Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Thanks to all who notified me of the Times review of last night's performance. Last night was the first night that I was truly happy with my performance, so I guess the timing was good! I figured out the tuning problems and feel very comfortable now. Last night I was able to just think about making music and telling the story, which is how I like it.

Working with Robert Spano is just about as great as it gets, let me tell you. He was so eager to help and make me comfortable. He trusted that I could do it, that I was capable, so he wanted to figure out what the problem was (with the tuning). So I worked on it with his assistant, Laura Jackson, and he added a few ideas here and there, and then we had it. A partnership, as you can see from the picture in the review. We may not be making eye contact, but we are communicating. Bringing that beautiful piece of music to life.

And here is another picture of another reason I love my job:He told me that I rocked... DUDE!!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Review of La Pasion

I thought I would post a quick link to the review of La Pasion in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


While I have heard the recording of the piece, I really look forward to seeing it in NYC. (twice)

To Do for February 17

- Figure out why I keep going sharp on the melismatica passages of Lua Descolorida… muscle memory is a tricky little thing. Grrr.
- Get my concert dress altered, taking about two inches off of the hem. They want me barefoot for the concerts, and even with shoes it is a little too long. Fortunately, the president of the ASO was able to get me an appointment with her tailor this morning.
- Drink lots of water. Inhale lots of steam. Watch a movie. Rest and enjoy the quiet of my room.
- Sing another concert! This one with my grandparents, aunt, and cousin (and the Mayor of Atlanta) in the audience.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A quick update

The first day of rehearsal is over and done, and it went very well. I had some nerves in the morning – the chorus and most of the orchestra has performed this piece many many times, so I knew they would be listening with discerning (and opinionated!) ears. I passed the test, though! I got a thumbs-up from Mo. Spano at the end of my second piece, “Lua descolorida,” a beautiful and poignant movement for soprano and strings Also called the “Aria of Peter’s Tears,” it expresses the remorse and sadness that Peter feels after being caught denying that he knows Jesus. I find it absolutely heartbreaking…

I also had a member of the chorus tell me that other choristers were saying that watching me sing was a “singing lesson,” since my breathing technique is fairly apparent! I’m not sure if it’s that I’m thin or that I really breathe differently, but I’m always getting comments like that. It used to make me really self-conscious, but I’ve decided to go with it. I can’t change how I breathe or how I’m built!

There were two films crews at this afternoon’s rehearsal, filming for different TV segments about Osvaldo. Not sure who or when or what, but if I’m going to be on TV, I’ll let you know! They were, of course, mostly focused on Osvaldo, but at the end of rehearsal I had to do a sound check, and they happened to be nearby. I sang the last phrase of “Lua,” which is very high and floaty, and both cameras were about two feet from my face! There was a big boom mike at my waist, and both Bob and Osvaldo were nearby, too, watching and listening intently. I can only imagine what those cameras captured as my mouth was wide open for that high C!

I’m off to a dinner with Atlanta Symphony associates this evening. Then lots of sleep tonight, if I can force myself to turn off the Olympics…

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Thanks to the blogosphere, I think it’s been well-established that singers’ lives are not, generally speaking, the glamorous affairs we once imagined them to be. But in case you need a refresher, here’s an outline of my tour schedule. My glamorous, high-profile, “let’s go see the world!” international debut tour:

Feb. 14 – travel to Atlanta
Feb. 15 – rehearse, morning and afternoon
Feb. 16 am – dress rehearsal
Feb. 16 pm – first performance
Feb. 17 – second performance
Feb. 18 – third performance
Feb. 19 – travel to NYC
Feb. 20 am – rehearse
Feb. 20 pm – fourth performance
Feb. 21 – fifth performance
Feb. 22 – travel to London
Feb. 23 – rehearse, morning and afternoon
Feb. 24 – sixth performance
Feb. 25 am – travel to Porto
Feb. 25 pm – rehearse
Feb. 26 am – rehearse
Feb. 26 pm – seventh and final performance
Feb. 27 – Day Off to explore Porto with The Dilettante Traveler and SH! (or sleep)
Feb. 28 – travel to Seattle (and my un-birthday!)

How about that?! Glamorous, huh?

It’s actually pretty amazing, when you think about it. Imagine the logistics of getting a chorus, orchestra and soloists through all of that. Visas, ground transportation, customs, hotels, everything. This will be my first time getting a per diem as part of my contract, so I won’t be spending my fee. Very nice. If I pinch my pennies enough, I could even come home with a little extra!

Unless I actually find the time to do some shopping…

American Idol for Opera Singers

I was getting my haircut this past week and overheard a snippet of conversation from a chair across the room. The stylist was saying that her parents were in town this weekend, and that among their scheduled activities was going to see “this concert-thing, kind of like American Idol for opera singers.” I perked up, of course, and at first had no clue as to what monstrosity she might be referring to. But when she mentioned the University’s Meany Hall, I knew that it wasn’t a farce; it was the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Northwest Regional Finals. I got a chuckle imagining the mostly blue-haired audience members “texting their vote” to determine the winner!

For a better description of the Met Council Auditions, read what Kim Pensinger Witman had to say over at the Wolf Trap Opera blog. Her point about the winner not always being the person who gave the most compelling performance is important to note. Judges are often looking for characteristics of a winner that the public doesn’t always recognize. That is why so many competitions have an Audience Favorite award.

I’m not feeling overly literate right now, so I hope you get my point. I’ve seen the whole spectrum of competition results, including being involved in some wins and losses that I didn’t agree with. But that’s the business. Subjective, fickle, full of chance and opinion. Sometimes the subjectivity is in your favor, and sometimes it’s not. Make the most of it when it is!

I know several singers competing today at Meany Hall, and I wish them well!

In other news, I’m a cello, with high likelihood of being a trombone or an oboe. No hint of a viola. No surprise there.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A project

For the past few months, I have been putting together a project in my head in the hopes that I can get it out of my head and into the world. The time may be at hand.

The project has many branches. In vaguest terms, it is a recital project. This includes, obviously, a performed recital. That’s the part that looks like it’s coming to pass, most likely in January 2007. It’s fairly easy to put on a recital – rehearse some music, find a venue, print up some programs, do some advertising – and can be done on a budget. The great thing about this one is that I won’t be putting it on myself! I will be part of a concert series, which means all of my expenses (travel, lodging, even my pianist) will be covered, the facility will advertise and handle ticket sales, and I’ll even get paid. How cool is that! I have put on several recitals over the years, and the music preparation always seemed to take a back seat to the “other stuff” required to produce a good show. It will be a luxury to be able to just focus on the music.

What music, you ask? That’s another branch of the project. I knew that I wanted the centerpiece of the recital to be a new work, written especially for me. To that end, for several months I have been talking with Judd Greenstein, a fellow 2004 Tanglewood Music Center alum, about a new work for soprano and piano. We wandered through many ideas for texts, topics, and general themes for the recital program, and have finally settled on our jumping off point: songs with spiritual texts, especially from spiritual traditions that are not mainstream. Other pieces under consideration have texts by Irish monks of the 12th Century, a 16th C. female Krishna devotee, poems of Hafiz, and settings of Vedic hymns. Judd is drawn, for this project, to the Zohar, the principal text of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. I think it has potential to be a really exciting and unusual recital program.

A side branch of this project is the process of commissioning a new piece of music. I’ve never done it before, and it is exciting to be cursorily involved in the creation process; usually I just present my interpretation of something that’s already been created. But talking about poetry and voice ranges doesn’t pay the composer’s bills! To that end, I’m looking for funds. I have a few ideas; since Judd and I are both Tanglewood alums, I’m hoping to find some connections there. There are all kinds of grants out there for this sort of thing, but grants can be daunting! Judd pointed me to Meet the Composer, an organization dedicated to helping new music come to be. This page has been incredibly informative.

If any of you have commissioned works, please drop me a line and share your experience. If any of you feel like sponsoring this commission, please be in touch! (Just kidding. Well, only sort of.)

The final branch of the project will, ideally, be to record this program and market the CD. That will require a whole different set of funds, but with a recording engineer in the family, it will be manageable. We’ll market it at concerts, maybe even sell receipts for advance copies (once we know for sure that the CD is going to happen); my website will also have links to places to buy, maybe cdbaby.com or even Amazon, if we can swing a UPC symbol.

Writing this all out has made me realize that this whole project, not just writing a grant proposal, is a bit daunting. But I believe in it, and I think people will enjoy it. And, hey, it will keep me out of trouble.


What's filling up my days this week? Studying music (back and forth between Rosenkavalier and Fille du Regiment), getting ready for my whirlwind trip, and drooling over the pictures of Fashion Week at New York Metro.com. Carolina Herrera may have a rival for my affections: Roland Mouret. Minimalist, clean, elegant. Yummy. His Fall 06 line shows on Friday.

And then, of course, we have Zac (his line shows on Friday), Diane, Monique, Jill... and so many others. Someday, I'll be there. Maybe not in the front row, but there. Hopefully with cash!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A wager

From this month’s Opera America e-Newsletter:

Super Bowl hysteria has reached beyond the stadium and into the opera house as the general directors of Seattle Opera and Pittsburgh Opera, Speight Jenkins and Mark Weinstein, have made a wager on the outcome of the game between the teams of their respective cities. He who loses the wager will wear the winning team's jersey to his company's next board meeting - and have his picture taken in the jersey with the board standing behind him. Both opera companies have connections to their favorite teams as their singers have performed the National Anthem at home games in recent seasons.

Now that’s what I’m talking about!!

GO HAWKS!!!!!!

Update 2/6: Well, that was depressing.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...