Saturday, May 29, 2010


I sang my little part in rehearsal this morning, had a splendid time, and came home. It may be a little part, people, but it is giving me a hell of a time with the tempo. I'll tell you why. Because it's one of those things where the whole show is just going along, and then suddenly it kind of stops, and I, ME, MY character has to establish the new tempo. Oh, and the conductor stops conducting too. And it's up to me to start it up again, and establish a new steady tempo, which may sound not so bad until you consider that I have to do it while singing soft sustained b-naturals. And it's also quite rubato, so it's easy to allow it to sound as if its all over the damn place. And I just can't let that happen. It's my moment :)

I'm excited to have a little break from things next week...and then we are right back on the horse, with rehearsal, church and an audition. And somehow, at some point I need to make a new demo CD. And learn two new arias for it.

But it will all get done. It always does.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I'm alive! I'm still alive! I lived through the emotionally intense weekend and am on the other side. Because I've been such a very good girl, we are eating at my favorite guilty pleasure tonight: Pei-Wei. Sigh.

My brother and sister-in-law and a very good friend, Pierce, were all there to keep me sane (as sane as is really possible) and grounded and remind me of what is important: drinking. :) No, I mean, being nice. And making it a wonderful celebration for my mom. The stressers leading up to the occasion were interesting. Like when I took lunch to get a pedicure, they made me wait for 35 minutes, and THEN it was still the worst pedicure I have EVER gotten ever. And that is saying something when you live in Baltimore. Okay, so I guess it's not the end of the world, but it's that kind of drama that makes the day kind of frustrating. So I wore close-toed shoes to a garden wedding. How sad is that?

We sang a pretty f-ing wonderful rendition of "All I ask of you," at my step-father's request, not bad on 5 ish hours of sleep. Yay. Check another performance off the list during which I have not embarrassed myself.

This week will be an easy one, a count down til next week's mini-vacation in FL with the in-laws. I don't really care where I go at this point, as long as it has a beach.

Friday, May 21, 2010


My mom is getting remarried this weekend, which is still feeling a little funny to me. Sitting at my desk today, I think I am tired and hormonal, and conflicted about everything that is about to happen, but this was beyond comforting.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


The very very very good thing about today is that I am getting a mani-pedi. And the other things are, well, interesting.

This has been a fun week, and I am trying to remember the last time I said that about a week. I had an audition Tuesday that went well, and last night a really super fun time with a fabulous soprano who was in my studio in grad school. We were the only two girl grad students in the studio, and I always felt like Ms. E had my back. Lots of water has gone under the bridge since then, but I am so glad we have reconnected. I think there might be a joint recital in the works, too!

It's nice to be in that place where I no longer feel like I have to spend time with people that I don't really like that much or who are kind of mean...I've grown the ego strength to be choosy about who my time is spent with. When I realized, at long last, that I wasn't necessarily going to get that kind of support from my parents, I decided to start being a little more picky about my friends. And so, the level of drama in my life has drastically decreased, and I feel, interestingly, that since I've kind of put my expectations out there into the universe, new friends have come into the picture, and old ones have resurfaced. So even though, it was like I had done some weeding out, the circle has actually grown.

My audition Tuesday was because of the referral of a new friend: a conductor she knew was looking for a soprano for a specific gig. In the course of our pre-audition small talk, he mentioned that her had never had a soprano recommend another soprano ever before in the course of his career until now! And it reminded me of the warning my undergrad voice teacher gave me before I went off to grad school: "Jessica, you're going to have to make friends with some nice mezzos, because I think it is really hard for sopranos to be friends with each other." I think that as a rule, that might be true, (based on some really f'ed up audition experiences I have had) but evidently, I have found the good ones, and here we are! I am so grateful for that.

Ruth used to tell me that the voice and the performance match the person, and never have I found that to be so true as now. I am starting to notice it in every show I go to-- a certain kindness and belief and spirituality goes into true music-making, and I think that is why when you meet another singer, you can somehow anticipate what they will sound like just by who they are. My very favorite example of this are the performances and recordings of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. That is the level of art that can be created when we are willing to give of ourselves, in our lives and in our music.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I have to share another sweet tweet from Deepak!

"I make my vocation my vacation. I know that I am following my bliss when my work is an act of love and devotion. Every day is a joy to live!"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Okay, well, my weekly voice rest day was a little bit fabulous yesterday. I tried to take my mom to Pazo for a late Mother's Day dinner, but the bastards were closed for an "event." So we walked over to Cinghiale, where we polished off a bottle of chardonnay and were treated to complimentary prosecco, had an unbelievable meal, splurged on dessert, and they comped those too! Maybe they know who I AM. To quote some of our distinguished faculty.

It was lovely.

So now, it is time to get back into shape for my lesson domani, and rehearsal and audition next week. And I feel like I can do that now that I have wined and dined...I rewarded myself. :)

The Tudors was painful this week, what with the blood and gore. But we are onto the next wife, I believe. Get it, Henry.

And, in true stream-of-consciousness fashion, I have to say, I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. You know, it is like I have even less valuable things to say to the whole world in that medium than I do in this one, and I guess I find myself frequently annoyed or even downright angry at the things people sometimes tweet. However, the one person I will never regret following is Deepak Chopra. I cannot say how many times one of his tweets has changed my entire outlook on a day. Between Chopra and Puccini and Verdi and Mozart and cooking and angry hip-hop and the Real Housewives of New Jersey I am maintaining a modicum of a form of sanity. Here's my favorite DC tweet from yesterday:

"I am beneath or above no one. When I am independent of the good or bad opinions of others, I stand strong in my own divine power."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday, part deux

Can we talk about something not even slightly singing related? But nevertheless a bit dorky. I wouldn't blame you if you stopped reading right now.

The Tudors.

Every Monday, I giddily run home for lunch, throw something in the microwave, and plop down to watch as much of the previous evening's episode I can squeeze in before running back to work. Sigh. It is painful to think that the series will soon be over. I mean, Catherine Howard is about to be strung up, or beheaded or whatever, and it seems, by my calculations, we have only one wife to go. Jonathan Rhys Meyers couldn't be hotter, and the show is as titillating a way to brush up on one's history as I can think of-- applicable to my life, I suppose, because I am technically Anglican. My cousin thinks I am the weirdest one she has ever met, as I also believe in reincarnation. But hey. Henry the eighth had a lot to do with all those motets I sing every week...there I go with the singing again. Jesus.

Then, at the end of last week's riveting and extremely sexy episode, I was delighted to see that the next dynastic Showtime offering currently in the works is THE BORGIAS!!!!!! Which will be even more fun because they were infinitely more evil, were catholic, and it is set in Italy! 2011, you cannot come too soon.


It's been a whole week since I posted...whirlwind.

This weekend was busy, but somehow satisfying, with an audition, two challenging church services, and, well...mother's day. My father sent me a text yesterday reading "Happy future Mother's Day." Ummm....

On Saturday, it was SUCH a beautiful day, and it was so fun to be auditioning again, I guess I really hadn't been to one in a while-- I had a new dress and pair of shoes--so life was good. I got there and they fit me in early, sang a little Mimi (oh my, someone remind me never to sing Mi chiamano Mimi first. Donde lieta is much more comfortable to start with), it might have been a little insecure to start, but I warmed up soon enough. And learned my lesson with the Mimi arias. I finished strong with my Mozart aria, and my dress looked hot, so here's hoping. :)

The monitor was so sweet-- all audition monitors should be like him. After I had changed back into my civvies and was leaving, he said: "You did a great job. Reward yourself."

Reward myself? For a second, I almost laughed and I don't know why. But I thought about it all the way home. First of all, I think we forget how hard singing can be, emotionally and physically-- at least I do. Then, on Easter Monday, I wake up feeling like I was run over with a Mack truck. I mean, it is just singing, but still-- anyone whose sung a three hour opera knows that it's pretty freaking hard work.

Sunday, there were a couple of weird things that happened. I was feeling freaked out about singing "I know that my Redeemer liveth" at the second service, because it felt like I couldn't get my low voice to phonate with any real resonance. I was wondering why, until I remembered that I'd spent all of Saturday night talking...the in-laws are in town, and then my grandmother called, and well...another lesson learned. But it came off okay and I am still alive.

A reward is in order. I did have something like three chocolate chip cookies yesterday. So maybe that is all the rewarding I need to do.

Monday, May 03, 2010


I am not one of the many who are depressed by rain. I like it. I feel more solitary walking in the rain under an umbrella than when it is sunny, and I like to be alone. It gives me time to think about things.

Last night's performance made me really happy, actually. I felt like I was really able to be in the moment while singing, instead of editing and judging myself as I went along. It's nice to have a break from the inner judge, if only for ten or eleven minutes. And I figure, if I could do it last night, I can do it all the time, which will be my goal for every upcoming performance.

We have met the enemy and he is us.