance as I once was. I have traded fabulosity, it seems, for a wedding and a singing career. And I'm actually kind of proud of myself. M and I were talking last night about how much money we used to have and how we used to go shopping and get our nails done and go out ALL the time...and now she's saving for the baby that's coming, and I'm saving for the wedding, and, well, to pay for auditions. We have grown up. Somewhere in there, without even knowing, it happened, and we started choosing goals over immediate gratification.

My voice is coming back too, and I seem to have kicked this cold of mine-- just a few little pockets of mucus remain! Gross. I got the call last night to schedule the first YAP audition of the season, and it was certainly a wake-up call for this little soprano who has two new arias on the list that need some solidifying. Big time.

I can't decide what to wear for the shower tomorrow, but I am OH so excited. I feel relatively certain that I'll figure something out.

After tomorrow, it is BACK to reality, getting ready to plunge into tech week, and thanking god that my high D-flat seems to just always be there-- it's the other stuff I have to worry about.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Let us continue to hold firmly to the hope that we confess without wavering.

Hebrews 10:23

I'm not usually prone to politics on this blog, but who could help but be inspired by Barack's speech last night, ending with a paraphrase of the biblical reference above. Hope is EXACTLY what we need.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Please pat me on the back, because I actually did get some good work done on the score, even while sick.

I'm back at work, and not on the couch drinking juice and watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians while intermittently doing neti-pot. It's sad, but I had to go back to normal life some time. And I AM feeling a lot better. People have been asking me if I'm freaking out because I'm sick and I'm getting ready to go into a pretty crazy time for singing-- one show going up, a week later starting rehearsals for another, and then AUDITION SEASON AUUUGHH. And the answer is: No. I am not freaking out. I am zen, and have been miraculously imbued with ability to accept life as it comes. Today, that is. Tomorrow? I very well may be freaking out.

In other crazy, family-related news: My shower is Sunday, and it is no longer a surprise. My mom told me everything, just so everyone knows. She is SO unbelievably bad at keeping a secret, especially from me, that I find it hard to believe she ever tried to pull it off in the first place!!! What a goof-ball. Anyway-- it's more fun having something to really look forward to! I can't wait to see everybody, and really start getting excited about the wedding. It will be fun.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I have fallen ill. **insert dramatic gasp** For the past couple days, except for yesterday's particularly horrible showing at church, I've been laying around drinking broth and gargling salt water and steaming. It's tough to sit at home, especially when you're used to being busy every waking second. However, my mom just happened to have cooked a whole chicken and made chicken stock the other day (oh, it is so much better than the canned stuff), and I just got my monthly stack of magazines in the mail, and I've been DVRing anything of interest on TV, so I'm really good to go. Seems to me the Universe is giving me a little forced time off from everything, and I should accept this as something that is oddly GOOD in a way.

And thank God it's now and not in two weeks when we go into tech. Whoo!

Friday, August 22, 2008

wedding drama is beginning

The first official annoying situation is happening: officiant seems to have a conflict with the rehearsal the Friday before the wedding. It's my ONE wedding...come on, people!

day off

Today, miraculously, I have a day off.

Last night I went to have some drinks with Miss Z, and it was way fun. When leaving my coaching last night, I mentioned to GC that I really needed a drink, after all that hard work, and she laughed and said she'd give me one if she didn't have some place she had to go! So, I came home, ate dinner and went out...I have been working hard, so I guess I can justify it financially...oy.

This weekend, the push to tech week starts for GS, and I'm resting up for a lot of driving and singing.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Is a good day. It's beautiful out, and I'm going to DC for a coaching which is always fun!

I'm super excited because tomorrow night, I'm babysitting a real baby. A little one...like three months old, and I love babies A LOT. And this way, I will get my baby fix and will never have to have one of my own. With my luck, however, it will probably be asleep and I won't get to play with it. Oh well.

I MIGHT go for a drink tonight if I can scrape together 5 dollars...

Pete and Mimi (my cats) and I need food...maybe I'll take tomorrow afternoon and go to our respective grocery stores. They are my most trusted confidants since Joe has been gone, and I need to keep them happy. Also, Pete is a good boy cat and catches a lot of bugs.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Drink, sleep, sing

Last night, I had the best time going out for drinks with my friend T. I remember now why I used to go out so much: it's really fun. Also, beer is so good.

I wasn't out late last night and I didn't get trashed, but the deal is unfortunately that I haven't been sleeping well and that today I've been walking around in pretty much of a stupor. I don't know how all you insomniacs out there do it. Not sleeping is really the worst. The bottom line: I need to stop drinking caffeine after 5.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday's got me wondering

AS for Saturday, well, it's behind me, and sufficed to say: I crashed and burned on my aria and wanted to kill myself. I don't care what anybody says. O mio babbino is a bitch from hell. It is really deadly sometimes. And especially when you're hormonally challenged. Tonight, I'm going back again to sing it and try to do better work. Post traumatic stress disorder dot com.

So that was that drama.

And on into the fray of the battle of the endless question of: What the fach? What in the heck should Jess be singing, because I'll be darned if everyone and their brother doesn't have a totally different opinion. Actually not a totally different opinion-- the same one. Sing bigger stuff. Sing the lighter stuff. And so, the endless see-saw of my vocal drama tilts back and forth.

Yesterday I did a master class in New York that I really enjoyed, and got some great feedback. The master class technician liked me, and had good things to say, but expressed surprise when she saw my rep list. Too light. Then told me the kinds of things she'd really like to hear me singing.

The real problem is: I don't know in my own heart what's right for my voice. If I knew, or had a strong feeling either way, I'd be fine with just doing what I felt, and to hell with everyone else. The next few weeks, I'm going to focus on figuring this out. We haven't got much time before audition season and all hell breaks loose.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bad day at the office

Yesterday, at rehearsal, it was not a good day for Jess. I am writing this because I have to get it off my chest, and Joe is thousands of miles away, and my mother is somehow MIA unreachable by phone. I sounded horrific and felt pretty rough about it.

More tomorrow. For the three of you that read this.

Friday, August 15, 2008


What I need very desperately right now is WILLPOWER. I am feeling like I could buy everything on the entire interweb that is clothing/shoe related. And I keep coming up with all these fantastic reasons why it's justifiable: I need it for my honeymoon! I need it because it's a great deal! I need it because I just need it!

The other area is which I could take a lesson from a certain blogging friend of mine is the ability to exert a little control over eating chips and candy for once in my life. I feel HUGE today, and I'm sure it's because I ate potato chips last night. They were REALLY good ones, and not the whole bag, but none the less.


Easier said that practiced, people. But let's commence to try.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

lots of work to do...

And I'm seriously wondering when I can sit down with the score and get Musetta ready to be coached next week. I think later tonight and Friday night will be my chance to spend some quality time, supplemented by lunch hours as much as possible. I'm learning two new arias, too, and I can't help but feel the urgency of an imminent audition season.

I did finish the invitations, though! Scratch one thing off the list.

I got a heads up from Ms. T that the local newspaper is scheduled to attend our rehearsal on Saturday to take some pics and do some interviews. I need to look good for this, people. But what, for the love of god, can you wear to look good and be comfortable while crawling around the floor? Anybody? I need some suggestions. I need to remember to suck in my stomach too. Oh my so much to think about. Although, the truth is, my character is rather boring, so they'll probably be focusing on all the other fun people.

In other news, on Monday, I got a call about a lead role in a rather obscure opera with a small area company. I'm in the process of trying to find a score to really figure out what the vocal demands are, but judging by the composer and the orchestral situation, and the ladies that have recorded it, I have a sinking feeling that the role is, while flattering to be considered, just simply too heavy/dramatic for me. Up until now, this has been my policy: "I'll take what I can get. Yes I will." But the truth remains-- if I accept an assignment that doesn't fit me-- the product won't be excellent, and that isn't fair to anybody. Least of all yours truly who is in the process of trying to make lots of good impressions and no bad. Also, if nobody can hear me-- well...But I have to say, I feel lucky to have gotten the call at all. Talk about making my day!

As far as the loneliness situation, I'm getting better, but mornings are still very hard. Love hurts!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Being a blubbering lame idiot and other stories

I'm slowly pulling myself out of a Joe-leaving induced stupor of sad lonely lame-ness.

I REALLY cannot deal with some parts of being a musician and being married (soon!) to one. But I will, because I wouldn't be happy if I weren't doing my thing, and if he wasn't doing his. It's a rough life, but somebody has to go play concerts and do competitions all over Europe. Geez.

Yesterday, after I dropped him off, I was so glad I had sunglasses, because what happened to my face as I was driving back to work in the city crying was not good. My mom cooked me dinner, though, and lots of people called me, so that helped. When I finally got home to my empty house and sick little cat, I changed into jammies and started to feel myself getting sad again, so I quickly jolted myself back to reality and started gearing up to do battle with Mimi the sick cat who needed to be given her medicine. After that fun episode, I washed the dishes and got out the wedding invites to finish up while watching wedding shows on TV. This was a very bad idea. But I was able to fight the tears for the most part.

I've been getting lots of advice, from Pierce, Melly and others that the thing to do is keep really really busy and get a ton of stuff done. So, when the dentist called with an opening for a teeth cleaning this morning, I jumped on it. Omg. I just hate the dentist so much sometimes, but hey. We're getting stuff done, right? And tonight I have a lesson to prepare for the trip to New York this weekend.

So, we press on. Yes we do.

Friday, August 08, 2008

What to do when you want to throw your mini-disc out a window

Recording myself is the bane of my existence. We've discussed this. I'm getting a little better with it because GC makes me do it, but a CD that's going to be sent with applications calls for some serious gnashing of teeth. It requires a lot of planning, both logistic and psychological, especially when you have a day job, and you're sitting on your ass all day in cold cold air-conditioning. It's vocal death.

Last Friday, we hunkered down and sang and played what felt like several million takes, although, I'm proud to say the English aria only took two. It was going to be a really good CD!! good mic, good room, good piano, in good voice.

A few days later, Joe sits down to do the editing and discovers there's something horribly wrong...and then he has the really unfortunate task of telling me, and I, of course, start screaming and freaking out. There isn't another reaction I could have had, really. I HATE doing recordings, and the one we thought we'd done really well, and had worked so hard on was somehow mysteriously erased.

Well, we had to redo it. AFTER having to buy a new recording device. They don't even make mini-disc players anymore! So maybe it was time for an upgrade anyway. 21 takes, bitches, and my voice was in shreds. If my voice teacher's reading this, no, my voice was not actually really in shreds. I'm being dramatic. But it was REAL tired. And hell if I don't say it every time, but Mozart willlll KILLLL you. oh man it is just so hard. for everyone involved. BUT WE DID IT!
I couldn't have done it without Joe, of course, who is incredibly supportive and being a fabulous pianist doesn't hurt either. What a way to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement, right? Thank goodness tonight we're going out for drinks.

(For those of you who know about my website...check out the clips. They should be up very soon!)

And then we came home and watched the Ravens game. So it turned out to be a pretty good night.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears. Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be.

-Hubert H. Humphrey (1911 - 1978)

Monday, August 04, 2008

I can't remember my blocking and other stories

Blocking rehearsals: I love them.

I really do, because you don't really have to think about singing well. You just walk around the stage and write things in your score. I get all theater-y for blocking, and usually dress for the occasion. Ahh theater!! Where you can freely emote and not have to worry about coming in on time. Thespian chic is what we're going for. So Saturday, I wore my new black leggings with a shorter skirt and black tank top...my hair had been freshly dyed and I was feeling cute.

We, at Opera Company A, however, are lucky enough to have our rehearsals in a dance studio of sorts facing an entire wall full of mirrors. Which is supposed to be really helpful, I'm sure. But you can't tell me it's good for the dancers to have a wall full of fat mirrors that seem designed to make your hips look way bigger than you thought you were. It seems to me like that could trigger some bulimic episodes for people who have to wear leotards to class. It almost triggered a bulimic episode in me, for god's sake.

I tried so hard to concentrate, all the while feeling bitterly disappointed that I didn't look cute after all, but rather like a bottom-heavy whale who had put on some black leggings. Oh, and then there's the problem of Lauretta, my character, anyway: I have a strong inclination to play her as kind of a spoiled princess, but another to be campy and cheesy, and really play up the ridiculous silly contrast of her music to the rest of the show. However, I think what may be expected of me is to be a very sincere Lauretta, pure and in love. I can do sincere. Usually. But not while standing in front of a fat mirror looking like a whale.

So today, in preparation for tonight's rehearsal in front of the self-same mirror, I found myself putting together my outfit very carefully. As if what I wear in front of that thing will really make a difference. Sigh. The only solution? To forget about the mirror altogether and just BE Lauretta. Enough of this already.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Getting high on Puccini

This morning I spent some time getting goosebumps from Act IV of La bohème: "O Mimì, tu piu non torni." I could die from Pavarotti and Panerai singing that. What a spiritual event it is to just let it wash over you and kind of let the tears rise in your eyes a little bit.

My Mimi for my upcoming La bohème and I were talking on the phone the other day, and I was very pleased to find that we both cry when listening to that recording... I think it's going to be a GOOD show...although part of it for me, I think, is that I never got to hear the Pav live, and with Mirella.

I'm getting the biggest kick out of Musetta the more I learn about her. I like a girl who can really get the party started-- and one who, truthfully, creates chaos wherever she goes. I love when everyone hears her laugh and say "O! Essa! Musetta!" And then in the end, really comes through for people who need her. If only it hadn't been too late. The role is SO high, and there is such discrepancy in voices and ways of interpreting it. So I'm just learning to fit it into my voice my own way, and decide what kind of character she is for ME.

For a Friday

"The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it."

-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thursday, July 31, 2008


It is always freezing in this office, and I'm an ice-cicle.

I went to the dermatologist today, and in passing asked about preventative botox...scarrrryyy.

Thursday is a weird day. But I like it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Waiting for pay day, people!! I got back this morning and checked the old bank account...sighhh. But, as I always say about money: There's more where that came from.

The weekend was lots of fun...Friday night with RD was a hoot, as always. Then it was off to Z's birthday celebration. Saturday morning, we left bright and early to start the trek to Ohio for shower fun.

On the way back, we got to stop off in Canton to see A and M, and it was great...

Now I'm back, and tonight I drive to my lesson. I need a break, for real, but I need a lesson before recording session #1 on Friday night. Ohhhh I need a new recording before all the deadlines start flying by.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's a VERY small world

So try to be nice to people, okay?

That's my mantra. Especially since I just discovered that ANOTHER friend will be singing with me in an upcoming engagement! That make three of us from the Body. I'm really excited.

And tonight, time for fun. No more working, please. Joe and I are going to RD's to gather round the wine for a little visit...haven't seen her in a long time, and I need my R fix. Then, we'll stop by another friend's birthday gathering...one of my favorite people. FINALLY, it's time for drinking and friends.

This weekend is a bridal shower for Joe and I and I'm a little nervous, because...well, I've never had a bridal shower before. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Working hard/Hardly working

I had the very distinct pleasure of driving into the middle of Washington yesterday during rush hour! Something I would avoid at all costs for anything or anyone other than my coach GC. And, well, we all know I'd do just about anything for an audition.

I worked so hard in that session that afterwards I could barely drive myself home, and it didn't help that I get lost in her labyrinth of a building EVERY single time I go! So I wander around for several minutes before I run into someone who takes pity on me and tells me how to get out.

There are a couple of weird little habits I have when I'm singing that are similar to the histrionics pianists often employ when performing: as GC would say, "you're waving about again." I shift my weight from foot to foot, or move my head at crucial moments, when I really need to be standing straight for the sake of my sound. So I've been trying to correct it with both my teacher TH and GC watching me like a hawk at all times. All of you that are singers know how incredibly DIFFICULT it is to change habits like this when you've spent pretty much your whole life inadvertently ingraining it in yourself. It takes some pretty intense concentration. ALSO, she is encouraging me to do something else that is already de rigeur for most singers: record the coachings and force myself to listen to them. OHHHH it is so painful. I have been avoiding it as long as possible, but now it's time to stop.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I like it!

Marzelline's Aria was suggested by none other than our dear blogging ACB. So I took it out, and low and behold, it totally works, at least from what I can see so far. AND I like it, which surprised me!

One little detail about me that I have had to keep kind of secret for most of my life, especially at conservatory, is that I really don't care for Beethoven. **And I can feel the shoes flying through the air directly at my head now** There's the odd piano concerto or symphony that I like, but most of it...well. It could be because playing Beethoven in college was the bane of my existence, over which I slaved for hours.

In other news, we're cleaning out our apartment. Doesn't that sound just great? And in this heat yet. Three huge bins of stuff for goodwill are ready to go today, and I think there's probably more. I hope so. Having a ton of stuff laying around has always bothered me...I LOVE the feeling of clearing the place out, cleansing, getting rid of things. I am in utter amazement that we even fit that much STUFF in the storage room to begin with. I think I would love to have one of those minimalist homes with like one chair and sofa and one bed and nothing else, all sleek and modern. But I have too much stuff.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I feel good I feel great I feel wonderful

It's Monday, people, and I am officially exhausted. What a weekend. I think the drama started with the world's longest and saddest funeral on Thursday. Friday night marked 3 months til the wedding, and we had a realllllly wonderful dinner, topped off by a Renee Zellweger sighting on the street in Harbor East. Saturday: long rehearsal, didn't feel great about my singing, and then was thrilled to discover that half the board members of the opera company had been there to observe the rehearsal. Sunday: cantoring at OSP (oh those Anglican chant psalms get me every time)and went to an audition (more about that later!), then came home and assembled wedding invitations for a few hours.

So, I am giving myself a voice day off.

One of the things that is feeling a bit difficult about rehearsals lately is that as hard as I try, I don't seem to be assimilating into the cast very well! I know that many of them have done lots of performing together, so that might be it. I'm wondering if it's me... Although, being assigned the job of writing down measurements for the costume lady the other day probably didn't help everyone feel a lot more comfortable around me. Oohhh talk about awkward. I am so nice, people!!! Don't you want to bond and go drinking together like you're supposed to in shows??? Well, at least I have T, whatever happens! My little Zita!

AS FOR the audition Sunday...well. I had trouble deciding whether or not to go, since after the hottest morning of my life in vestments at church, I didn't have an ounce of energy. I ate a grilled cheese for lunch and debated all the while. Checked email, sang through the aria, debating. Well, let's just go. And I did. I sang fine. That's usually not a problem, despite the mental torture I generally put myself through. No, singing is definitely not a weakness of mine compared to, apparently....DANCING. Which is odd, because it's not like I've never had to do a dance call before. And I'm a Latin dancing goddess. Well, kind of. But, what I'm trying to say here, people, is that I never thought I really sucked that much.

The choreographer wanted us to do this 36 count combo that was really just horrifically hard. With spins and leaps and things I just couldn't imagine being able to execute without having worked on it for weeks! I simply faked my way through it, smiling all the while, and as she added each new 8 counts of pure dread, I contemplated telling them "there is no way I can learn that in five minutes, I better sit this one out," or "okay, bye!" and walking out the door. But I figured quitting was the worst thing I could do. Wouldn't they want to see that I was at least willing to try? But it was just one hundred percent pure tragedy. I was SO embarrassed that when it was finally done, and after keeping my composure so beautifully for the longest ten minutes of my life, I simply took off my character shoes, picked up my bag, walked out the door, and, yes, I burst into tears.

I haven't cried after an audition in a very long time. I made it to the car, and made sure no one could see me before having my break down. But how very humiliating it all was.

Okay, well. Now I know. No more dance calls for me. Or at least until my post-traumatic stress has worn off.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Oh my goodness!! So many great things are happening I can't even stand it. Last night I had the best dinner with Joe and Mel, and then we went to see The Gondoliers. IT was so much fun...I was smiling the entire first hour. There were lots of friends in the cast and I'm always impressed at how funny opera singers can be when you put them in the situation of having to be. Hilarious, especially Madeleine! And some very respectable singing too...It was a great night.

I am lucky to have some very generous singing friends. Because we all know that not everybody is like that. However, I must be doing something right, because lately, I've been just walking into great opportunities because of nice friends who share their experiences and recommend people to talk to places to go. The thing of it is-- not only is keeping all your musical activities secret from anyone who could be considered competition really boring and difficult, it's lame, and actually pointless. Since, simply by the law of attraction, peeps, if you share what you know with people, you're going to get some good tips too.

You don't need me to tell you that being away from your fiancee/husband/partner/best friend/mommy/treadmill/kitty for great stretches of time because of the mere fact that you've chosen to be a musician can really be a drag. So, I've been just a little bit worried about my upcoming month-long separation from my special someone. My friend Jess, who's really having some great successes with her singing lately, helped me get into a master class I've been dying to do for this summer. The great thing is that it will not only give me another reason to go to New York, but it will give me something to focus on and keep occupied in my first tough week of separation anxiety!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Well, people, it looks like I'm finally

getting myself together in some kind of coherent way. My problem/challenge has always been that I feel I could do well in a few of the heavier roles as well as the lighter, especially in Mozart-- but my lesson last night confirmed that I can be a very vocally happy Susanna, and still sing out. I will be content to dream about the big girl roles when and if they come. I also think that singing perhaps a little lighter than what I am capable of, in auditions, gives a panel room to think to themselves "My, but she just might make a Countess some day too!" (Okay, well, here's hoping.)

In terms of my audition package for t he fall, that is. In all other areas of my life, well, the jury is still out.

Here is what my delightful little "young lyric soprano" list is looking like, and, as always, comments and suggestions are welcome, unless you are a rude mean person.

1. Adieu, notre petite table
Which says: look at my middle-low voice, bitches. Look at me be dramatic and sad and sit on a G4 alllllllll day long like it's nothing. It is just so fabulously tragic too.

2. Quando men vo'
Which says: my high voice is in fine shape in case you were wondering, and I can sing a legato line. If I haven't been out drinking the night before.

3. O mio babbino caro
Which says: if you can sing this well and not make people feel like throwing up, then, well, WAY TO GO. Always a challenge to sing something so jaded. But it is smack dab in the middle of my current vocal situation, and it seems a pity not to get some use out of it. However, NO ONE ever asks for it unless you're actually singing for a role in Gianni Schicchi! So, it would have to be a starter or nothing at all.

4. Vedrai carino
Which says: Once again, folks, I've got a middle voice and some Mozart style, and can be cutesy-sexy if required.

5. Deh vieni non tardar
Which says: I am making this realllllly hard aria look easy. And there's a recit too!

6. Kiss me not goodbye
Which says: I don't really know. It's pretty, short, and ISN'T No word from tom. Which should be reason enough.

7. **Name of German Aria Here**
I'm thinking Sandman/Dew Fairy, because I don't want to do Ach ich fühls. I just plain don't want to. It's just SO painful. Do I HAVE to have a German aria???

There it is. I think it really makes sense. FINALLY!!! Now, to memorize the two Mozart pieces and things. While my soul dies a little to think that this rep list does in fact put me in probably the single MOST congested, competitive fach in all of opera, it's worth it to know I'm not going to be killing my voice before it's time singing bigger things than necessary...just thinking about all those other little adorable girls singing my same pieces makes me need a drink. Martinis anyone?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Let's talk about how I sat in traffic for an hour and a half last night

shall we?

On my way to rehearsal, just past the state line, I was talking on the phone to someone about singing a funeral on Thursday, when it seems that the two lanes of traffic came to a complete halt.

And it didn't move again for an hour and a half. No one was getting by, because apparently an enormous piece of metal debris had fallen from an overpass onto the interstate below and it was going to take three to four hours to get it cleaned up. I texted the musical director to let her know the situation. She said for me to turn around and just go home, if it looked like I'd be sitting there on the highway not moving for the duration of the rehearsal-- no such luck. No exit, and a HUGE barrier in the median.

So I thought, well, wouldn't this be a great time to put into practice all of the excellent coping skills I've been learning from my "guru" (this is not my therapist, Sally, but someone else, for those of you who THINK you know who I'm talking about!). I could feel myself kind of starting to get pissed about the situation, as many other of my fellow traffic-disaster-ees definitely were. There were lots of people standing outside their cars cussing on their cell phones. And, really, I said my fair share of choice words to Joe about my predicament as soon as a trucker brought the news that we would be sitting there a while. But I was determined not to let the situation turn me into crazy bitch girl.

The first thing I did was look around the car for a container to pee in in case there was an emergency. The second thing I did was thank god that I didn't have to pee at all at the moment.

For people who like to feel like they are in complete control at all times (when in fact none of us really are at all, PS), being stuck in traffic miles from an exit is a real bummer. A real potential psychological disaster meltdown. So I decided to just accept the situation for what it was: something I had to go through, something I could not get out of or get around. And that was that.

I'm not going to tell you it was fabulously fun. But it wasn't the most terrible hour and a half of my life. It went by relatively fast, as I focused completely on ACCEPTING the situation instead of resisting it. Resistance to circumstances like this can make them unbearable, as I've found myself saying things like "I absolutely cannot believe this shit!" "Of course THIS had to happen!" "I am so furious about this." When none of it can help what's going on at all, and only serve to help me create more inner drama.

So I got to rehearsal an hour late. And life went on.

Monday, July 14, 2008

couple days off

I had a couple unexpected days off from singing and rehearsing. It was great, unbelievably! Usually when I'm not practicing everyday, I'm spending time worrying about how long it's going to take me to get back into shape. Unbelivably, I spent almost NO time thinking about singing, and didn't even try to vocalize in the shower, which is my usual obsessive way of recouping some of the time I'm supposed to be taking off.

And now, I've got to get back into it, since I have rehearsal tonight and will probably have to sing a high Q above L.

The other thing I need to do is have Musetta's Second Act scene ready for next week's coaching with my new favorite person ever. YAY! This week is already completely packed and I guess I'm going to be learning music on my lunch breaks again. Little chunks of time work too, as long as I can focus my ADD self on the task at hand.

I'm trying on my wedding dress tomorrow! I absolutely cannot believe it. It's so freakishly exciting. Once you have the dress, it's for REAL.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tired and broke but happy

Sunday is not usually one of my favorite days. For many reasons.

a) an underlying feeling of dread because I have to go back to work the next day
b) getting up really early for church and singing for four hours straight, after which I'm usually totally spent, and can only manage to lay on the couch afterwards.

But this weekend it was great. At church, I got to collaborate with a friend who played the piano and we did some really kick-ass anthems. Then!!! We went to Wolftrap to see the Candide in concert with Jason Alexander, and, of course, fellow blogger ACB!

It was fantastic. Thank god we sprung for indoor seats-- because there was some major rain that night-- but we had so much fun. It was cool to see "George" onstage singing! and being all theater-y, and the rest of the cast was great too...I just freaking love Candide. I really do.

Last night, it seems my voice was back to normal after a week of some serious hormonal freaking out, and so the aria went well, and most everything else did too.

Life is good.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

It is summer, after all

Tomorrow night we'll spend our first 4th of July on my mom's roof-top deck with a great view of the Harbor and the fireworks.

A fun getaway to Maine is in the works, too. And it's starting to feel like a real summer.

I will, of course, continue to stress about learning my role by September, while planning a wedding, and while opening Gianni Schicchi, but, hey. Whatever. Life is good.

My sister, it appears, is hard at work with her south-side Chicago homies choreographing a little dance number for my wedding. A little something extra to add intrigue to my already fraught with craziness wedding day. If she embarrasses me, I will never speak to her again. Just kidding.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

losing it

When I got to work today, I realized I have a huge stain on my shirt and forgot to put on deodorant. Nice.

Monday, June 30, 2008


I just love feedback. Sometimes. Oy.

After a particularly ridiculous audition experience, I sent my little note to the AD, as I always do, thanking them for the opportunity and asking for any feedback on my audition, if he might have the chance to provide it. My feeling about the actual singing part of the experience had been that it was okay, not my best, but partially due to a couple of the crazy things I had been asked to do in 97 degree heat and no air-conditioning. I was just really proud of myself that I didn't walk in and sing Angry Musetta and Angry Manon and then cuss everyone out. So maybe I shouldn't have asked in the first place.

Well, low and behold, I actually got some feedback. This almost never actually happens, mind you. I wish it would-- I would have been much better prepared for what I was about to read.

On first reading, a couple of adjectives stood out that left me with that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach, and made me feel a little weird. On second reading, I understood what was being said and started to make sense of it. On third reading, I realized that it was overall, a pretty good review of what I had done, especially in light of the circumstances, and, hell, they asked me to come back and sing again. No part for you, but you didn't suck, so, feel free to try it again, in three years when we have our next round of auditions, and by the way, you might need to fix the following things, and here's some words that people throw around to totally freak singers out. But that no one's sure exactly what you really mean when using them.

I remember my consultation with Cindy Sadler with great fondness now, looking back, because it put me in high gear, let's kick some ass mode, and actually resulted in me really kick-starting my singing career as I know it. But while it was happening I was nothing less than mortified, freaked out, shell-shocked. And not because she wasn't perfectly nice-- but because I knew she had no reason not to be completely honest.

The hard truth about what you do, and how other people perceive your singing and your presentation of yourself is sometimes pretty hard to take...especially if you assume that none of the nice things are the real truth and all of the negative things ARE. Lots of singers do that-- including me. While I think that I have the ability to tell the difference between genuine compliments and the fake ones, I still tend to remember all the bad things way more.

Who do I actually really currently trust to give me feedback? My teacher and my coach. And should I be trusting people I'm paying? who knows. Should I trust ADs that I don't know and don't know me? who knows.

Do I trust myself? Yes. And because I do, I'll just trust who I trust, and feel my way through all of it, hoping that I'll have the good sense to tell if somebody's telling me the wrong stuff.


I got my Boheme score last week-- I was way too excited. And wayyyy too anxious to wait even a minute before playing through my part in the second act.

My last two roles have been so pleasantly linear and easy to come in at the right time that I'd forgotten just how tricky Puccini can be. After highlighting all my singing in each act, and putting little tabs on the pages, I put the score back on the piano and walked away, telling myself to just calm down, that I've got three months to learn it.

The next day, I opened it up again and turned on the metronome. My god, I said. Then I really started to freak out because the tempos are so insane, and when I listened to the Karajan recording, well, I nearly had a melt down. So I put the whole thing away and watched a Barefoot Contessa segment on the Food Network, after which I felt much better and will always be in awe of her ability to calm my soul with her Long Island-French cuisine, even though I will probably never eat any of it, or attempt to make it myself.

So the new directive is to become just a bit more confident with small sections everyday, starting from the end of an act and working forward, always beginning way under tempo, going through that way first, and then trying to get it back up there where it should be. Then is the interesting task of figuring out what's the best way to know when to come in-- taking a cue from the orchestra, the other singers, or, if all else fails just plain having to count. Counting really sucks at times. I avoid it at all costs. :)

In other news, I went dancing over the weekend, and hung out with my mom. Why is it that we're always the most fabulous chicks at the club? I tried to talk her into going to see Sex and the City movie with me again, but she wouldn't hear of it. Oh well. I'm just dying for Joe to come back from Ohio, and for our fun 4th of July weekend...