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 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, 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.