Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Another colleague performed this weekend with famous pop-culture folks. (The other, of course, being the beautiful JD.) Tom is what you might call my “virtual colleague,” as we have yet to meet in person! But this business is small, indeed, and our resumes share several names, so I have no doubt that it is only a matter of time.

This weekend’s event was a brilliantly conceived concert of the music of Robert and Clara Schumann, performed by top-tier musicians and joined by Sting and Trudie Styler, who read from Robert and Clara’s letters. Hot, hot, HOT! Really, kudos to the person who thought this up. And the fact that it was a benefit concert is even better. It wasn’t just about ego-stroking. Generous, talented people coming together to create something beautiful both in its presentation and in its purpose. Joshua Bell, Lisa Saffer, Alicia Weilerstein, Jeremy Denk, and Natasha Paremski completed the slate of musicians; Jonathan Pryce narrated. Wow.

Read Steve Smith’s account of the evening. It will not only make you wish that you had been there, but you will hope that it was not a one-time event. It sounds like an extraordinary night.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Thanks, everybody, for your congratulations and good wishes! But before anybody plans a cross-country trip, keep in mind that I’m really only going to be onstage for five minutes! Maybe ten. I would love to have anybody and everybody come to NYC, of course, but I’d also want you to save your pennies for a few seasons from now, when I’m (hopefully) singing something more substantial. Something with a name!

Of course, the opera would only be the excuse for all the other fun we would have on your visit – eating, drinking, talking, shopping, staying up all night at the Duplex… Ok, book that ticket! =]

I’m off this weekend on a different sort of trip. I’m going away by myself to be quiet for a few days. No music, no people, no phone or internet. Just me, a little cabin, the ocean, and quiet. I haven’t had much of that these days, and it’s starting to take its toll. I’m taking a few books and movies, but I’m hoping to spend a lot of time just doing “nothing.” Maybe some writing, maybe some meditating, but only with the purpose of clearing out my head. It is noisy in there…

Wishing you all a peaceful, quiet weekend…

Thursday, March 23, 2006

It’s official

Well, Anonymous, you keep asking, and now I can finally spill the beans! The Met made a firm offer today, and I accepted. I will be there for thirteen weeks next spring, mid-February to mid-May, working on small roles in two operas: Die Aegyptische Helena (Strauss) and Suor Angelica (part of Puccini’s “trilogy” of one act operas, Il Trittico). I am a cover for Elf #2 in the Strauss (Ian says I’m the “second second elf”) and I’ll be singing the role of Novice #1 in the Puccini. It’s definitely a one-liner role, but hey! It will be me, singing all alone, at THE MET!

After two months of wondering if it was just a dream, it feels so good to have something firm and “on paper.” I will be living – and making a living, a good living – in New York City for at least three months next season! Wow.

Some techincal info, for those who care: Generally, the less of a name a character has, the smaller it is; if my character were central to the action of the plot, I’d have a real name. So these are small roles, no matter what my jr. high drama teacher said about small roles vs. small actors. Novice #1 is classified by AGMA as a “Chorus Bit” role, meaning it is limited in size and scope, both musically and artistically, about 24 measures. If there were a chorus in Suor Angelica, it might be sung by a soprano from the chorus. Since there is not, it becomes a “Solo Bit” role, with everything the same except that I am a Soloist, not a Chorister.

Elf #2 is actually a larger role, classified as “Supporting.” I don’t know the opera (I can barely find a synopsis), so I don’t know what part the Elves (there are three) play in the action, but I imagine they could be similar to the three Nymphs in Ariadne. Smaller roles (the Nymphs are “Featured” roles, a step up from Supporting), but similar in function. We’ll see. Probably lots of ensemble singing (yummm), with maybe a solo phrase here and there.

As is to be expected, my castmates for these operas are out of this world: Deborah Voigt, Diana Damrau, and Jill Grove in the Strauss, with Fabio Luisi on the podium; Barbara Frittoli, Heidi Grant Murphy, and Stephanie Blythe in Suor Angelica, conducted by Maestro James Levine. Whoa. Are you kidding me??!!

See you in New York City!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

a bit late, but...

This is a bit late to be of use to anyone, but I wanted to acknowledge an important event taking place at Alice Tully Hall tonight. Jocelyn Dueck, my dear friend and intrepid partner in crime, is performing as part of the ”Gala Celebration of the Fifth Anniversary of Premiere Commission, Inc.”, featuring the music of Philip Glass and his colleagues. She, along with baritone Jesse Blumberg (who will be with me at Santa Fe this summer), will be presenting the world premiere of a song cylce by Lisa Bielawa, entitled The Lay of Love and Death.

I am so proud of her and wish I could be there to throw roses! I’ve been a bit, um, consumed by my own affairs recently, and so I almost missed this chance to send her some love. She might even be onstage as I type this…

Love you, JD! Can’t wait to be on the stage with you.

**UPDATE 3/24: Here's a review!


I have joined the ranks of aspiring singers and actors the world over and signed on with a temp agency. I’m home for three months (one down, two to go), and while I have several gigs lined up here in Seattle, they don’t pay quite well enough to be my sole source of income. So I’ll be putting my “people skills” and computer skills to work on short-term office gigs. Lots of reception work, I imagine, with a day or two here or there filling in for an admin assistant. I tested pretty high on the office tests – typing, filing, Word & Excel, etc. – so the office seemed confident that they could place me easily.

We’ll see. I’m not really excited about the idea of not having these empty days at home to study music, but studying doesn’t pay the bills. My schedule over the next two months is fairly irregular, so it’ll be interesting to see how many days I can actually work an office job. But every little bit helps, I guess.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Good news, bad news

The good news: In 2005, I netted about twice as much income from singing and teaching as I did in 2004.

The bad news: I owe about twice as much as I did in 2004. Funny, that.

I have got to get into the habit of paying quarterly!! I also need to start seeing my fees as about 30% less than they actually are. It’s time to start automatically taking off 20% for taxes and 10-15% for my manager. Sure, the fees are getting bigger, but so are the expenses…

As disappointing as it is to owe money (I think my days of getting a refund are totally over…), I always enjoy the quantifiable nature of taxes. There it is, in black and white, my year by the numbers. What I did – or didn’t – spend money on, all the gigs in a nice list, my charts with trips and per diems and income from teaching… I love it.

Looking back over the past four tax years, since getting out of school, and seeing a steady increase in Box 31 on the Schedule C makes me feel that things are going well. That I’m doing a few things right, as far as the business is concerned. If only all things in life were so easily gauged...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Everybody hurts

Don’t know why, but there was something reassuring about yesterday’s post at Dead Air Space, Radiohead’s blog about the work on their new album (swoon!).

Growing pains know no genre, it seems.

**Edited to add: If you haven't visited CT's blog in a while, there are some great posts up, one of which also deals with growing pains, of a sort. But fear is so much easier to face with a friend nearby...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Still here

Sorry for the silence; it’s been a crazy week. Really, really sick, with only enough energy to lie on the couch with my dog and think about all the music I have to learn this spring. Not look at it, mind you, just think about it. But I’m better now (mostly. better enough.), so no more excuses. Here’s what on the piano for the next few months:

• Songs by Sondheim, Weill, and Randy Newman for a series of Cabaret Nights with Black Box Opera Theater. Youkali, The Saga of Jenny, What More Do I Need, et al – a whole new arsenal for my next visit to the Duplex!!
Der Kaiser von Atlantis, BBOT’s May opera. Not technically on the piano yet, as I don’t have a score, but certainly “on the piano.”
The Opera of Operas, or Tom Thumb the Great, in which I’ll be singing the title role with the Northwest Puppet Center. This is going to be a blast!
Cendrillon - I’ll be singing Noemie, one of the stepsisters, in this luscious Cinderella story at Santa Fe this summer. Which leads to…
• … Carmen and Die Zauberflöte – chorus assignments for SFO. Fun shows, both, especially if I get to wear a flouncy blouse and do some gypsy dancing!
Rosenkavalier , Werther , and Abduction – this spring’s “roles to learn with no jobs assigned to them.”
• Various and sundry art song books, as I am still trying to put together this recital for sometime in 2007. Stay tuned for more details.

I think that’s it, for now. Next season is already full of potential gigs, most of which involve music I have sung before. Concerts, mostly, at this point, but we’re still working on a few opera gigs. Sorry, still can’t say anything more about the Met! Trust me, I’m dying to shout it from the hills, but until there’s a contract in hand, better to keep a lid on it.

All that said, who can study music when this is outside:

Happy Spring, everybody!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I stopped by Silver Platters while I was out today, spending almost all of my “no questions asked” money for March on cds. I bought two by Sufjan StevensIllinois and Michigan – who was introduced to me by M&E last year, and in whose music I like to get lost. I also picked up Ayre, which I should have done months ago. Dawn is absolutely incredible on this project. Her beautiful voice is still there, but she is not afraid to put it aside for a moment and sing in a raw, ugly, painful, no-holds-barred manner. Inspiring.

My fourth purchase was Boperation, the second album (of four, currently) by Mr. Ray Vega, who I had the great pleasure of meeting on the La Pasion tour. That man can blow! I looked forward to his solos every night, listening on the monitor in my dressing room. He is also a fun, big-hearted, and all around lovely man, someone I would often seek out when I needed to laugh. I hope to see him perform live sometime soon, but until then, this (awesome) cd will have to do.

Ray was just one of many incredible musicians that was involved with La Pasion. The more I got to know people, the more amazed I was. These were my colleagues! What is it they say about the company you keep? Well, I was in good company…

• Vocalist Luciana Souza, three-time Grammy nominee and Brazilian jazz “royalty,” was an incredible colleague: generous with her knowledge, time, and private car; open to my questions about life and the business; and an impeccably stylish dresser. More thoughts to come on what I learned from her. Her Brazilian Duos cd is next on my list…

Dan Brantigan, trumpet, is a man of few words, so most of what I know about his extra-Pasion pursuits are from my own digging. A jazz quartet, a duo with a DJ, composition, animation, and I’m sure the list goes on. I think he’s still in Europe, maybe recording with the quartet? Doing something cool, for sure.

Michael Ward-Bergeman, accordian, seems to have several homes on the internet, an indication of his wide-reaching talents. Involved in several of Osvaldo’s “circuses,” including Ayre, he seems to know no boundaries as a musician. He has a great laugh, too.

Lennie Peterson’s talents reach well beyond the music world. He plays trombone in La Pasion and in several bands, ensembles, and projects around the country (world?). But I was most intrigued to learn that he wrote (drew? drote?) an internationally syndicated comic strip, “The Big Picture,” for years, retiring it in 2004. He’s still a bit of a celebrity in comic circles (and he’s good friends with Hilary Price!), but has now moved on to focus on his fine art and music. “You’re the man, Lennie.”

The three above-mentioned men are also quite handy with art supplies and motion sickness bags when stuck on trans-Atlantic flights:

See?! Surrounded by talent. I have to say I miss them all a bit. But we’ll be together again soon, I hope.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Picture Pages 3

 All I could find to eat before the concert in Porto. I was, as I am often, starving, so I had to make do! The Casa de Musica had an artist's cafeteria that boasted some of the best coffee I've ever had. The cheesecake wasn't bad either... but I'm not picky.

 Beautiful buildings on the riverfront in Porto.

 The Dom Luis Bridge over the Duoro River. SH & CT wisely walked across earlier in the day, while I was in rehearsal. I would not have enjoyed that...

  The remains of my 30th birthday dinner in Porto. Don't worry - those are chocolate cigarettes... =]

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Picture Pages 2

 Note: Just because you have an adapter doesn't mean you won't fry your appliances... This was seriously a very close call!

 SH and CT the DT happened to be on our flight from London to Porto! It was fun (and a little weird) to have them around the tour craziness. (PS: what's up with me being the tan one in this picture?)

 The buses that were too small for our large group. We made the trip with bags on laps and still had to send a few folks and bags off in a taxi. More on this in an upcoming post: what I learned about when it's ok to be a diva...

  Some of the beautiful Schola Cantorum and me in my fabulous jacket!

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Picture Pages

As promised, some photo-journal entries. Enjoy!

 One of several airport jam sessions, this one in Atlanta on our way to New York City.

 Manhattan as seen from Delta Flight 338.

 I can't begin to describe how special it was for me to have her in the audience that night. I am so blessed to have her as a friend and mentor.

  This is quite possibly one of my favorite pictures of all time. Talk about capturing a moment! I took lots of pictures with members of the chorus, so many that I felt a bit of a celebrity!

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I should have known

I'm totally sick. I'll spare you the details, but needless to say I'm not much fun right now. So much for a fancy birthday dinner tonight...


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Working backwards

After a full 24 hours of travel (woke up in Porto at 7:30am, fell into bed in Seattle at 8:30am Porto-time)yesterday (my unofficial 30th birthday), I am home. I have so many things to write about, pictures to post, etc., so I thought I’d work backwards. We’ll see how far I can get before I switch back to “current events!”

On Monday, my extra day in Porto, I shared an early birthday meal with CT & SH. They gave me a delicious bottle of 30-year Calem port, which we paired with hearty breads (one rather sawdusty, one so hearty it had chorizo in it), mild cheeses, salted cashews, and lots of chocolate. We had planned on just snacking, but ended up making it our main meal of the day. Or was the fresh green salad, vegetable pasta, boiled potatoes and grilled sea bass that we had at a restaurant on the river our main meal? Regardless, we never made it to the fancy place CT had in mind for my birthday dinner, the one with post-dinner cigars right there on the menu, ready to be enjoyed with your port. We’ll save that for our next trip.

I was able to get a little shopping in, too, just enough to say that I bought some souvenirs in Porto! A port sampler for Erik, some hand painted tiles for a few ladies, and a lovely embroidered shawl for me. My favorite souvenir from the trip, however, was a gift from some members of the chorus. I complimented on of them on the track jacket he was wearing, a brightly colored jacket that looked like it could have been worn by a Venezuelan Olympian, complete with “Venezuela” in big block letters on the back. Another choir member had a great scarf, again with the bright blue, yellow, and red of the Venezuelan flag. I think at some point, I said that I would love to have a scarf like that, and a few days later, another member came to me and said that he had a jacket for me! (Let that be a lesson to me: some people are so generous that they will take your passing comment as an opportunity to give you a gift! One must be careful not to take advantage of this…) I’ll post a picture of me in the jacket when I get home; it’s one of my favorite pictures from the trip, with me surrounded by members of the choir, me in the jacket and them dressed for the concert.

I will also post pictures (and a video, if I can figure out how to use uTube, or whatever that thing is) of the incredible jam sessions that started up at the airport if we were all in line too long. Guitars come out of their cases, every surface becomes a percussion instrument, and everyone sings. Talk about the way to handle a stressful situation! They all returned to Venezuela early Monday morning, after a fabulous closing-night party Sunday night. I imagine many of them didn’t sleep at all, but danced the night away and kept going until they slept on the plane. What joy. I can’t wait to see them again!

Ok, pictures on the way…


A birthday spent in flight is not to be disregarded lightly. In flight, in transit, in transition. “Up in the air.” All good ways to describe my life right now…

The past two weeks have been intense, full. Full of musical and artistic discoveries, both on stage and off. Full of insights into “the business” and how I want to conduct myself in it. Full of personal challenges and joys that reminded me of what an incredible journey this life can be. When I was a church-goer, this would have been described as a “mountain top” experience, a temporary reprieve from reality and immersion in joy. But you can’t live on the mountain top. It is hard to tear yourself away and return to life in the valley, but it has to happen eventually.

I think I’ve talked a bit here in vague terms about the difficulties of transitioning back into home life after times away. I’ll keep it vague, since this is a blog about my career and not my personal life, but I would appreciate any good thoughts you’d care to send my way as I enter a period of Transition that will likely affect all areas – personal and professional – of my life.

More on this and other adventures to come…
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