Monday, August 30, 2010


I so rarely write on Monday, because, well, it's Monday. But today I am still basking in the glow of another outrageous family weekend wedding. I am dead tired and broke and in no shape to start the High Holidays on Saturday, but oh wow was it worth it. I am so lucky to have a family that is fun and fabulous and accepts me and everyone else for who they are, and who can dance too. :)

You can say what you want about the Irish. They might be drunks but they are REALLY fun.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This week has gone by in a flash. And has left me sitting at a desk with half the week gone and a really bad hair day. My mane is not at its best, which ticks me off, but I realize of course, there are worse things.

Monday, my first New York audition this fall, and it was nice because it was a little bit less formal, and I could ease myself back into the idea of bleeding out vocally in front of people I don't know. That sounds very dramatic, but you all know, since I have said it before, that I actually like auditioning. It is only when I stop and take time to actually think about what I'm doing that it gets dicey.

OMG. So, we got to NYC in plenty of time, and thank goodness I had my diva driver along, because he is skilled at driving in New York, having once lived there. I, on the other hand, mostly take the bus, and if I do drive, park at the first parking lot I see as soon as I get out of the tunnel, and just take the subway or a cab to wherever I need to go. The last time I tried to drive through Manhattan, I was traumatized. I decided to warm up at Ripley Grier on 72nd, which was the closest location to my audition. Lovely. Except that there are no parking garages around there at all. And it was a monsoon. When we finally spotted a garage, and pulled in, we discovered that for three hours it was going to cost us $48. So that was depressing. But I suppose that is why god made credit cards, and I didn't have time to be schlepping around looking for other options.

Mind you, I had risen that morning at 6 am so that I would have time to curl my hair and get my face on, and the weather channel was only calling for a 30% chance of rain in NYC. Well, by the time we got there and were parked, it was a down pour, a steady, windy one. With only one umbrella, there wasn't much hope that any of us would stay dry. But as soon as we stepped outside, a gust of wind blew my dress up around my eyeballs, and all the world could see my drawers. While in the same moment, the umbrella Joe was holding promptly turned inside out and snapped off. I mean it literally snapped in two.

In less than a minute, we were drenched, and running from awning to awning, looking for a trash can to throw the horrible useless umbrella away. We finally made it to a Starbucks where we could get some coffee and go to the bathroom and dry off before heading over to the studio. I couldn't stop laughing. I mean I literally thought the whole thing was so funny. Which is kind of amazing when you consider that I'd gotten up at six to do my hair that was ruined in five seconds flat.

I am one of those frustrating people that has no qualms about throwing fits in public. As we sat guzzling coffee and catching our breath, Joe confessed he was impressed that the whole scenario hadn't sent me into a screaming fit, like when we went bike riding in New Mexico and the flies kept biting me, and I was getting dirty and dusty, and I just spontaneously began screaming at the top of my lungs that I wanted to go back to the hotel and that the god damn flies keep biting me.

No, for some reason, this time it had been funny. So I got to the studio, warmed up, combed out my hair, fixed my make-up and went back out and had a great audition. Good thing I was wearing a quick drying audition dress.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I'm back. My trip was fan-F***king-tastic, I have to say. My family, with all their eccentricities, sure does know how to party. And in exotic locales, such as Indian reservations, which is what it was this time. We were in Santa Ana Pueblo at a gorgeous New Mexican resort for my cousin's wedding. We all looked like we could pass for Native Americans after the thing was over, too, with our gorgeous tans, and my new brown hair. I am no longer just a gringa. I am so much more attractive.

When we arrived, Joe and I had suffered through count them: FOUR connections to finally get to Albequerque. I could feel the dry air and the altitude sucking all the water from my body. So what did we do? Drink two bottles of water each, and instantly run to the nearest Walgreens to buy some wine. Because in NM, they are lovely and do not have weird laws about where you can and can't buy things like wine.

Sometimes it is easy to forget how lucky you are, in the frantic money-earning everyday. When I am with my family, I do remember. Also, I think I just have more fun with them than I do with anyone else. There is something comforting about being with people who have known you your whole life.

After the wedding, we packed up and relocated to Santa Fe, one of my favorite places, and Joe's first time there. For me, of course, I had hoped to catch a show at Santa Fe Opera, since I had never been there during the season. Before we left, we checked the ticket availability online, and it showed that the operas were sold out except for standing room. And nobody wants to stand for three hours on vacation. So I'd resigned myself to that missed opportunity, until the first morning, at breakfast, Joe said wouldn't it be great to see something tonight, and let's just call to see if maybe there are tickets after all.

There were!

We saw two, The Magic Flute, and The Tales of Hoffman. There was some really stellar singing, and I have to say The Magic Flute was the best production and most consistently fantastic singing I have heard in a live opera in a very long time. I actually think it's the best thing I've seen since Thais at the Met starring Renee. And I don't even really like The Magic Flute. Well, I liked this one! The Pamina was a Russian singer who was truly phenomenal, and should be singing the role EVERYWHERE. She deserves fame and fortune for that "Ach, ich fühl's," let me tell you. Sigh. It was SO memorable. The First Lady, Rachel Willis-Sorenson, was a Met Grand Finalist this year, and I loved her. She was not one of the loudest Erste Dames I have ever heard, but sensitive and well matched to the other ladies.

The Hoffman was very well sung, too, with one brave young woman singing all three of the ladies-- Olympia, Antonia, and Giuletta-- her name was Erin Wall, a Canadian soprano with a fantastic sound. There are some lovely things in Hoffman, but I think that maybe I am just not a big fan of the show as a whole. Offenbach is not really timeless in the way that Mozart and Puccini are. I can really see how the show would have been appealing to an audience of Offenbach's day, but doesn't seem as moving to me, for some reason. The sets and the orchestra were amazing, and the chorus (mostly the young artists, I believe) was really very good.

I love to watch operas, and I am really routing for the singers when I am there. You really do have to be terrible, or do something terrible for me not to like you.

Beside all the opera-going, there was a lot of sight-seeing and learning about the culture of the area, which is really as rich as anywhere I have ever been. It's such an interesting blend of things, that there is a lot to see and learn, and I got some beautiful jewelry from a Native American lady in Taos Pueblo. Also, the pool was great at our hotel, so I am very sad to be home in Baltimore again. I could have used another week or so.

But I have a photo shoot this week for The Figaro Project- fun with a few other beautiful divas, and an audition and rehearsal. So it's not like I will be bored. And I can put on lovely clothes and wear lots of make-up. Except that I will be very tan.

And that is never a bad thing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Call me a dork, but this is hot.

Olivier Latry, sighhhh...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Yesterday, I took my monthly trek to my voice lesson in Pennsylvania. It's a drive that I have come to really look forward to because of its un-congested roads, and the serene sort of novelty of Amish country, all of which contribute greatly to my being able to refocus my attention in preparation for an intense hour plus of singing.

I have to say, when Joe decided to renew our Sirius/XM radio in our cars after the free trial had expired, I thought it a bit frivolous. But NFL radio is pretty important for a football fan who drives A LOT for work, and if it's worth it to him, hey. But I think I am starting to become a little addicted myself...Metropolitan Opera Radio doesn't suck, neither does Martha Stewart Radio, and I have to say Oprah Radio is REALLY great. Between Deepak Chopra, Maya Angelou and Gayle King, I am loving driving places more than ever before.

Yesterday, Oprah was on with Geneen Roth, the author of a book I haven't read yet, called "Women, Food, and God." It was such a great forty minutes of my day-- it made me stop and think.

I've spent a lot of time this summer getting things done, taking Ibuprofen (wisdom teeth), checking things off lists, practicing, planning, preparing. But as I listened to the radio in the car yesterday, tears came to my eyes as I thought about how little time I had spent in a spiritual pursuit, spending time with the real me, the me that is always there, undamaged by childhood pain, untouched by situations, circumstances, drama, the me that is part of the Source of everything, the part of me that I can never do anything to get, and can therefore never lose. God.

The problem is really that that disconnection from that essential me creates a vacuum that tries to suck in other things to fill the hole. Situations and people and phrases that never bothered you before, suddenly really get on your nerves, you need more dresses, more pedicures, more therapy, more wine, more food, more everything. Things to make you feel okay.

No, I have not gone nuts with any of the above. No, I am not checking myself into the Betty. No, I will not be on the next flight to India to report to an ashram for a month of meditation. If any of my friends are reading this, they know that I have not been significantly more nuts than usual. But I just realized yesterday that if the Source of all life was trying to tell me something, I probably wouldn't have heard her. It might have taken him a little longer to get through.

Starting to today, I'm listening, I'm watching for signs. I will open my eyes when I walk down the street, I will notice the divinity in the very frustrating bits of recit I'm trying to pound into my head. I will remind myself to BE wherever I am.

And speaking of divine goddess hood, another thing that was on the radio last night was the 1982 recording of the Verdi Requiem with Leontyne Price. Amidst lots of imperfections, and some out of tune singing, there are bits of chilling holiness, moments when you KNOW there is a God. And that perfection is not the name of his game. Actually, I am convinced she is not very interested in it at all.

As a singer, isn't that what I want? To be the voice that brings that MOMENT to an audience. The moment that gives them chills and they never forget as long as they live? Is it really just that we have to be genius singers who have a perfect grasp of theater, technique, language, etc., etc., or could it be that it has a lot to do with taking our egos out of the equation, getting out of the way, creating space for that divinity to come alive in what we do?

Sunday, August 08, 2010


I just got back from the pool, and you know what that means: time to get back to work on the countess. I'm learning La Contessa from that opera with Figaro in it. And I'd really like to have enough ready to work on in my lesson tomorrow. And enough solid so that when I come back from vacation it doesn't look and feel like I fell off a cliff.

Also, summer is officially almost over, because I have my first audition of the season in about 2 weeks. There isn't much time left to work on my tan. Or my audition arias, frankly.

I love summer. But life is so much more interesting in the fall.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Well, not that you particularly care, but OMG this weekend has done my voice in. Tonight's rehearsal will be *interesting.*

Last night, to further self-sabotage any efforts to not look like a gigantic whale, I made a miraculous pasta dish that rocked my world entirely, and frankly, reminds me why life is too short to not pretty much eat what you want. At least in small portions. I didn't over do it last night, and I had a salad, so how bad could it have been. In case you are interested and haven't seen the post on my facebook, here is the recipe!

I have a theory that if you are working hard at being very disciplined in all areas of your life, there will inevitably be just one, no matter how hard you try, that just goes completely out of control. So, I have been been productive as far as my singing goes, as I mentioned in previous blogs, I've made an effort to spend time with friends (and am SO glad I have), even though I am turning into a bit of a homebody, I have significantly upped my intake of fruits and vegetables, and am demonstrating heroic moderation in drinking wine, even though it is summer and we could all be lushes if we wanted to. So it follows that the part that has really taken a dive is going to the gym. I have to say I just really dislike sweating and feeling yucky. Even if I try to tell myself I feel better afterward, sigh... I really actually don't. Joe is so motivated and fabulous in this area and has the gorgeous physique to show for it, that I feel a bit guilty every so often, but then I remember how horrible it is to have to take your morning shower at the gym and put your make-up on at your desk, and how I basically feel sweaty the rest of the day.

I am really starting to think that maybe yoga is the best fitness answer for me. I need to look into this. Is there a cheap yoga option where girls with big hips will not be looked down upon?

I welcome your comments!