Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Say cheese!

Guess who got a new camera for Christmas?!! No, not KD - me! Hopefully this will mean many clear and exciting pictures of events in the months to come.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 23, 2004


My dad sent me this newspaper clipping today; it's from an Albequerque paper sometime in July 1970. He and my mom, married only 8 months and stationed at an air base in Texas, came up to Santa Fe to visit an old college friend of my dad's and to see the opening weekend of the new open-air concert hall. Little did they know that they would one day have a daughter who was a true "opera enthusiast" and would sing in that very concert hall as a Santa Fe Apprentice!

A circle we didn't even know was open has come full-circle! =] Posted by Hello

Monday, December 20, 2004

Skagit Update

New plans for the Magic Flute set: Looks like we’ll be renting from Utah Festival Opera, not Sarasota. The theme is very similar – ancient Egypt – but I’ll bet it’s a bit less extravangent. (Therefore, more affordable!) The new pictures look great, although there is no shot of my costume . . .

Monday, December 13, 2004

Photo software

I'm trying out my new software that will let me post pictures on my blog. Here is our beautiful Christmas tree! Happy Holidays to everyone. Posted by Hello

Skagit Opera news

Ron Wohl at Skagit Opera has announced that our production (sets, costumes, etc.) of The Magic Flute will be a rental, courtesy of Sarasota Opera. For a new, small company, this is an affordable way to put on a great show, and the established company gets a bit of income from renting out their sets. See some impressive pictures here. Gorgeous! I just hope that there is a good guard rail on that raised set for the Queen…

The News

Last Monday morning I got an email that started like this:

“Dear Ms. Bird,
I am pleased to advise you that you have been accepted for the 2005 Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singer Program.”

Woohoo!! Needless to say, I was ecstatic – for about five minutes. Right away, all the little things (and some big things) that would have to be arranged started running through my mind, not the least of which was getting time off for my sister’s wedding. The other big one: will Erik come with me? The program is a full three months, and we don’t like to be apart for more than a month, max. Even three weeks is pushing it! So we have all sorts of scenarios running through our minds.

But first, the wedding drama! The original wedding day was July 22nd. I looked on the Santa Fe website for the performance schedule, and the opera being performed that night is one I knew I wouldn’t be in. So I thought, no problem! I can leave late on the 21st and be back early on the 23rd, no problem. Well, late on the 21st there is the Dress Rehearsal for Peter Grimes, an opera in which I have a cover (opera-speak for understudy); on the 22nd there is an orchestra rehearsal for for Ainadamar, an opera in which I have a small part; early on the 23rd is a staging rehearsal for Ainadamar, and opening night of Peter Grimes is on the 23rd as well. Did you get all that?! So, while the director was extremely understanding, it was near to impossible for me to get out that weekend.

Add to all this the fact that my sister-in-law is pregnant and due – you guessed it – on July 22nd! All of a sudden, the stars were misaligned for the wedding to take place on that date. My saint of a mother came to the rescue, though, and found a new date which works for all the wedding vendors. She cleared this new idea with the groom, and THEN told my sister about the new plans! See, Sally didn’t know about any of these snags until they had all been resolved. She was in the middle of hell week at school, and my mom knew that it would put her over the edge!

Sally, to her credit, is excited about the new date (heck, she’s getting married six weeks earlier!) and so happy about all the good things that precipated the change. She and her fiancee will be here on Friday; I can’t wait to have a good laugh about it all over a Christmas cocktail.

Details of my Summer 2005 will be forthcoming…

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A teaser

I have some news regarding the results of my auditions, but it's not quite ready for general knowledge. Hopefully by this weekend I'll have clearance to tell the world!

It's good, I'll tell you that much. Really good... =]

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Average Audition

Usually, the Average Audition goes something like this:

Singer walks in, exchanges greetings with the panel. Panel says, “What would you like to sing?” Singer tells them, and they say ok. First aria. If they would like to hear another, they look over the singer’s repertoire list and ask for the aria of their choice. Second aria. When it is finished, the Panel says, “Ok, thank you.” Singer says, “Oh no, thank YOU!” and leaves the room with a smile. End of audition.

Ok, so I was being a little silly at the end there, but you get the idea. Very cut and dried. I think I like it that way, too, after having two auditions go very differently this year. With the Average Audition, there are no comments or conversations to give you false hope that the Panel is going to hire you. You just walk in, do your best, and leave, forgetting about the audition until the offer – or rejection letter – comes in.

My first audition this season started out like an Average Audition. But I was on my way out the door when a member of the Panel said, “You’ll have to tell us about [an obscure opera that is on my Upcoming Performances list].” I stopped, of course, and I said some things and she said some things (all pertaining to the opera in question), and that was it. I see now, looking back, that that little exchange was probably all she had in mind. But at the time, I thought, “She said ‘you’ll have to tell us,’ which indicates a conversation in the future. That must mean she’s going to hire me!” Alas, a week later, I got the email. “It was a pleasure to hear your recent audition for the [our company]. I am sorry to inform you that you have not been chosen as a finalist for this year’s company.”

The second audition was a two-parter: a five minute initial audition and a fifteen minute callback. (A few more numbers here: 550 singers in the first round, 100 in the call backs, 25 spots. So, just getting a callback is a good start.) At the first audition, I sang a four-minute aria (O zittre nicht from Die Zauberflöte); at the end, a member of the Panel said, “Wow, pretty impressive for 11:00 in the morning!” I’d sung for these people before, and had a very Average Audition, so I knew this was unusual. That night I learned that I got a callback, so I went to sing for them again the next day. After my second aria (the Fire aria from L’Enfant et les Sortileges), the other member of the Panel said, “Well that’s it! Next time I do L’Enfant I’m hiring you to be my Fire!” This was extremely out of the ordinary! I left the audition in shock, practically certain I was in.

But it was not to be. Offers were made that weekend, and I didn’t get one.

I’m a pretty realistic person when it comes to auditions. I know the game. But when you sing well and there is conversation, you start to hope. You start to think that you have made an impression, have managed to stand out from the crowd. And the thing is, you have. It’s just that the crowd is large enough that several other coloratura sopranos will make an impression and stand out, too. And they only need one of you.

Last week I was back in New York for a few more auditions. All of them were delightfully Average: no conversation, no compliments. Just a friendly “Thank you!” I think I like it better that way. Now the waiting begins. I’ll keep you posted.
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