Tuesday, May 31, 2011


After one very intense coaching, a trip to walmart (which can be pretty intense in and of itself), and a 90 minute yoga class that wasn't supposed to be "hot" but was anyway, because...wellllll...it's hot, I'm feeling like I've had a full day.

So this is what it would be like if I had a sugar daddy? I would be thin and supremely well-coached. I would probably switch the walmart part out, however, for, say, Bergdorf Goodman. But my life isn't so shabby. I have my apt., my cat children, and I get to spend my life with the kindest human being that ever lived. I mean, he's practically Jesus, except with amazing piano skills.

As much time as I spend wondering: Am I doing what I was put here to do? Am I where I am supposed to be? Am I reaching my potential as a singer, a person, a friend? I got this peaceful feeling tonight that maybe doing the best you can and trying for a little better, a little more, is really actually great.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Tomorrow morning, I have a coaching...quick, must have immediate touch up on some French, and must have some one with some authority to reassure me that singing Baby Doe is not totally ridiculous? And will not turn me into a laughing stock at my next audition?

Oh my oh my oh my.

At least I will look good at my coaching, however, since I have been sunning myself at the pool all day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Okay, I can't believe I waited this long to take a yoga class!!! People, it was so hard at some points that I thought I was going to puke, but when it was done I felt amazing. The next day I woke up feeling like I'd been at the beach all week. And sore. But very relaxed.

You've heard me rant about how much I hate working out, and sadly, that hasn't changed. But when I thought about what I hate so much about it, it became clear why I liked yoga so much.

I don't know anyone. I don't have to chat. There is no blaring music. I am not running. There is no small talk to make. You can hear birds chirping because the windows are open. It is about self-acceptance instead of self-criticism.

Maybe it is a little weird how much I just want to be alone a lot of the time. But I also think that it may give me additional ability to really be with my friends when I choose to spend time with them. Like maybe the time I spend alone is time to get rid of all that white noise we have in our heads, and create space to focus on the people in our lives when the time comes to do that.

Being in a room full of people at a yoga class was a lot like being alone. I think I might be addicted.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday: Attention Soprani

I have ranted many a time on this self-same blog about predatory sopranos. I have prayed for serenity in times of soprano attack. I have constantly reviewed my own behavior in the hope that I will never give in to acting like this myself.

So, I submit to you: Today's Soprano Mantra: "Let me be self-aware. And let me not be a bitch."

And then IMMEDIATELY read this brilliant and hilarious article written by my fabulous friend: Soprano vs. Soprano

Monday, May 23, 2011


There's been a lot of excitement this weekend, what with the big horse race, and the rapture, and book club and all. I was kind of hoping there'd be better follow-up reporting with the guy who said the lord was coming back Saturday evening, but it seems he isn't taking anyone's calls. Or maybe, he really was raptured.

Well, going to the Preakness for me is almost as good as going to heaven. There is food, hats, drinks, horses, a lot of hot outfits, some minor celebrities, and best of all, most of the men actually dress up too! It's lovely to see the guys get spruced up. Joe had the most lovely seer-sucker suit, and I was proud to be seen with him.

I was sad to say goodbye to the book we read! The 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is by David Mitchell, and really a great read. I have the weirdest feelings of sadness and grief when I am done a great book. It has, however, amped up my life-long wish to go to Japan. I reallllllyyy want to now.

I haven't got a lot to say. I'm boring, people. I wonder if my self-enforced week of detox (from alcohol and sugary food) and yoga will give me a lot of material to write about. I'm sure by Wednesday or Thursday, I will be back to my old mantra: Life is short, go crazy.

At any rate, it will be a long week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Today, we all need to listen to some Mahler. He died 100 years ago today. Plus, the weather is so Mahlerish.

I'm starting with the first symphony. He is a guy I wish I had taken a class about in grad school. I did Wagner, Mozart, blah, blah, blah...but Mahler. I think we would understand each other very well. Since I have always felt that bigger is better.

It just is, okay?

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Well, it turns out that being a little poor (too poor, that is, to risk putting my wallet in the imminent danger we call a great many shoes I want at the mall) is very productive for me. Not only does it force me to stay home and do things one must do, like laundry, but it offers just the right amount of boredom to get me to do projects that would seem otherwise ridiculous.

Like making bagels.

After church today, I was braindead, as per usual, feeling rather like maybe I hadn't sounded so good. I was cranky about it. So we ate left-over chicken enchiladas for lunch and I read for awhile. Then I got bored and went flipping through my collection of internet downloaded recipes, and came across an easy recipe for bagels. Talk about a cheap hobby. Bread-baking is just a cheap enough hobby (cost: flour, yeast) to make me forget momentarily how completely maddening it can be.

But low and behold, this was really not too maddening at all and these bagels are a revelation. It was easy and they are good, and they are smaller than the ones you buy, so it doesn't feel like you just ate a hockey puck.

Now, can someone please tell me who thought of BOILING bread dough in the first place? It seems like maybe it was an accidental discovery. So whenever I am too cash poor to go buy a bag (mostly because I have been having way too much fun going out with friends), I suppose making bagels would be a good and industrious thing to do. Joe will be thrilled.

Which is something else I should probably be concerned about. Am I treating my husband TOO well? I hope he doesn't get used to this. :)

Oh, and Here's the recipe!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


My little blog-let was named in the 50 Best Blogs for Opera Students!!!

Well, it's not a Pulitzer, but I'm certainly honored!


I'm working on a very challenging new aria. It's hard, don't get me wrong, but most of it is working it's way right into my throat. EXCEPT: There are about two measures that are giving me a hernia-- a very fierce coloratura passage, naturally. My facility has really improved in that way lately, and my very high extension is stronger than it has been in ten years, but this one section....sigh. And as we all know, even if you can sing the whole rest of the thing, not being able to do two crucial measures well can ruin the whole aria.

So my question is this: with something like coloratura (that honestly is not as natural to me as I would like it to be), can practicing the passage hundreds of times mean that eventually it WILL sound natural and gorgeous? Or is what I have always kind of suspected true: if it doesn't work within the first ten times you try to sing it, it's probably not the right aria for you?


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I Got Kin


So that your own heart

Will grow.


So God will think,


I got kin in that body!

I should start inviting that soul over

For coffee and



Because this is a food

Our starving world



Because that is the purest



trans. Daniel Ladinsky

Monday, May 09, 2011


Going to Washington DC is always a delightful challenge for those of used to cities whose streets are laid out in a way that makes even the slightest bit of sense. Then you have to wonder about where you are supposed to park when there are no parking garages in sight and pedestrians keep walking out in the middle of the road. Also, there are entire sections of town that have a stop sign every block and when you are in a hurry to get to your audition, it can be challenging. Because, inevitably, you are behind a person in an ancient truck whose motor is barely still working and it takes about 12 minutes for the car to restart itself after stopping at the stop signs every block.

So it is a blessed discovery to make when you call and find out that the audition venue actually has a parking lot.

By this time, you have practically killed several pedestrians, given yourself an aneurysm (extra points for correct spelling), nearly wrecked your car, and dodged a speeding ticket.

It has already been a long morning.

Did I mention I got up at 6:30 am?

So you run in, change into the dress you spent the better part of an hour ironing the night before (when you should have been sleeping), run up the stairs to the warm up room, sing through those few measures that always feel sluggish or insecure, fill out your paper, run back down, try to catch your breath for five seconds, and then: YOU'RE ON.

Ready, set, sing.

Then, you thank the panel, the pianist, and the good lord for letting you make it there on time.

You change back to your civvies, get in your car, exit the parking lot and promptly get horribly lost again, making it home just in time to remember that there is a street fair in your neighborhood and you're going to have to circle for about 20 minutes before you find a place to park.

But all is not lost, because you have gotten home before your voice student arrives.

So I teach awhile and then remember that my in-laws are in town for Mother's Day and they're here to spend time with me!

The door opens, and they arrive with, oddly enough, a cake in the shape of a lamb. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure Easter was two weeks ago. We cut and eat the cake, starting with the haunches. I field questions about why I didn't cut it's head first. Then I realize that the cake probably actually is two weeks old, and a bit past it's prime. So we are sitting there eating old cake, looking at the leftover head and shoulders of a lamb.

Then three-thirty rolls around and it is high time we went out for dinner.

By 5, we've eaten dinner and are ready for bed.

For once, I am just exhausted enough for this time table to have made a lot of sense.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thursday : Top 5 MOST Annoying Things That Could Possibly Happen to an Opera Singer

I would like to submit to you: a list.

Top 5 MOST Annoying Things That Could Possibly Happen to an Opera Singer

1. Any unsolicited criticism ("helpful hint" or "tip" or "comment") of my singing preceded by the phrase "I've never had any formal vocal training, but I was in choir in high school, and I really think..."
I don't try to give you tips about how to be a better lawyer, doctor, or whatever. Don't coach me on singing, peeps.

2. Being compared to Josh Groban.

3. Being in a show with those colleagues who are otherwise lovely, but never seem to have been informed of or have conveniently decided to ignore the rule about it not being their place to offer advice about how to be a more fabulous actor (like them), have a better sound in your high and/or low range (like them), how to support and project more efficiently (like them), what rep you should really be singing, or what voice teacher would be right for you rather than the one with whom you are currently studying.

4. Working with a person that makes excuses for themselves.
Just stop. Close your mouth, and then figure out how to fix it. We do know how hard it is to be a good singer, and actor, and watch the conductor at the same time. Sometimes its nearly impossible. But it is so frustrating when people do not take responsibility, because there is nothing anyone can do to help if no one will admit something is their fault.

5. Having to remind people to pay us.
No, a fairy did not come to me in a dream and tap me on the head with a wand, and *poof* I was a fantastic singer. No, I do not just do this because it is fun. Even though sometimes it is fun. However, it becomes significantly UN-fun when I have to beg for my money. Again, you would never do that to your lawyer, doctor, or whatever. Don't do it to singers. We have degrees too, and have actually worked our a**es off, and continue to work them off in order to develop the kind of technique that allows us to sing the ridiculous cover of the pop song you want for your daughter's wedding while maintaining a modicum of human dignity.

Monday, May 02, 2011


On a small placard (ironically) over my kitchen sink:

"All I ask is that you treat me no differently than you would the Queen."