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 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 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