Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 1

Everything was going so smoothly until they announced our flight was delayed...and it just kept getting later.  And later.  I did meet a really nice family with two cute kids that were completely melting down, poor was late at night and they were only five and three.

My flight arrived at midnight, I waited forty minutes to get a car, and then I had a 90 minute drive to my destination.

When I finally fell into bed at 3 am, I slept like a log until the phone rang at 8 am asking for Anita.  Note to self: unplug phone in these types of situations.  I went back to sleep for another hour and then...well...I was a mess when I woke up. So this is what it must feel like to have a newborn, I told myself, except less sleep.

But today, I went to the space to check out the lay of the land and meet my home stay family.  That was when things started to look up.  I am now in my cosy, fabulous cabana after a delicious dinner...starting to get a little nervous.  Pounding water, eating lots of pineapple, not talking.

I started to wonder about my starting aria after hearing it from one of the others today.  So I spent several hours wondering what other aria I should start with.  I bugged Joe about it too.

Then I remembered that the reasoning I had used to choose it was sound.  As I thought through it from every angle, I realized that what I bring is different than what she brought.  Fear is no reason to change the whole strategy now.

It's time to just stop worrying and do it.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Busy getting ready

Hey friends!!! It's been a busy couple weeks with competitions and prep galore!  Tomorrow I leave for the one in Florida...not a bad place to be with a storm on its way to the East Coast!!! I have my shoes and my dresses lined up and I'm excited.  It's tough to get used to being away from Joe for ten days, but such is life.  I'll never forget the five weeks he was away in Northern Italy for a competition once. Oh my word it was a long time.  But musicians have to do these things.

It's kind of weird to think that this is the very first time I will be singing opera during Holy Week and Pesach instead of liturgical gigs.  It's the first time in years that I won't be among the vocally shredded masses of singers making a buck.

I'll be checking in with you very soon... When I am snugly installed at my home stay.

Happy Saturday night all!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

A blog from the bus

Everything is fabulous today and I am already looking forward to my grilled cheese, but I seem to have forgotten to bring water on le bus and am unduly parched.

Finished the taxes last night with a little help from Joe when I got tired and started to melt down.  It feels good and was a major triumph to have that behind me!!!!

I feel slightly bad that as an Irish person I am venturing into NYC on the day of the big parade and am wearing a sleekly conservative bus-friendly ensemble of grey and black, when my brethren will be donning all manner and diverse shades of green.

A shout out also to my husband extraordinaire who accidentally stepped in cat puke this morning while shuffling me out the door.  It seems that Madamoiselle Mimi had been munching on the tulips.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Tomorrow I'm off to NYC and looking forward to it.

Tonight, Joe is taking me out for Greek food, which is never bad.

I am about half done the taxes and I hate having it hanging over my head.  Like a lot.  But one has to eat, and one does HAVE to go to New York for things.

Happy Weekend all!  I'll be coming to you from the bus tomorrow...who knows what kinds of brilliant insights I'll have!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Things for Thursday

Hello all!  Its a beautiful day here in Baltimore, MD.

Some crazy stuff happened yesterday:

-- for about two hours I was convinced that I had a kidney stone, which is a lot less fun than it sounds.  

-- I wore black tights with contrasting shoes.

I know, I'm crazy, right?

Anyway,  since I have several competitions and concerts coming up and some traveling to do, I've been scouring the Ebays for some fabulous audition looks that are a bit springier.  And the lovely news is I found some amazing evening gowns for barely any money while out with my mom last wee, and I am able to fit into a size I never thought possible.  It was very encouraging.  Although at this particular place, I'm sure there is major vanity sizing, it's still fun!

I'm planning ahead as best I can to be sure I feel as diva-fabulous as possible.  First of all, something needs to be done about my feet if I'm going to be wearing open-toed shoes with my gowns-- that's an appointment I'll be needing to make.  I've got my portable steamer-- that's key.  My one dilemma is a present for my home-stay hosts...what to bring???  I love when I get wine and chocolate, but that can be so tricky because some folks don't drink, and some folks have dietary issues with sweets!   If anyone has any suggestions, please...!!! Help me!

I've been very methodical with my practice as I prepare the arias.  Two are new, which is a bit of a challenge all its own, two are OLD favorites, which I know very well, and one is medium.  So each day I work carefully with the metronome on the new ones, then work on the dramatic gestures and making sure the acting ideas are clear.  The medium one is truly the most challenging aria I've ever sung, and is one that requires intense focus, just to sing it.  Adding anything with acting is still a bit of a challenge, so I'm working on that each day too.  One of the new ones has a B section that isn't musically difficult, but is dramatically and vocally daunting for me for some reason.  That is going to require some more serious practice, but I'm up for the challenge, and ultimately I believe it is a PERFECT piece for me.  Every day I chip away at them.  And this weekend, I'll be in New York again to work with my coach and teacher and fine-tune some things!  I can't wait.  Singing is my very favorite thing, and I think I get more obsessed with voices every day.  Everyday I discover more about my own voice, figure out how to fix little things here and there, and realize how far I've come.

AND it's Thursday which means we've got the weekend to look forward to! 

Friday, March 08, 2013

The "luxury" of preparation

Hello all…I’ve been a very bad blogger lately.  Like really bad.  It’s been almost a week since I’ve seen you. 

It’s been an intense week for lots of reasons, and I just haven’t had much to say!  But I am looking forward to having my darling home this weekend since it is his spring break, and we are so happy about it!

I’m preparing for three competitions, working every night on my rep, trying to fit in some Bach and Strauss here in there so I don’t get too bogged down with arias!   But I am falling madly in love with my rep, the closer I get to it, the more I know it, and I am remembering what it used to feel like to know your audition arias really well!  I feel like I have been changing my rep so much, that it has been forever since I felt really settled with my music.

Actually, I’ve said this before here, but I feel like many of us have so much happening and have to do so many different things to make a living that our level of preparedness for things has to evolve too.  We either become amazing at learning music and gaining that comfort level very quickly, or become used to never feeling totally prepared.  For most of us, I wager it’s a little of both. 

You show up for a gig, and the director asks for an aria or two for a donor event, and by the way can you learn and memorize this duet or ensemble by you know, next week?  And you say yes, knowing you have no time to learn it, because no would be the wrong answer, and you just know that you will end up performing something that you are just hanging onto by the toes.

So having the luxury to sing things you’ve sung many times before is one to be appreciated.

As are impromptu lunches with friends and meetings that eat up half the day and suddenly…whoops…its time to go home!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Weekend Recap

The recital was fabulous.  I cried the whole time.  I don't know what is about texts by Emily Dickinson, but I'm very touched by them, and I'm sure I'm not the only person.  Then, there's Knoxville!  Ahhh...that piece is such a tear-jerker, whether you had a great childhood or a medium one or a bad one, it just works every time...the melody comes back and waterworks!

I ran into so many fabulous singing types and musical types at the recital, it was great to reconnect with folks I haven't seen in a while, and really should see way more often.  Then I got to thinking after a conversation with my friend, the networking terminator, I need to attend at least one arts event a week, and make a concerted effort to really chat with people afterward.  I mean, I feel like my whole life is basically an arts event, but you know what I mean.

My other thing is that sometimes after concerts, I am a little bit of an emotional wreck, especially with song recitals, and I feel like visiting can break the spell of an experience I want to extend as long as possible.  After all, I do go to concerts because I love to experience music, and let it get to me.  But it is time for me to bring extra concealer and some powder, and pull myself together.  Because you know what networking is, right?  Having a conversation!  I have so much anxiety when I refer to networking as networking, because I am not good at self-promoting in the traditional sense, but it is not as difficult to have an upbeat conversation and to reply with a great attitude and no down-playing or self-deprecating when someone asks you what you've been up to.

Yesterday, I'd planned to attend an opera performance that many of my friends were singing, but I totally biffed it, and when I went online to get a ticket for the event, it was sold-out!  Which is great for them!  But I'm sorry my procrastination made me miss it.

However, I took the opportunity to go to a meditation workshop instead.  People, let me just tell you: it was HARD.  I didn't think I would have as much trouble.  My mind wandered, my back ached.  I had to focus so intently to stay awake.  But it was amazing in that I learned that if one can control their focus and their thoughts, one can do literally anything.  And, much like singing, it takes a lot of practice.  I am dreading it a bit, but I know that starting a daily practice would be extremely good for me at this point in my life, and I think I'm just going to have to do it.

If I just pick a place in my house and put the cushion on the floor, then I will be reminded every time I walk by that I need to start my practice.  And that will be the first step.

Friday, March 01, 2013


Ladies and gentlemen, we've basically made it!  I am so happy for this weekend to arrive, as its been a tough week, but evenings like tonight make it all seem worth it.

Joe and I have the plan of going out for afghan food, and then attending the recital of a truly stellar soprano and pianist with whom Joe used to go to conservatory.  It is sure to be a delight.

Then, I am going to make my mom go shopping with me to find a new formal for my competitions that doesn't fall down-- oh the perils of weight loss.  Unfortunately, it seems the boobs are always the first thing to go.

And more practicing this weekend, of course.  I am bound and determined to be fabulous, I have to work my plan.  No reason to allow anything that I did or did not do get in my way!