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.

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