Friday, July 30, 2010


I am ready to go out to dinner. Not that cooking all week hasn't been great, but sometimes you want to be wined and dined. So tonight's the night, and I am in the mood for southern food...

Today was productive. I applied for a grant...wasn't as painful as some I have seen, so thank god for that. I got my fabulous web person to put sound clips on my website...this is very exciting indeed. Other updates are soon to come. I really need new pictures on there as well, but one step at a time. Contacted a new coach in NYC, etc., etc. Got my rep list for the cabaret and I suppose I'm equally excited and depressed that my days of wisdom teeth removal lounging around are about to come to an end. Ah well.

I have to say that the end of July is about when I start dreading the end of summer, but this year I think I need to try to have a different attitude if I can (this commitment to a positive attitudes when I look at my September calendar), and look forward to the exciting stuff I'm about to do. Also, my birthday is in September and it will a great excuse to do something fun to celebrate both that and a successful (fingers crossed) high holidays.

But for today, all I need to do is learn my solo for church on Sunday, and go to dinner and drink wine. Let's not get toooo motivated just yet.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The perfect Wednesday night?

Buffalo chicken pizza, Sauvignon blanc, Joe, Top Chef, editing my recording, enjoying the sound of my own voice for the first time in my whole entire life.


Today I am working on getting schedules coordinated for an opera ensemble show that I'm organizing for March. I don't mind doing it, and I love the fact that I am able to create opportunities for myself in this way, but it reminds me why I am a singer and not a director. I like to be the one on stage, whose only job is to sing and create a character. I prefer not to have much to do with the administrative side of performances, and to focus on the music. I do a lot of administrating at my day job, so maybe this is why.

I've learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes drama of production and administration in the last five years, and I have to say, while it may not be physically demanding labor, psychologically, it can be grueling work. On the flip side-- it's taught me so much about how to behave in my life as a performer. I've learned how frustrating it can be when people don't respond, don't send bios, photos, program information on time, have unreasonable demands, etc. I wonder if performers realize we are not trying to be annoying, we are trying to HELP them? As production/administrators, we are here to make the performance work, be viable and well-attended and professional, complete with publicity and a beautiful program. And while I have learned not to take any of it personally, and I know artists are busy, over-extended, and have to work very hard for the money they make in this country, it still feels a little annoying when they don't send you what you need to promote THEM.

No one associated with my little opera ensemble has ever given me a moment of trouble like this, because I've learned to choose very carefully who to work with. And it usually includes people who are good about correspondence-- to a certain extent. We all know that it takes less than a moment to dash off an email, so being busy is rarely an excuse.

As a singer, I try to do little things to make my own life easier and more convenient, so that I can be prompt in providing info when it's asked for. Like making sure I always have a updated Word doc of my resume in my email account somewhere, and a re-sized headshot that won't put an admin's email over quota. If I were really organized, I would have one on my blackberry too...must get to that.

I am inspired every day by the friends of mine who have taken it upon themselves to create new outlets for singing here in Baltimore. I KNOW how hard they are working to pull it off. We singers are SO grateful for the care they take and work they put in to promote the art form in our town. Sometimes it's difficult to find time and money to attend performances, but I am trying harder to make it happen, and get myself out to the shows to support the enormous effort of these young companies.

Some of my favorite operatic memories of this past season include the companies I'm thinking of as I write... Sara Stewart as Nedda in Baltimore Concert Opera's I Pagliacci, and The Figaro Project's fun, fun, fun, fabulous inaugural show.

I know, because I am not living under a rock, that the arts are struggling in our economy, and I know I am struggling in our economy, but I see so many lovely opportunities springing up for singers that it give me lots and lots of hope.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I'm in a great mood. I think it might have something to do with the cheesy pop music I'm enjoying at my desk today.

Or the fact that my mini-vacay to Santa Fe is looming on the horizon complete with a spa treatment that I REALLY need.

Or maybe because I am going to lunch with Stu.

Or maybe because I have High Holidays rehearsal tonight...wait...

Or maybe because my lesson yesterday was exactly the tune-up I needed in order to feel human again.

And it is no longer one million degrees outside and I do not sweat inelegantly while walking around the neighborhood.

Also I am invited to so many fabulous weddings this season that I have so many reasons for beautiful dress buying. And one of the weddings require THREE dresses in total-- Bridal Tea, Rehearsal Dinner AND Wedding! This is too good to be true. I am in dress heaven.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday: more from your girl

I went back to work today for real, which is a good thing. I have never been the type that does particularly well with a lot of free time. I start to melt down if I feel unproductive.

Of course, foremost in my mind right now is my next gig-- the Merkin Hall premier of Keith Kramer's new song cycle in New York City. I'm excited and flattered to report that he's writing it just for me! I haven't seen a score yet, though, and I'm anxious to get my hands on something to start learning pitches and rhythms.

In the meantime, there is the remaining recording session for audition season, a cabaret, rehearsals for the High Holidays, and a little recital to keep me busy. I am desperate for a lesson, to help me get my floppy vocal musculature back into shape after oral surgery. Good thing I've got one today. Geez.

In other news, ebay has been good to me, and I found a gown for the NYC concert for around 30 bucks that rocks my world. I think I'm addicted. Yikes.


I had the best time last night at a birthday dinner, drank some wine, came home late and am now ready to kill the construction workers who are listening to loud music and tramping up and down the stairs hundreds of times right outside my bedroom. WHYYYY??? Oh, and now with the hammering. And the loud admonitions about how to build a door.

Because I have a lesson today, and I would have loved some extra shut-eye.

Oh well. I guess coffee is going to have to take over from here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday : OMG

Well, lovely readers, I have triumphed (almost) over my wisdom teeth. They have been successfully yanked from my skull and in their place I have three large craters and some stitches.

I tried singing yesterday, and it was weird, to say the least. I could feel the pressure and vibration in my empty wisdom teeth holes! Which proved painful after a few minutes. My teeth hurt more today than they did on any preceding day, so I am holding out hope that my church job on Sunday will not prove to be too agonizing.

Now I am kind of hoping that my empty teeth holes will give my more resonating space so maybe I could move up a fach. :)

Never heard of it happening, but hey.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I've never had to work so hard in my life. Last night was a little concert of musical theater and some operetta for a crowd who were less than familiar with my whole thing that I do-- that is, classical singing. Don't get me wrong, I had my chest mix (okay, sometimes open chest voice, people, I admit it) going and I think I actually sounded rather convincing. They were a tough crowd. Judging by the sweet compliments I got after, I'm pretty sure most of them liked me, but a good 30% were just not feeling it. It's interesting how easy it is to feel that energy in a room. Hey, what can I say...I did my job, I did what I got hired to do pretty darn well, and now, I am very TIRED.

One discovery that has me very excited, and I can't believe I didn't think of this before...the SPRING HAUTE COUTURE COLLECTIONS are all on youtube!

The perfect thing for a tired opera singer cum musical theater siren who is also going to need something to do next week when she gets her wisdom teeth taken out. Just to really put things into perspective, my fee for last night could probably buy me a half a shoe from said shows. But I did have a good time singing "I could have danced all night."

I think I'll watch Chanel 2010 now...right after I cash this check.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Friday, 2

Oh, and I am really good at making focaccia. Did I mention that?

I had one other cooking disaster this week. Never try to make pizza egg rolls. It's just down right gross.


And now, on a rare completely non-singing related rant: What the hell is the deal with baking a loaf of gosh darn bread? I mean, I totally get now why until the advent of store-bought bread, women couldn't have jobs outside the home. I mean I honestly think it had a lot to do with that. Oh, and having to wash clothes manually.

I have this bee in my bonnet now about wanting to learn how to make bread from scratch, because, well, I don't know why. I just want to. So, it was supposed to be my summer project to try some recipes and perfect one that we could use regularly and didn't seem to be too intense. It's the perfect summer project, because summer is warm, and therefore good for rising bread, and I am broke in the summer, and what could be cheaper than baking as a hobby, when all you have to buy is basically flour and yeast? I wanted to sew this summer too, but, well, Jo-Ann Fabrics isn't the huge bargain it used to be, I can tell you that. Seeing as I just found a Calvin Klein dress on E-Bay for $20 and free shipping.

I think that yeast and dough and the kneading process are all the most magical things. I love it. It really gets me going to knead a ball of dough for some weird reason. Because it's aLIVE! But any way...

So, I tried one recipe, the really "easy" low stress, no-knead one from the New York Times. Twice. It turned out like a flat, tough, though good-tasting, big mess basically. TWICE. I have a friend who makes it so beautifully that I just feel totally inadequate. My bread compared to Zoe's bread. Not even in the same league. Then, I tried another recipe this week, which calls for ten minutes of kneading in the stand mixer, and well, it turned out fine, but it had to rise two different times, and for hours, and I just don't have that kind of time! It is TOO labor intensive. Also, the recipe has 3 tablespoons of honey-- and I quickly discovered that the kind of honey you use matters. I was using a fresh, local, farmer's market kind of honey, and the bread ended up tasting gamey. Like you were eating bread that had actual bees in it. So, I guess that means I need to get really generic store bought honey, but that seems dumb. So I am at a loss.

The one yeast-based success I did have was making soft pretzels. I kneaded the thing for ten minutes by hand, and it was a joyous experience. How lovely and pioneerish I felt, and it is so cool to feel the dough changing as you knead it. Once the pretzels were baked, they tasted amazing, but looked puffy and more like rolls than pretzels, but I was not too concerned by this. They tasted amazing. I think I will serve them with mustard and drawn butter for dipping at my next get-together.

And I suppose I am good at pizza dough, but even my five year old cousin could make pizza dough, so I am not so proud of myself yet. I still have a long way to go to baking mastery, however. I am entirely convinced that it is a science at which only the smartest, most patient and precise of folk can succeed. My mother made all our bread when I was growing up. So I thought I had the gene. But I must soldier on. Maybe with years of practice.

And god knows, I am very good at practicing.

Monday, July 05, 2010


Yesterday could possibly have been my favorite 4th of July in recent memory.

There was a substitute organist at church who played so well that it made my church job a total breeze, and who seemed to think I wasn't so bad either-- which put me in a stellar mood for the rest of the day. Went home, ate lunch, put on bathing suits and went straight out to my mom's marina where there is a pool. Drank beer by said pool, read tabloid magazines, and relaxed. Then, made dinner and strawberry shortcake that was SO good.

The fire works were great, and being with all the boats, it was just really beautiful and perfect.

Today, I went over all my recital rep for this sunday, baked bread and made soft pretzels! it was a very productive day. And I feel so good that I am not even worreid in the least about going to work tomorrow or rehearsal tomorrow night.

Yay for holidays.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Major discovery, thanks to Ms. Z! SPARKLING pinot noir!!!! The perfect summer wine for red wine people.

Now it really is summer. Let's party. Just until like two days before my recital next week. Uh oh. And then I have to get my wisdom teeth taken out. Oy. But then after THAT we will throw caution to the wind.

Maybe it's time to DANCE it out?