Friday, January 30, 2009

It's already Friday

It's been quite a week, and mostly I am exhausted and slap-happy by now, and well, ready for a drink or four.

Would anyone like to make me a martini?

I barely slept last night-- I kept waking up with the Act One finale going in circles around and around in my head. This is a sign from god, of course, that I need to get a life.

"Replace fear with love for the project. Replace insecurity with confidence in your abilities"-- these were my voice teacher's wise words in an email this morning after working on Mi tradi in a lesson yesterday. I'm making some real head way with the piece, and in about a year, I should feel confident singing it. :)

Well, I'm working on it, Maestro. In the mean time, I need to make some more replacements:

Replace Bravo reality television with real friends and real activities.
Replace practicing with dancing (please, I need to dance it out).

Oh, and if the gods are listening, I wouldn't mind several snow days in a row. With just enough snow to get school canceled, but not enough that the bars close. OR the grocery store, because I am feeling inspired to cookkkkkkkk.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I have had less than nothing to blog about lately! I'm the most boring person in the world-- I go to work, I come home, I eat, and I work like a dog on Don Giovanni. And not because I don't know it yet. I know it. It's the vocal calisthenics that I'm not quite ready to face in public.

If there is a soprano out there (or mezzo for that matter) who can just roll out of bed singing Mi tradi and never had to toil over it like I do, I would like to meet her. I LOVE the aria-- love it. I always have. But I feel as though it is becoming the bane of my existence, in that it's the last thing I worry about before I go to sleep and the first thing I worry about when I wake up.

EVERYTHING else is there. The ensembles are coming together, the crazy runs are fine, the screaming octave jumps no longer bother me a bit. I have faced every scary place and overcome them! Only Mi tradi remains. So I took it to my coach on Saturday, for some suggestions on how to get it into my voice so that I don't feel so wretchedly afraid that I won't make it through to the end of the murderous passaggio tessitura plus runs that make me want to die tour-de-force. And beyond just getting through it, I'd like to have enough mental energy beyond just technique and breathing to make it BEAUTIFUL and artful as well. Imagine that...

She helped. She really did-- she gave me some insight into ways that I use my mouth and manipulate vowels, and a couple of techniques to practice with, while assuring me that this IS a role I can sing, and sing well. I suppose I will simply have to trust her, until I have it securely in my voice.

I have a week and a half til I have to sing it in front of my cast. And you know where to find me: at the piano with my freaking metronome.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wish me luck!

First rehearsal is Sunday! God, let the hundreds of HOURS I have spent learning this not be in vain!! This role has without a doubt been the biggest singing challenge I've ever had. I will keep telling myself, however, that it's no big deal. :)

In the meantime, I have to try to not get frostbite, and get through Obama's visit to Baltimore, and the AFC Championships. It seems they have even welded the manholes shut, in addition to forbidding us to park ANYWHERE in my neighborhood. Thank god for garages.

It's a three day weekend, and nothing could make me happier-- by Monday, my immediate Don Giovanni related worries will be behind me and there will be time for some popcorn, a fire in the fireplace and some On Demand.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


When I got back to the office after the holidays, I ran into a friend who owns a beautiful townhouse in the 'hood, and who is conscientious enough to really read the newspaper. He always reads the section about Baltimore history, and came across an article about MY townhouse! I say my townhouse as if I owned it (oh I wish I did!) and as if it really were all mine, even though I only live in the first floor apt., but feel that way, I think, because I've lived upstairs too.

Ever since I first moved in something like three years ago to the upstairs apartment, I've felt that there was just something good and peaceful about the place. It felt like a happy house, and being a spiritual person, I put a lot of stock in feelings like that. I digress slightly, but I used to work at a certain Victorian mansion just down the street that definitely did NOT feel that way. It was scary and forbidding and I used to dread going everyday.

"My" house was purportedly built in 1867, and has the fireplaces and gas chandeliers to prove it. I've always been very eager to learn whatever I can about the house, so the newspaper article was as much fun for me as a shopping trip. I was not surprised to find that the family who last owned the home as a single-family residence (before it was split into apartments) were philanthropic, educated, well-traveled. The lady of the house was a Hopkins grad, an army nurse in the second World War, a fabulous cook, famous for her parties, and not surprisingly: Irish. She died at 102.

So now I know why we are so happy living there. Plenty of residual good fun and love.

Now, if I can just win the lottery, I can afford to buy the place so that I will never ever have to move again.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year, new president, new non-sucking football team, newly over being stressed about DE

I think the title of this blog actually says everything I need to say. Nevertheless:

I did NOT have to hide the knives and ropes! Purple passion prevailed against the Titans, and now, somehow next week, the Ravens will have to try to beat Pittsburgh, or I will be in the same position all over again. Suicidal husband dot com.

I had a great, but very taxing coaching over the weekend with Ms. G. If I'm not completely focused on supporting every single note, the repetition of the phrases required to refine things in a coaching of this role can tire me very quickly. Supporting and keeping all the wordy recits connected is a challenge, and always has is just too tempting to come off the voice just a bit. I pay a lot of attention to the recits, and feel strongly that making them sound good and make sense is one of the best measures of a great singer. So it was nice to get a little professional reassurance that I was on the right track with the recits and the role as a whole. My approach has not been too heavy, or too light. And she encouraged me to stop thinking of it as difficult, but as just another set of notes, rhythms and vowels to sing right off of the page. Sometimes Mozart intimidates me, because it has the reputation to somehow define if you're a good singer or not. And while this is mostly true, telling myself that all the time just makes me a neurotic freak.

I am longing to get paid, so that I can go out for a drink. It feels like it's about time for a ridiculous fruity martini or something. I spent the weekend learning the score, watching football intermittently, and doing laundry. Kind of un-fabulous. But yours truly is broke as a joke til Thursday...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Recits are us

The lucky thing is that Donna E doesn't really have that many recits, so I can kind of feel like I've got a handle on them. The real trial for my character are those grueling ensemble finales! I continue to stress about "Mi tradi," but since my fabulous husband's around and can play through it for me a few times each day, I think we're going to get it, sooner or later. The last, longest florid passage is truly what kills me. Much like the one in the first act quartet "Che mi dice di quel traditore" section. Oh, god. Kill me now. But every day it gets better, so there's hope!

Whatever other fun diversions I could have (shopping, watching Bravo, eating, dancing, shopping, watching Bravo), I still prefer this. Yay. I am so lucky.

The huge enormous elephant in the room, or the blog, as it were, is that the Ravens are in the playoffs, and well, a certain husband of mine is waiting with bated breath for Saturday. The only problem with this is that if the boys in purple don't win I'm afraid I'll have to hide all the kitchen knives and any rope we may have laying around. So, you obviously know who I'm routing for, and folks, it isn't Tennessee. Did I ever in a million years think I would have single clue football playoffs even existed, much less who was playing who? No. But that's life for you. Delightfully weird and unpredictable in every way!

Okay, I'm going home in a while, and will resume practicing like a mad woman. And will make stir fry for dinner, and watch "The City" which I have DVRed. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The first rehearsal freak out

Mine is in two weeks. And I am absolutely freaking.

Christmas was frenetic, but good. I tried to work on the music and practice, but when you've got crazy relatives running in and out of your house, and you've got to drive to Ohio and visit for three days, it becomes difficult. I righteously brought the score for the purpose of drilling recits. And some of that did in fact take place, due to the fact that there was not much drinking involved in the Ohio visit.

The last two days in NYC were bliss, eating, walking, seeing shows (including RENEE: she was fabulous), and I returned home to find an email announcing first rehearsal tidings.

You've heard this from me before. It's becoming more of a tradition than I would like to admit. But a person's first Donna Elvira is a little intimidating, if I may say. Yes, I always pull it together in time. But there is a lot of kicking and screaming and gnashing of teeth in the process.

I will also be sleeping with the score underneath my pillow, just in case.