Saturday, November 29, 2008

And just like that..

I’m home.

I got back to NYC on Monday, and after more than five months on the road, it felt great to know that I had only a few days of suitcase living left. B and I moved into a new apartment on Wednesday, moving from a hobbit hole in midtown Manhattan to a 4th-floor walk-up in Brooklyn Heights: lots of light, friendly neighbors, and a neighborhood full of incredible restaurants, bars, conveniences, and shops. The cafe on the ground floor of our building has great coffee and lunch AND a friendly shop cat. Not only that, but the daytime staff saw us moving in (we bought our lunch from them), and when we came back after dark, another waiter, who had not been there during the day, made a point to stop us as we were entering the stairwell and say “hello” and welcome to the building. Maybe he was just courting our business, but I smiled for a good two hours after that.

Thursday was spent giving thanks with the Brooklyn Birds, then home to put together some more furniture. B had rehearsal* on Friday so I spent most of the day unpacking and organizing before meeting him for dinner near Lincoln Center. Walking up from the subway into Verdi Square I immediately smiled: I was back! We had tickets for Tristan & Isolde at the Met, and I loved walking in through the stage door again, being greeted with smiles and hugs from security guards and colleagues. We made our way to our seats, and I was thrilled to learn that we had almost the same seats I had for my first Met Wagner experience. Great seats, but I wish I had found something a little more exciting to wear in the mess of my unpacking. I felt very boring sartorially... Nothing like six-months out of the city to get you of your fashion game! I’ve already warned B that a serious shopping excursion is in my future.

To complete our evening, we headed to the Village to find our destination closed and relocated, only to stumble upon a wonderful substitute. B has become quite a “wine guy,” and we have more than once found ourselves in deep converstaion with waitstaff about wine lists. Last night was no exception, and the waitress and host must have enjoyed themselves, too, because we found an extra glass of wine and a dessert sent to our table with compliments.

I was worried that I would be overwhelmed by returning to the city: the hustle and bustle and the noise and the fact that everything takes more effort here. But one after another, encounters with my fellow New Yorkers have reminded me that I belong here, that this is Home... now more than ever.

* More on this in a future post...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Often, when on a gig, we as the “stars” of a show are called upon to entertain at various donor events around town: Opera Guild gatherings or Board dinners or the like. I have always enjoyed these evenings, finding them a delightful change of pace from the day-to-day life of rehearsals in jeans and performances in costumes. A nice dress, a nice dinner (usually accompanied by nice wine), and a chance to meet some of the people who make my work on the stage possible.

These evenings are most often gratis on our part, included in our contract and considered part of our job. “Outreach” to the already initiated, I guess you could say. And as such, it can sometimes feel like a duty, like an obligation.

But not tonight, not for me! I had such a wonderful time. Maybe I was just in the mood for a good party (it’s been a rough few weeks in the parts of my life that this blog doesn’t cover, hence the lack of blogging...), but a few hours of good food and great conversations really hit the spot. I sang for my supper, sure, but I even loved that part. I love singing for a small crowd in an intimate space like this; our venue was a gorgeous home in the Phoenix foothills and our “crowd” was about 80 Guild and Board members. I got to sing Quando men vo’ and the Pamina-Papagena duet and Yum-Yum’s beautiful aria... and then I got to end the set with my favorite party piece: Weill’s “The Saga of Jenny.” Now, to be fair, those of you who know me “IRL” will agree that I can be, well, a bit of a flirt, and this song is just one big flirt with the audience! I love to sing it, and it has always been well received.

It felt good to sing some other rep, and was great to listen to my Ko-Ko, the elegant ND, but the highlight of the evening was truly my lovely meal. The food was outstanding: perfectly cooked halibut with a tomato-olive sauve, and scalloped potatoes with white truffle oil and shitake mushrooms. DIVINE. (B was very disappointed that I couldn’t remember the wine we had! It was Chateau Something Chardonnay, 2005 maybe? That’s something, right?) My hosts and table companions were beyond delightful, with tales of first dates and lasting love, being at La Scala the night an unknown named Maria Callas made her debut as Norma, rescuing birds from the mouths of Siberian huskies, and even some good-natured attempts to fool the Englishman at the table with tales of the Jackelope. It was a true pleasure.

We were told that anyone who sings under a Saguaro cactus becomes an instantly adopted Arizonan. I don’t think I’d mind that one bit; maybe I’ll try to find one tomorrow...

Monday, November 03, 2008


Another little teaser post, I’m afraid, but this one with multimedia! On my first day in Arizona I was interviewed by the company’s PR department for this promotional video, which they had edited and up on their website five days later. It’s a great piece (with fantastic camera work, I think), and I’m relieved to say that I don’t sound like a complete idiot.

Arizona Opera Mikado preview video

I will say that I already disagree with myself, though! I no longer think that Yum-Yum in “conniving” or even that she sets out to “get what she wants.” Nanki-Poo is the one with the plans, mostly, even though it is Yum-Yum who saves his hide at the end of Act I with her silly nonsense-syllable attack on Katisha. She is largely an “in the moment” kind of girl, accepting even the most outrageous or seemingly hubristic moments as natural and understandable. Think of Giselle in Enchanted... (If you haven’t seen it, you must, especially in you live in NYC. It is so charming your head will explode.)

This has been a wonderful rehearsal process, one that has taken me back to my theater roots. We’ve got a full day today, but I will be writing soon about how much fun it has been to “read lines” again and walk around with a script in my hand. Can’t wait to tell you all about it!
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