Friday, April 30, 2010


I am so thrilled to find, after going all week thinking I have to work tonight, that I do not have to work tonight! I can have a night off! I can prepare for rehearsal tomorrow (off book....eeekkkk, must keep wits about me), I can go over the score for my performance Sunday, and maybe go to dinner?

I got in a little car accident the other day, and while I am fine, my car needs some work. And it is depressingly expensive. Sigh. It's been a little bit of a downer, so needless to say, my practice session last night did not go so well. My high notes were like lead and things were just not easy at all. Heavy of mind, thick of throat, I suppose. In order to not make it worse, I am drinking every liquid in sight, except, sadly, for wine, and trying to practice constructive denial: that is, just trying not to think about it. Or maybe that is just called practicing acceptance of all things. Who knows. I just don't want it to ruin another night of practice.

But I have to say this whole idea of having a night off is kind of wonderful. And I did the laundry last night. So we are really good to go.

The little part I have in the upcoming Verdi opera I am cast in contains a very scary note for me...with a painful sort of approach, to boot. So I am always slightly neurotic about it when I go into rehearsal. The other thing is that, when you have a part that is three pages long, and is as exposed as this, you have no chances to redeem yourself. It simply has to be good right out of the gate, or you are screwed. So I stress myself out beyond all hope, especially if I haven't slept enough. Which, as we know, is called self-sabotage, and it is something I am working on getting out of my consciousness altogether. Tomorrow, I will obey the sage advice of my friend Angeli and "just open your mouth and sing." Whatever comes out is what they will get, and there is no use worrying about it now.

This is my second small Verdi role, and I love it because there is really no other way I would get to be in a Verdi opera. And they are such an experience, with such good music and exciting kinds of voices. Anyone need a shepherd in Tosca? I am so there.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Singing is such a weird and wonderful thing. My voice can feel Renee Fleming fabulous one day, then it starts to rain or the pollen count goes to hell, and my whole day is wrecked by the heaviness and immobility of my voice. Whatever happens, though, I will always like singing more than say, going to the office. That is a given, I suppose. My work is to try to become a little less volatile and a little more grounded when it comes to my emotional reaction to how the voice is feeling.

On those days when my onset is so easily clean, and all the flexibility is just there, with high Q above L, I'm very pleased with myself, and feel as though I've accomplished so much while practicing. But I have to consciously expend energy on reversing the thoughts that invade my brain on the "other days" of singing-- which, is probably when I get the most done. It always amazed me how I could walk into my voice lessons thinking there was no hope for my voice on any given day, and somehow, with some carefully selected exercises and a little concentration, by the end of the lesson, I felt like a goddess again. So I am trying to figure out how to be good to myself in those practice sessions, to move forward patiently, without a lot of judging.

I continue to torture Joe with my neurosis (he knew what he was getting into, I assure you), by asking him to compare how I sounded one day with how I sounded another. I think he is actually a little bewildered by this question, because as a pianist, it is hard to imagine how one could think they sound so different from one day to the next. Thank god he is patient with me, but the honest answer is always that there is very little difference at all.

Having started to feel like my technical prowess is really coming in for me, factors like red wine the night before, pollen, and dryness are becoming easier to sing through and have a good showing. My most dangerous obstacle is, I have found, lack of SLEEP. Without physical energy, nothing good can come out of my mouth. It is just wasted breath unless I am present in the body and mind and able to think clearly. Which is actually kind of nice to know-- it used to be such a stressful existence when I felt like the slightest thing could ruin my whole throat.

This week and next will be true tests of my stamina: rehearsals, funerals, church, work, I have to fit them all in there somewhere. It always happens, it always turns out okay, and I am so lucky to have things to sing. But it will be my focus this week to be patient with my vocal cords and have realistic expectations for the poor little things. Because, as always, when it rains, it pours.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Risen from the dead

Oh my god, I am back, people. I feel like myself again and can therefore blog. Not that anyone was necessarily waiting with bated breath. Life was getting in the way of me feeling like blogging for the longest time. Things happen, people get sick, people do and say weird things. But hey. It feels good to type some more totally unnecessary blither into the ether.

Singing is great. I am madly in love with it. And currently have many things to sing, which a singer's favorite problem-- figuring out how and when to learn everything.

Maybe you remember the tiny part I told you I was doing in Don Carlo with a small start-up company? Well, I am so proud and relieved to say that it is going to be great. These people sing ridiculously well, and I am thrilled to be in a cast with them! It has made me so happy to be a singer again.

I am ready for spring to get here, I am ready for a cocktail. I have a fresh pedicure, so let's get on with it people. Your soprano who steps out is back in full force.