Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Favorite quote for a Wednesday eve

The only thing better than singing is more singing.

Ella Fitzgerald

Girl crush

It's Nigella Lawson. I admit it. Ever since this new Cooking Channel thing came on, I'm pretty hopelessly in love with Nigella. Not that I think her food even seems that great, really. Just that I love her.

I am the last person to watch the Renee Fleming rock-star music video thing. But I just watched it. Oh my oh my oh my. I love her so much, but that video is questionable at best. I don't get it at all...but I will say I am so proud of her that she is so awesome that she can truly do anything she wants without any consequences of making the wrong career move. We should all be so lucky. Yay for doing exactly whatever the hell you want and owning it.


Wednesdays are fun because of Top Chef. No other reason in particular, except that today I got to see Sally, which many of you know is a highlight of my month. Oh, and I designed a new lay out for the blog!!! You like?

This weekend's performances were so much fun, I am sad that they are over. I didn't think I would be saying that right now, since the role itself caused me such stress that I literally thought it was going to kill me! I really grew to enjoy the cast, and there was a great rapport between everyone. I have been in shows before where everyone is not so loving...or for some reason, based on rehearsal schedules, or whatever, never really has a chance to bond. Which is always a weird thing to be onstage, in such a very vulnerable kind of situation feeling like you are with strangers. It's much better when everyone can be friends. It doesn't hurt when there is some really very fine singing going on either, with a fabulous piece of music.

Trying to find ways to calm myself down every night was my little challenge in this particular role. It was so easy to let nerves get totally out of hand while waiting through the entire first and second acts. I freaked out in silence and tried not to be too annoying to my cast mates, who had big roles with SO much singing and may have really had a good reason to freak out. One mistake NOT to make is to be the neurotic person who warms up all over again every five minutes and leaves all their notes in the dressing room. Which DID happen one of the two nights and was too scary to be repeated. So I sat quietly in the dressing area, ate a gummi worm or two (even though I couldn't find any real haribo gummis and was forced to eat the very gross kind), drank some water, played with my blackberry, and didn't allow myself to go upstairs to the balcony too soon before it was time to sing. Only one warm up ten minutes before was allowed, and no obsessing over the high notes. Which actually worked very well. I was soooo much more relaxed, and didn't want to throw up after I was finished singing. So now I know.

My recording session went SO well yesterday-- I am absolutely thrilled. Money well spent, and for the first time in my life, listening to the tracks did not ruin my day. I asked Joe in awe: "Is that what I really sound like?" He replied that it was, and that they had only done a basic recording, with no magic or witchcraft involved. Maybe my hard work is starting to pay off.

And THEN! A friend asked me to do a gig with her today, and so I am a very happy little soprano.

I think wine and guacamole will make me even happier.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Tonight is opening night of my second time singing a little role in a Verdi opera. Last night's dress for the Saturday night cast was truly fabulous. The voices! Sighhhh. What a huge rush it is to hear those kinds of sounds coming from a human being.

I am happy that my white costume doesn't make me look too peaked, thanks to the daily walks to and from work in this startling heat.

Really, we are all just trying not to melt.

Next week, I'm hoping to get at least a couple of really solid tracks for the old audition recording. Anything that doesn't make it on, i will do in another session in August, so I am trying to avoid stressing about it. This year, I thought it was time to have it doen by a professional, so I saved my money, and am looking forward to having someone else make me sound good??? Okay, well...

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I have begun to save to go back to Europe again. Not sure exactly where, because although there are so many things I haven't seen yet, I always miss Venice. But I'm thinking Paris...

Yesterday was an intense one with a big work meeting that completely wore me out...two hours later, I was sitting at my desk brain-dead trying to remember my own name. So I have a lot to catch up on today. I don't know if I've ever said that in the summer before...weird. Why do I have work to do? This is annoying.

My new strategy for avoiding eating lots of snacks in the evening is to eat dinner later (brilliant, I know) so I took my time recovering from the work thing and folded some laundry like a good little wifey. Oh man, I made the best chicken fajitas last night. Wow. I have to say, Joe is a lucky man. :)

Then it was back to the grindstone, and by grindstone, I mean, I have a ton of work to do on music for an upcoming recital and my recording. It's really getting totally out of control. I started putting binders together, and have a system for learning my new aria...a long bel canto thing that still tires me out by the end. I think it's really only that I've just been tired in general, and by the time I get around to practicing, well...yes, twelve pages worth of chirping and arpeggios and high ds will do it for you. So I always start at the end when I am feeling fresh, and work my way back to the beginning. At some point I will have to start singing it in order to get my stamina going, one of these days. The good news is that I think the aria is WELL worth the effort and will be an unbelievable show case for auditions that has lots of excerpt-able bits for when they don't want to hear it til the bitter end. And it's FUN, with some comic action. Lord knows lyric sopranos have enough sad music to deal with, so you need to break it up. My teacher told me to watch Will and Grace's Sean Hayes for ideas for the character and comic timing! As if I don't already have all the episodes memorized! Oh, and is it ever wordy. So I am doing that thing now where I say the wordy bits over and over to myself at intervals all day long-- in the shower, walking to work-- yes, the crazy person talking to herself walking up St. Paul is me, people.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I have been feeling lately like maybe I don't have anything interesting enough to say to put it on the internet. But hey. I'm here because I need to vent. Which is what blogging is really about after all, isn't it?

All through April and May I kept saying that if I could just make it to June, I would be okay. And now it seems like June is not turning out to be as fun and stress free as I had hoped! I think it has a lot to do with my annual summer broke-ness, and the fact that I am working on a show, and have a recital coming up in July, and...I'm getting my wisdom teeth out in July too, which I am dreading.

I'm knocking on wood, of course, while I type that I have never had a stitch or broken a bone, and getting a cavity filled or having blood taken can ruin an entire half a week for me. I'm the biggest sissy when it comes to pain and needles, so when they explained that I would have to have an IV for the anesthesia, well, it just totally freaked me out. I know, get over it, Jessica. Please.

When you have the money you don't have the time, and when you have the time you don't have the money is how the story goes, I'm afraid, to hang out with friends and go for drinks and do all the lovely things you want to do in summer.

We are heading into tech week for Don Carlo, and I had a horrific rehearsal last night. I sang my bit at the beginning of a three hour rehearsal-- it was good, even great, by my own standards. Then, I sat for three hours in freezing air-conditioning with no where to warm up again, and had to sing it at the very end. Let's just say it totally sucked ass. I was horrified at what was coming out of my mouth. The whole cast of principals, and a full chorus were there with nothing to do but sit and listen to me singularly ruin my reputation with a two page vocal blow-out of epic proportions. Did it matter that I had sung it perfectly, even fabulously three hours before? Not to me. I was mortified. I grabbed my bag, tried to avoid eye-contact, and ran out the door, and into the car where I promptly burst into tears. It had been a long day, I was angry, embarrassed, and I was DONE. I haven't cried over singing in a while, so I suppose I was about due. Nothing like driving on the capital beltway while sobbing uncontrollably.

Okay, so the circumstances weren't great, and no one is at their best after sitting in AC for three hours cold. And as Joe reminded me, everybody has a bad day, or a bad two pages, or whatever, every so often. Well, for some reason I just have this big problem with that. When I listen to other singers, I am so much kinder to them than I ever would be to myself. Maybe they are allowed to have a bad rehearsal, but I just do not want that to happen to me. The humiliation is just too much.

One of my Deepak Chopra tweets yesterday was about being vulnerable, and how the greatest things come out of openness and vulnerability, and that until we can be in that state, good energy cannot really flow through us. Well, I am not sure what happened last night, but I certainly felt vulnerable. I think there must be a lesson in this somewhere.