Wednesday, November 30, 2005

this is why we do it...

... to find something bigger.

Thanks for the reminder, rb.

Sometimes it pays to ask the question

I heard this week, through the proverbial grapevine, that Seattle Opera was thinking about doing Falstaff for their YAP opera next year, if they can find enough men. This is news, in that I had heard (from people in the YAP administration) that they were planning on Rossini’s Cenerentola, an opera with a small role for my voice type but not the kind of role that would make it worth my while to join a year-long YAP simply for the chance to sing it. I think Cenerentola is still the fallback plan, and time will tell, but I thought I should try and get my foot in the door for Falstaff. I’m still not sure that I want to be in a year-long YAP, but I won’t have the choice unless I audition.

The trouble is: I didn’t even apply to Seattle! (YAPs generally have an application process which includes a CD screening, an application form, and a fee.) And their auditions are this week here in New York. But, I decided to take a chance. I emailed one of the staff members that I knew would be involved in the auditions and asked if I could “crash” the audition, show up basically unannounced and sing if they could fit me in. He knew that I hadn’t applied, but forwarded my email to the auditions scheduler. Next thing I know, I have an audition at 1:00 today! I’ll fill out the application when I get there, pay my fee, and sing a little ditty (any guesses?).

This wouldn’t happen with just any company. I’ve auditioned for the Seattle YAP twice before (both times making the final round) and have done some coaching with staff members. They know me and have watched my progress over the years, so I’m not just a random lyric soprano walking in off the street. Still, I’m proud of myself for taking advantage of that familiarity in order to get myself in front of them once again. I’ve been kicking myself recently for not making more of my connections, especially ones from this summer at Santa Fe, but this is a start. I’m also waiting to hear about one more audition next week that will be a direct result of “working a connection,” if I get it. This is the part of the business, the marketing and selling, that I’m still getting comfortable with.

But today is a start!

PS We got our internet worked out here at the aparment: we're piggy-backing on someone's unencrypted wireless signal! Woohoo!

Monday, November 28, 2005


I’ve settled into my sublet, which is absolutely beautiful. Two nice big rooms and an eat-in kitchen. The only drawback is that I can’t figure out the dial-up internet. (Honestly, dial-up!) Erik is going to try and find me the dial-up account info for our ISP at home. Hopefully I’ll have internet at the apartment by tonight. In the meantime, the library is three blocks away and has free wifi, so I’ll be heading there after breakfast. I’m sharing the apartment for the week with Melissa, a friend from Seattle (and fellow blogger!), so I won’t be lonely. Of course, part of Audition Season is getting together with friends and colleagues from around the country, all of whom have made the trip to NYC for the same reason you have, so it’s hard to be truly lonely! There’s always someone to meet for coffee…

In fact, last night started things off with a gathering of former Tanglewooders and friends. It was a classic scene, with practically every new introduction resulting in cries of, “Oh, you know my friend So-and-so!” or, better still, two friends at the table get up to greet the newest arrival, neither realizing that the other knows him, too. The instant comraderie that can be established at these gatherings is really fun to watch.

I’m fighting the strangest cold, if I can even call it that. For the past four or five days my head has been “fuzzy” on and off throughout the day. After a nap or a good night’s sleep, it goes away, only to come back around midday. Usually, if I’m going to get sick, it happens pretty soon after the fuzzy head starts, but nothing has really progressed. That is encouraging, but it’s also a bit nerve-wracking. Is it going to develop into something worse, and, if so, when? Please not Thursday, that’s all I ask…

I’m going to get dressed now and head over to the library. Then a walk through Fort Tryon Park, I think, and maybe a visit to the Cloisters, both of which are right outside my apartment. It is sunny and not too cold, the perfect weather for a walk.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving! It is my favorite holiday, and today has been a good one. It started with our suitcase being delivered at 8am, all in one piece and everything accounted for. Then, since the cold rain the weatherman had predicted didn’t look like it was going to make an appearance this morning, Mark, Sylvia, and “Uncle Erik” headed into Manhattan to watch the parade. I’m not a fan of crowds – or parades, truth be told – so Elizabeth and I stayed home with baby James and started the dinner preparations.

I tell you, tag-teaming is the way to prepare a big meal. It started last night, when E made two pie crusts and a pumpkin pie and then I made chocolate-pecan. Then this morning, I made squash casserole, she, the chicken; I made the cranberry chutney, she, the roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes; and we both worked on the mashed potatoes. Add Mark’s pitcher of Cosmopolitans to the preparations, a bottle of spicy white wine with dinner, and we had an incredible afternoon of food and family. Lots to be thankful for, most definitely.

Now it’s football on the tv, poker in the dining room, and more pie as dinner settles and we make more room. I hope you’ve had a wonderful day, too! I hope you are surrounded with love and food and happiness, today and everyday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Another plane entry

(Written around 3pm EST, Nov. 22)

I’m flying on Delta’s budget airline, Song, which has some nice amenities (comfy chairs, good mp3 selection along with the DirectTV – current listening: Franz Ferdinand and Bright Eyes), but I thought the flight attendants’ shtick when we were boarding was going to do me in. There’s only so much cheerfulness I can take at 7:30am! For the first time in a while, I have a travel companion: Erik is with me today and we’re on the way to Brooklyn for Thanksgiving with the Birds. We’ll have four nice days with them; then Erik returns home and I move up to Inwood, where I’m subletting an apartment for my audition trip. More on that later.

For now, it’s really nice not to have singing on my mind, at least not at the very forefront of my mind. I’m looking forward to a few days of true downtime; my only concern is that I’ll let down so much that I get sick! I plan on keeping up my intense flu season / audition season regimen of vitamins, melatonin for good sleep, and lots of water. I’m also going to try and sing a little bit every day, even if it’s just warm-ups in the shower. My voice is tired (a direct correlation to my body being tired), so I need to let it rest, but I don’t want to go too long without using it (for singing). My speaking voice tends to get a little low if I’m not singing regularly, which makes it harder to get back up in to my resonance, blah blah blah… So a bit of exercise everyday is necessary to stay in prime audition form.

I was only home for four days, which wasn’t nearly enough. Time enough for a bit of catching up with friends, an invigorating fall workday with my housemates, Sunday dinner with Erik’s folks (and a dress fitting!! Again, more later.), and a few hours of teaching on Monday. Then I packed the suitcase that I had unpacked only days ago, and headed back to the airport. Sigh. I don’t know how the big stars do it, being away from home the majority of the time, only home for quick visits. Maybe you get used to it. Maybe I’ll get to the point where I have one set of clothes and toiletries that I use exclusively for travel so all I have to do is wash them and put them back in the suitcase, ready to go again. Somehow that’s not appealing…

Anyway! Sorry for the doom and gloom, I’m just tired.

But here’s some good news! I found out that the La Pasion tour concludes with a stop in Portugal! Two days after the London concert, we have a concert at the Casa de Musica in Porto, and concert hall designed by Rem Koolhaas, the same architect that designed the new downtown Seattle Library. Now, if I can only find my way over to Barcelona to see the Bilbao** for my birthday, which is (unofficially) two days after the Porto concert, I’ll have a full architecture tour on the docket as well!

We’re getting ready to land, I think, so I’ll sign off until I can get on the wifi at M&E’s and post this. I have more on my mind to write about, so I’ll see if I can make some time in the next few days. In between holding the baby and reading to Sylvia and shopping and eating and watching football and…

UPDATE: 10:16pm
Our bag didn’t make it. Not sure how, as we were early and it was a direct flight. I’m too tired to care, really, but it would be nice to have my pajamas… grrr…

The Dilletante Traveler (who else?) has corrected my confusion regarding architecturally unique art museums in Spain. The Guggenheim Bilbao is actually in Bilbao. Duh. I wonder what I was thinking of...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Well that was quick

I am constantly amazed at how quickly auditions are over. I spend so much time before hand – thinking about rep, printing up bios and resumes, getting dressed, warming up (ideally), getting “in the zone” – only to have it all over and done with in about ten minutes. It feels like even more of a let down when one has traveled several hours and walked around in high heels for hours simply for said audition. Even when it goes well, it’s still over in a snap. Sigh.

And it did go well, all things being equal. I had very little time to take in the room before I started singing (and by room I mean the hall; auditions were on the stage of the Academy of Music), so I was delighted to discover, as the (excellent) pianist started with the twinkling opening bars of Nannetta’s aria, that it was beautiful. Enchantingly so, which made it fun to sing about fairies and flowers and sparkling silver and gold. They asked for Glitter and Be Gay next; I suspected they might, because when I rattled of my list they exchanged a look when I said that one. I thought they were just laughing at the fact that I also mentioned that I would sing one verse, and that with the cut it’s a nice four minutes! It’s true, you know. Anyway, Glitter it was, and glitter it did, until that damned e-flat at the end. The sustained one. It wasn’t sustained for very long, and I think it was pretty tight (not much vibrato, if any). And with that, I felt my satisfaction level with the audition plummet. I know that it’s only one note, but it’s a big one and it’s nearly the last one they heard. Who knows if my floaty legato or sparkling coloratura stayed in their minds after that. Hopefully it did, and all I can do at this point is hope. I sang the audition, and now my job is done.

The travel went smoothly enough; I even slept a bit on the plane, which hardly ever happens. Took a cab to the hotel to find that there was no way I was going to get into my room. So I left my suitcase in storage in the lobby and toted myself and my laptop to Starbucks (which is beginning to feel like a home away from home). That killed an hour and left me with about one and a half. Back to the hotel, where they let me into the Fitness Center to change for my audition. It was quite a nice facility, a well-appointed locker room with good lighting and fresh fruits and veggies for the snacking. But it wasn’t my own room, and so I didn’t feel comfortable doing even low warm-ups. I just did some humming and lip-buzzing. I got the opera house with a full half-hour before my audition, but I wasn’t take to my warm-up room until 15 minutes before my time. So, needless to say, I really didn’t get a good warm-up. I don’t want to make excuses, but I think that e-flat might have been a little better if I’d just found a way to warm-up fully. A lesson learned, at any rate.

Maybe I got spoiled in Atlanta, but I’ve found most of the hotel staff (and all of the guests) to be a bit stand-offish. This is a very nice hotel, but more to the point, it is a private club. Hanging out in “The Lounges” after my audition (room still not ready, grrr), I was extremely uncomfortable. I overheard conversations about owning racehorses and 4000 shares of something; lots of talk about money and strategies and a whole part of life that I know nothing about. The Union League was founded as a “patriotic society” to support Lincoln during the Civil War, and I don’t think it’s been redecorated since. Very old guard, bordering on stuffy. I’m all about classic elegance, but I’m also into comfort and true relaxation. Everyone calls me “Ms. Bird,” which I’m starting to get used to, but here it has a real sense of deference to it, rather than common etiquette. Now that I’m writing that, I’m wondering what the difference is. I can’t define it, but it’s palpable. There is a sense of power here, of the divide between the Have’s and Have-not’s, and I’m not sure I like being automatically lumped in with the Have’s. This is the last time I will stay at a private hotel.

I tend to keep this blog on the topic of singing as much as possible, but sometimes my career gets me thinking about other things in a way that makes it hard to separate them. Opera is a “Have” art, is it not? It is a “private club,” if you will. A lot of the people involved in the classical arts, whether as patrons or artists, are most comfortable in that world, in that club. Gonzalo and I talked about this idea this past week, as he and I both need to get out of The Club from time to time and go be a part of the rabble. We both love “popular” musics – jazz, salsa, folk, even true pop – in a way that has occasionally brought us grief from our colleagues. But, I’d wager that his cello-playing benefits in some mysterious way from his nights in salsa clubs around the world, and I hope that my opera voice benefits from love of Ella Fitzgerald and Modest Mouse and Christina Aguilera. Hey, doesn’t Jane Eaglen warm-up to a mix-tape that includes songs by Meatloaf? (Yes, she does! Scroll down to the Oct. 24th entry for a perfect example of someone who is a Member of The Club but loves and lives in the world outside.)

Wow, deep thoughts. Time for bed now, and a long day of traveling tomorrow. But traveling home is always easier!

A side trip

(Written Tuesday evening in Atlanta)

In all the Ainadamar and recording and UGA business, I haven’t had a chance to write about this week’s other big event: my first audition for an A-level opera house! Tomorrow afternoon I sing for the Opera Company of Philadelphia, which is very exciting, but I’m a little anxious about the circumstances.

You see, I’m not in Philadelphia! I fly there early tomorrow morning and have a 1:30 audition, the latest time slot they could give me. I’ve talked to the front desk at my hotel to see if I’ll be able to check in early, and I’m hopeful that they can swing something. My flight arrives at 9:45am, and I imagine I’ll be at the hotel by 11. Plenty of time to steam and drink tons of water (to recover from the airplane air), change my clothes, warm-up, and cross the street to the Academy of Music. If I can get into my room…

After a week of singing straight-tone and on the staff, I needed to make sure my “other voice” was working and ready for this audition. So this morning I spent an hour with Peter Marshall, head coach at Georgia State University and staff pianist for the ASO, going over all my rep. We met at 9:30, and things were working pretty well at that ungodly hour (for singing), so I feel confident that I’ll be able to recover from tomorrow’s travel and give a good audition. I’ll start with Nannetta, of course, and offer Adele, Cunegonde, Despina, Tytania, and Sophie (Werther).

I’m not traveling in my audition dress, but I am dressing a bit nicer than I usually do. I usually wear comfortable dress pants or jeans with layers on top – usually a tank top, a cardigan, and a scarf – and flats that I can easily slip off. But just in case there is a snag tomorrow, I’m dressing in something I’d feel comfortable giving my audition in: black slacks, a really nice colorful button-up shirt, and heels. I’ll even have on makeup, which I hardly ever do before 10am! I’m carrying on my audition folder (always do that) in case my luggage gets lost, and I’ll have all the phone numbers I need in case I need to call someone at the Opera. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best!

Sweet dreams, all, and see you in Philly!

Monday, November 14, 2005

ASO Part Three

[I reread this the other night, after posting, and realized that there are a lot of style/grammar/format changes that I would like to make. It was obvious to me that I had pieced the post together over several busy days and put it all together backstage with less than my full attention. Rather than change it, though, I'm going to leave it as is, as a reminder of how hard it can be to focus in these situations! Enjoy the bad writing...]

It’s been a wonderful few days of music and family, food and laughs. Busy though, and therefore, little time to post! I made it back to Atlanta with plenty of time to spare before Friday night’s concert. Afterwards, a few of us went to Fuego, an outstanding Spanish tapas restaurant just a few blocks from the hotel. We’ve been going there regularly since our first night here, and by now the waitresses recognize us! The food is good enough to warrant going back nearly every night, and even with another tapas restaurant two blocks down the road, we still keep going to Fuego.

On Friday and Saturday, there was a live band playing: a trio comprised of a Russian flamenco/Brazilian-style guitarist named Sasha, and two percussionists, a Puerto Rican called “Bam-Bam” and a 21-year-old Brazilian hotshot (the adorable Rafael). Bam-Bam is an old friend of Gonzalo, the head percussionist for Ainadamar and all around fabulous musician. It was so fun to watch him get up and jam with the band (only when officially invited, though); even though he’d never worked with them before, the music told them every thing they needed to know in order to work together seamlessly. So cool. Most of the music was more Brazilian than South American (Gonzo is from Venezuela), he was right there. I was even able to persuade him to dance with me a bit. (We had done a bit of salsa dancing in Santa Fe, and I wasn’t about to let him get away from this visit without cutting another rug!)

The performances were also interesting on Friday and Saturday. This is the first opera that I have performed many times and in many different productions. I have performed it now it four productions: the premiere at Tanglewood in 2003, with a student orchestra and Bob Spano; one concert performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2004 (on my birthday!) with Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducting; the revised version at Santa Fe Opera, again with Miguel; and now, here with the Atlanta Symphony and Bob again at the helm. I am getting to see how a piece changes subtly (revisions notwithstanding) with each new orchestra, conductor, or cast. It’s still the same opera, but each production has a slightly different flavor. Hard to describe, but interesting to observe. I’ll be curious to watch the same affect with other operas that I perform frequently.

My vantage point in this production (far upstage, behind the percussion station, on a raised platform) allowed me to really study the orchestra and all the cool things going on. For example, there were snippets of melody (they’d be called “licks” in pop music; not sure if the same term applies for classical…) that I had heard several times before; they were the ones I usually left rehearsals humming. Being able to watch the orchestra, I could see that each of those melodies was passed around the sections, and it wasn’t simply repeated – it was inverted, fragmented, twisted and turned around, creating snakes of sound and rhythm. And such amazing things in the percussion section: a small gong bowed to create bone-chilling shrieks, the same gong half-submerged in a large bowl of water and gently struck with a marimba mallet, intricate “palmas,” or hand-clapping, passages, and the most beautiful marimba duet.

Many people have said that they feel this piece works better as a concert work, a dramatic oratorio, if you will, than it does as a staged opera. I think I agree, if only because the orchestra is so fascinating to watch. This form also allows for a larger chorus, fleshing out the sound of the wailing women in a way that is very powerful. I guess that’s possible in a staged version, too, but in concert, up on risers, the chorus is a bit removed from the action, allowing for a better focus on the heart of the story: Margarita and Lorca.

As I write this, I’m backstage at the evening recording session. And it’s almost time for me to get onstage, so I’ll write about the recording process later. Maybe tomorrow, but maybe not…

Friday, November 11, 2005

In Athens

(I wrote this last night, but couldn't post until I got back to my Starbucks internet connection. I'll write tomorrow about today's class and tonight's concert.)

I’m writing this sitting on the bed in “my room” at my grandparents’ house; it’s my room because I lived here for my last year at UGA. Being here, in this room, is just one of many bizarre experiences that I’ve had today! Being back here after five years away is so strange. I lived in Athens for four years, longer than I lived anywhere else (next to the five years we spent in Utah when I was in jr. high and high school). So there are lots of ghosts hiding here! Much has changed, but, more suprisingly, much is the same. I could find my way around (driving my cousin’s car) easily as if I’d left last week, and my favorite brunch place is still open! Unfortunately, they only serve brunch on the weekends, so I’ll have to miss out. My favorite coffee shop is closed, but the Athens landmark, The Grill, is still there, right across the street. Oh, and DePalma’s is still there! A favorite spot for a solo lunch (spinach fettucine with alfredo sauce) and dates with my future husband. So many memories here…

I spent a few hours with some UGA voice students this afternoon. They were all members of the Opera Ensemble, a group I think I actually helped form. (I know for sure that I was the “founding president,” whatever that means!) Now it’s a regular class, one that they register for, whereas in the beginning I think it was a club. They’re working on a small scenes program, and after about an hour of questions and answers and talking about life after college, I got to do a little coaching. Whenever I’m faced with that situation – coaching or teaching or directing – I’m always afraid that I’ll have nothing to say. I did my first “masterclass” with high school students about two years ago, and I was terrified! But as soon as they start to perform, I recognize what I have to offer that they need. Some need technical suggestions, others stagecraft tips, and I seem to know how to present a new idea in a way that is easily assimilated. There are a few quick fixes, but also fuel for future discoveries and new thoughts to take away and digest.

Today I heard two young singers perform the Papageno/Pamina duet from Die Zauberflöte. They told me that it was still in the early stages of staging and so they were still working on memorization. No problem. I was happy to work with them at that level, as I knew they’d be open for new ideas. I listened through the whole thing once, mentally making a list of areas and ideas that I wanted to come back to. The first thing was directly connected to memorization: I could tell that one of them was unclear as to the exact meaning of the German text. She admitted that she was still “memorizing the German,” and I told her that unless she knew the meaning of each word, all she was doing was memorizing sounds. And sounds don’t convey a story, words do. It’s tedious to sit down with a dictionary and translate something word for word, but unless you have a libretto tool like Nico’s books, it has to be done. She promised to spend some time in the library!

It was also fun to work with the two of them to create a relationship between their characters. The first time through, they were two students singing a duet with some cute choreography. Nice, but not telling a story. So we spent some time talking about the characters and how they would interact with each other. One of my favorite things about this duet is that is all about love and finding your true love, but it is sung by two characters who are not in love with each other. Two friends, in love with other people, dreaming of the day that they get to be “Mann und Weib!” It’s imperative to find a way to indicate to the audience that P&P are not lovers, and the easiest way is by demonstrating their class difference, for lack of a better term. Pamina is a princess, Papageno is a blue-collar man. How do they interact? How do they stand? What do they think of each other? If there is physical contact, i.e., standing arm in arm or holding hands, how do you show that it’s playful and not seriously romantic? Fun questions, and I think the two singers enjoyed thinking about the answers.

One stagecraft issue that we discussed is eye contact. I believe that a true connection, on- or offstage, is impossible without real eye contact. But eye contact on stage can feel very unnatural! So you often see a bunch of shifty-eyed performers on stage together, with no real connections anywhere to be found. Once I encouraged the two to really look at each other, their relationship became honest and inviting. All the students noticed, and hopefully took note! It was really wonderful to watch.

Any anxiety I felt about “teaching” in front of my teachers was nowhere to be found. I can honestly say that just as I feel a call to perform, and therefore am very comfortable in that role, so do I feel a call to teach. I feel very happy after this experience, knowing that when the day comes that I stop performing for a living (hopefully a long time from now), I will find a rewarding second career as a teacher. Or maybe even as a director on some level. Who knows?

Tomorrow, more students and more discoveries. Both theirs and mine.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

ASO part 2

I’m writing this in my room, to be posted online this evening on my twice-daily Starbucks trip. Ah, the joys of a T-Mobile HotSpot, especially when one’s husband is employed by T-Mobile… It is much cheaper to use that than to get the internet at the hotel ($9.95 a DAY; unbelievable…), so I’m becoming a regular.

Today’s rehearsal was one of my favorite kind. I sang about three notes! Most of the attention was focused on the orchestra and the acoustic balance, so I got to work on warding off Alzheimer’s. I figure if brass players can read novels during their endless measures of rest, I can do likewise.

There are a few things in this production that are different, the most notable being that instead of a chorus of 8 women we are a chorus of 20. There are now six women on each vocal line, plus two (myself included) as a sort of counterpoint. The size of the chorus really goes a long way towards capturing the feeling that Osvaldo wants, that of children playing (or women wailing) in the streets of Granada. I also think it works better to have it sung by a “chorus,” rather than by soloists singing together, if that makes any sense. I hesitate to say that, because I know that several of the women in the ASO chorus have trained as soloists, and maybe still perform as such; I don’t know for sure. But there is something to be said for the dynamic that exists between a group is used to working together with a common goal, versus than a “group of individuals.” You get me? Regardless, what they are doing sounds great, and Osvaldo is very pleased.

Let’s see, what else… There are three guitarists this time, two of whom are members of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. The third is a flamenco guitarist, and I’m not sure where he came from. Nice guys, all, and I look forward to getting to know them. RA has joined us from Florida, so now our SFO mini-reunion is complete. We weren’t expecting to have AR (another tenor, not RA!) with us, so it was an unexpected joy to find him here. I’ll be staying in his neighborhood in NYC this December, so we’re planning some get-togethers there, as well. It’s so good to be with friends!

More in a bit. Off to get some Thai food for an early dinner, then hit the grocery store (finally!) to get some goods for my larder. If I can eat at least one meal (preferably two) a day in my hotel, I’ll save LOTS of money. And room service doesn’t count…

Monday, November 07, 2005

A crystal ball of sorts

I just stumbled upon a wonderful site, a glimpse into the future of Met Opera seasons. (I stumbled there through a link at NYC Opera Fanatic.) Next year's highlight for me? Orfeo ed Eurydice starring Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and directed by Mark Morris! Wow.

Does anyone know about this kind of insiders' view for other companies? Very cool.

I'm settled in here in Atlanta. Great hotel room, and my first rehearsal last night was really fun. It was just me and the second "offstage" singer (we're always onstage now, so we need a new name!), a recent graduate of Georgia State. She has a light and flexible voice like mine, and we blended beautifully. When we both sang straight tone on the same pitch, it almost sounded like one voice! She is Indian, so she is familiar with the more "ethinc" sounds that Osvaldo has written into the vocal line, and she incorporates them wonderfully. I don't know how to describe them, but imagine wails and sobs sung and you'll get something close. Osvaldo wasn't at the rehearsal last night, so I can't wait for him to hear her tonight. He is going to be so happy!

I'm having lunch with a cousin today, then I plan to spend the afternoon studying the scores I brought with me. Dinner with the Santa Fe gang tonight, then rehearsal from 7-10. I don't have internet in my room, so I'm currently set up at the Starbucks next door. I just found a list of free wifi spots in town, though, so I'll see if there's one within walking distance.

More soon!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Off to Atlanta

I’m taking a break from packing for my ten-day trip to Atlanta. Well, in truth, I haven’t really started yet. But I’m in that middle area between doing all the things I need to do in order to start packing – laundry, house-cleaning, etc. – and packing. I hate packing… And it’s one of those things that can take as much time as you have for it, like writing a paper in school. If you have two weeks, you can stretch it out to take two weeks. If you’ve put it off and put it off and all of a sudden it’s Saturday and it’s due Monday... you can get it done in two days. So, I’ve learned that I am often better served by not starting the packing process too early. Otherwise I make mental lists and put together coordinating clothes all day long, drawing out the stress. This time I’m going to start packing after dinner. We’ll see if that works out any better…

Tomorrow I fly to Atlanta, where I’ll be met by someone from the Symphony who will take me to the hotel. About an hour after I arrive, we have our first rehearsal! I can’t wait to meet the women who will be singing in the ensemble (members of the ASO chorus). There has been talk of an “official wine” of Ainadamar Week at ASO, and also of “initiation rituals” in order to become an official “Rhumba Girl” and honorary member of the ASO chorus. I think the initiation and the wine are closely connected, but I can’t be sure. Sounds like a fun group!

In between the performances and the recording, we have a two days off. I’m planning to spend both in Athens with my grandparents and other family; we’re going to have an early Thanksgiving on Sunday! Good Southern dishes like squash casserole, candied yams, and Mamma’s amazing stuffing will likely tempt me to put aside my mantle of vegetarianism for the day. Hey, you only live once, and you only get to eat your Mamma’s cooking every few years or so. I can’t wait.

Another part of my trip that I’m really looking forward to is visiting my alma mater, the University of Georgia. I contacted some of my teachers and the head of the voice department to let them know I was coming to town, and I offered to stop by a class or two to visit with current students. Next thing I know, I’m scheduled to do a Q&A with the Opera Ensemble, covering life after undergrad, auditions, resumes & headshots, career paths, etc., and a full-on masterclass with the voice department! I am really excited. I’ve done masterclasses before, on the high school level, and the teacher in me enjoys the setting. I’m a bit nervous to teach in front of my old teachers, though! I’m sure it will be fun, and hopefully a good experience for all involved.

Oh, and I’m doing some singing… There is also a side trip to Philadelphia planned; more on that later. Time now for dinner, and then packing. Unless I can find some other way to put it off.

N.B. to rb: If you do, as I suspect, live near Athens or Atlanta, I would love to try and get together for coffee. Drop me a line…

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Fall in Georgia

I just checked for the forecast for Atlanta. Looks like sunny and mid-70's for the forseeable future! Woohoo!! I'm chilled to the bone up here in rainy Seattle. A few days of sunshine will do me good.

More on the trip soon. It's shaping up to be a great one.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


The Manolo, he has discovered the joy that is Osvaldo Golijov.

Love it.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...