Thursday, April 30, 2009

Puccini is good

I am not a reviewer. That is not and will never be what I do on this blog. But I had a really fun time last night at the Engineer's Club for the Baltimore Concert Opera performance of some of Puccini's most beautiful scenes. Puccini is one of those worlds in which whether beautifully or not so beautifully performed, you would still get a chill from a something.

It's hard to get over how beautiful and HUGE that house is, to begin with. It looks grand enough from the outside, and I'd been inside before, but never seen how far down and back the place's actually a place I think you could get lost if you weren't paying attention. It was a classy spread they had going last night, too, with a very enthusiastic crowd, all of them well liquored up by the third part of the program-- the scene from Madam Butterfly that I absolutely adore. One of the things that made the night so fun, of course, were my two fellow divas, Ms. N and Ms. A, both dressed to the nines, and we felt fabulous. All the gay men certainly thought we were. Okay, well, just like the three that we talked to.

Then I came home, where I found A and T and Joe, and life was good because he HAD remembered to tape American Idol. So we watched poor darling little Matt Giraud get voted off because America is dumb. But thank god it wasn't Adam.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I had the worst time trying to get out of bed this morning, feeling groggy and generally icky, and like maybe I have swine flu. But the truth is, it's probably the drastic change in the weather more than anything. I say-- bring it on! Wash all the pollen away! Several cups of coffee later, I'm feeling a bit better.

Last night's attempt at watching American Idol (haters can hate) was soured when everyone showed up at 8:30 and we were just opening a bottle of champagne (no joke) when I remembered that I had completely blanked and didn't DVR the damn show! You should have heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth-- I screamed so loud when I realized what I'd done that I scared Pete the cat out of his skin. He bolted and ran faster than I've ever seen him. So we spent a little while trying to figure out how to connect to Sling Box, or banana sling, or whatever that thing is called to view it from Stu's TV at his house, and the poor man (as dedicated as ever to the AI and the fact that there was only an hour left to vote), walked all the way back to his place and burned the show to a DVD or something, walked all the way back and we finally got to watch American Idol Top 5. All the while he was texting me things like "you ruin my life" and "how could you be so stupid,"and "I'm going to keep studying for my huge exam tomorrow while this bastard burns" (I paraphrase), as if I didn't feel bad enough already. I could have lied and said that the TV somehow totally screwed it up and didn't record... there are so many lies I could have told...but I took responsibility and boy, was it painful.

Tonight is the Baltimore Concert Opera Puccini Evening, and I'm getting kind of excited. Despite the fact that I have nothing appropriately cute to wear in the this in-between/monsoonish weather. Maybe I should just blow off work and go shopping.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New layout!!!

Do you love it, guys??? I feel like we are going to have so much more fun now.



I'm getting excited about going to hear "A Flight of Puccini" at Baltimore Concert Opera tomorrow night with Ms. N. And tonight is American Idol! What more could a girl want?

Except that yesterday my oven nearly blew up, and I am still sad about it. Joe has reassured me that it's the oven's problem, and not mine. I may still be learning about the cooking process, but I have never blown anything up before.

It required several days to recover from Friday night's fun with my Giovanni compadres-- but I have to say it was totally worth it. Dora, however. Oh my. It was great to see the commitment of the singers, and the hard work they had put in to make it a good show. I couldn't shake the feeling, however, that there was something slightly exploitative about it. Not my favorite, but I could appreciate the talent.

This week is the last full week of classes, and I can see the summer stretching out in front of me. It's looking awfully good.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Well, I need to report back on the Handel thing first. Yesterday I took my allergy meds and poof! It was like magic! I CAN sing Handel (well sort of). hahahah. I try to avoid taking medicine unless I'm feeling really bad, but I need to just get it through my head that no judgements should be made about any repertoire of any kind without liberal servings of Zyrtec, over the course of several days, and...well, maybe not at all anyway during allergy season. Blast you, Baltimore pollen. I never thought twice about this stuff when I was in Indiana. But thank god for an East Coast city I can afford to live in!

This weekend is going to be fun. Lots of friends from the Don Giovanni I did in March are getting together tonight to watch another friend in Peabody's Dora at the Theatre Project. I am so excited. Except for one thing-- I have a huge zit. At my ripe old age, one would think I would be over the facial explosion thing. But I guess I'm not. Holy Concealer, Batman.

I am of course really hoping there is a lot of drinking afterward as well, since for once in my life I do not have to sing anything on Saturday! Vodka Soda, here I come.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Can you Handel it?

The past couple days, I've been working on some Handel.

It is hard.

In a totally different but equally frustrating way than Bach. I mean, as much as I agonized over Donna Elvira, how rangy it was, how it requires complete control and continuity between every single register (to sing it well, that is), and the fact that it is so very exposed-- Handel is in THE PASSAGIO all the time, without the (I can't believe I'm saying this) comforting occasional schizophrenic switch from extreme lows to highs. And exposed in a frightening way that makes you wish you were back in even the most fragile Mozart territory again.

But, god, it's so beautiful. And I absolutely adore period orchestras. So, I'm doing this because I do believe I should have some early-ish music in my audition package, and it's proving a lot harder than I thought to make it not sound PAINED. I guess I am a full lyric, after all, but still. If Kiri and Eileen could do it, I think I should try too. And then I think about it and realize how hilarious that statement just was :) As if.

There is the idea, of course, that we singers should stop spending time trying to squeeze and prod our voices into repertoire that simply doesn't work for us. And I agree. I mean what good would I be doing myself by singing something in front of people that shows off all my weaknesses instead of my strengths? But I'm giving these arias a couple more weeks before I make a final decision. If by then, I am still bleeding at the ears after a practice session, we'll put good old GFH back on the shelf.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another week

The weekend was so busy, but looking back I feel happy because it was full of good things.

The plan had been to leave for New York right after church to sing for a small company at their NYC auditions and hopefully have lunch with JM. Saturday night, however, I started to feel like my head was going to explode because of a little something called seasonal allergies, besides being completely and TOTALLY worn out from trying desperately to look good and sexy for three long hours during my photo shoot with DT. It was a tough decision, and canceling an audition always leaves me with a particularly clinging feeling of defeat, but singing Donizetti over loads of phlegm on top of being physically exhausted just wasn't going to work.

I made the right decision, since when I awoke on Sunday, it was much worse to such a ridiculous degree that we both had to double up on Zyrtec and ended up such groggy wrecks that we could hardly hold our heads up.

Thank god I ended up with Sunday free so that I could go and see "The Audition" at one of Baltimore's most ghetto theaters in Owings Mills. What a funny crowd it was-- we were among the five people under forty in the audience.

It was an absolutely wonderful way to spend two hours-- I felt renewed by the experience of watching the singers and being able to see so distinctly why they had gotten to where they were in the competition. While I'm no Met National Finalist, I could really feel what they were feeling, and the passion they have for singing is so familiar. It was SO emotional for me! Both of us were crying like little girls without any really good reason. Or at least it seemed impossible at the time to figure out why it made us feel like that.

In watching the different performers and their styles and varying approaches to their pieces and it was so clear: Real people make such powerful performers. It's that magical ability to get out of your own way and just allow the music to take over and speak through you. I think most of us can remember a performance when it happened, and we spend the next ten performances trying to let go and allow it to happen again.

Friday, April 17, 2009


It IS finally spring. I believe it now.

And S. gave me an almost full bottle of Smashbox Photofinish for free! I need it for my pictures-- I'm getting new head shots taken tomorrow, and I need to look spectacular.

The bad news is that my neighborhood gas and electric left a notice on my door saying that the electricity is going to be out all morning-- I may have to go to my mother's to curl my hair. How lame is that?

Sunday, after church, Joe and I drive up to NYC for an audition, and hopefully lunch with JM. It will be so fun to get out of town, if only for a day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

GOOD friday

And I'll tell you why: I don't have to sing today. I can rest up for the audition tomorrow. Also, we rocked it out at church last night, despite the added pressure of not having ever seen most of the music before, and the bishop being there. The other thing is that usually it's 8 am when I'm at church, so OBVI things are going to go better at six or seven o'clock at night.

Afterward, M. and I did what all normal people do after Maundy Thursday services: have several drinks. It was fun, and the day definitely ended better than it started.

I need a new spring bag (must build my collection of heirloom leather goods), and the Easter checks are just in time. Nordstrom, anyone? I will be stimulating somebody's economy real soon. Should I get white? OR the gorgeous tealy color? The last thing I bought for myself was from Target, so I think I'm overdue for a little treat...hell-- I've earned it!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

maundy thursday misgivings

A couple of hits to my fragile soprano confidence yesterday have made me weepy today. I say fragile, but really, upon closer examination, I'm not. I'm pretty damn tough.

All of us are-- we have to be. Walking around everyday in an effort to maintain a good attitude, eat the right food so as not to turn into fatties, practice, work day jobs to pay for our health insurance and voice lessons and the endless round of audition trips, and then the rejection letters: ouch. I've gotten used to them, because you have to, but sometimes there's a particular combination of events that just remind you that you're not sure how much longer you can keep it up.

Go back for a masters in psychology? Take the LSATs and go to law school like everyone else in my family?

I can't. Not yet.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

spring suicide watch

When you are a singer, there is a special kind of hell that is called Holy Week. And you can pair that with the fact that now seems to be the time when lots of opera companies for whom I would like to sing saw fit to schedule their auditions for this week and next.

In all honesty, though, there is something fun and collegial about being in the whole thing together, isn't there? That all of us, the world over, are shredding our collective vocal cords on Misereres at Tenebraes this week when we all just want to be out dancing to Beyonce? It's cool, though. And I'll be glad I did it, fo sho, when the checks come down the pike.

My personal fave is Easter Vigil. Gotta love the dark church and the candles and all that (it's so delightfully theatrical), and then, the next morning, we all get to get up at god knows when and get our tails down to the church again to blow another vocal gasket trying to sing over the brass and timpani.

In other news, I am back from the beach wedding, which, PS, was beyond fun. I sang jazz with a mic!!! And it was actually good! The shocking realization in that moment was: "Geez! this is SO much easier than singing opera! Why would anyone work so hard to sing so loud when they have these things?"

Of course, I'm kidding, but it was kind of awesome to sing and feel like I didn't have to DO any work. American Idol, here I come.