Monday, May 29, 2006

Ok, one more picture.

This is Sonny, my parents’ year-old boxer mix pup. (Yes, named after that Sonny.) He is an absolute doll, a 70-lb lap dog who is scared by the wind; whines with longing for the cat, who won’t give him the time of day; and fiercely guards my mother when she’s out in the front yard. Yesterday I spent some time singing through Carmen, and Sonny was very concerned! He sat at my feet and cocked his head (see above), wondering about these strange sounds emanating from my mouth. Was I in pain? Did he need to go for help? After a few minutes, he decided I must be ok, and he started singing along! A lovely, rich baritone to go with my soprano scales and arpeggios. KD never cared to join in my practicing, so it was nice to have some canine accompaniment!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A stopover

Northen Utah




Northern Colorado


Words soon, I promise. For now, I’m enjoying some down time with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law. Pedicures today, shopping tomorrow, home cooking = bliss.

Friday, May 26, 2006

En route, la fortune est la-bas!

Rainy Seattle
Through the Cascades
Eastern Washington
Jerome Creek, ID
The Reason My Thighs Hurt Today
The View (Northern Idaho)
Western Montana (Southern Idaho?)
The Great Salt Lake

Saturday, May 20, 2006


For the past two weeks, I’ve been taking part in the puppet opera at the Northwest Puppet Center. This year’s opera - “The Opera of Operas: The Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great” – is a musical pastiche with tunes by Thomas Arne and Johann Hasse, along with English tunes and drinking songs, all set to a libretto by Henry Fielding. I sing Tom’s tunes, including a trio with the beautiful princess (another soprano) and the giantess (a bass!) who are fighting over little Tommy, but my favorite musical moment is when I get to “sing” a song for Judy, doing my best to match my singing voice to the crackly, raspy voice the puppeteer has given her!

The basis for all musical and dramatic decisions in this production has been “Is it silly?” What a fun change of pace! Opera can be a very serious affair, I’m afraid, on both sides of the stage. So the opportunity to be silly, and to be surrounded by silliness, is one that I embraced gladly. I had no choice, really, because how serious can I be when I’m singing the word “little” repeatedly on a high G? “Little, little, little, little though I be…” all on a high G! I tried so hard when I was learning the music to “really sing it.” And, well, it was hard. At the first rehearsal, I was surprised when the other musicians and the puppeteers started laughing at that point; not at me, but at the music! It is a funny moment, not a serious one, so when I relaxed my seriousness and just let it be silly, it instantly became easy.

Everyone else in the cast has embraced the silly, too, stretching their voices to take on more colors (we’re all singing for several puppets each), to make ugly sounds, or even to belch on command! Hey, this is low-brow baroque puppetry we’re talking about! I get to use my rooster crow and play a horn made from a cow’s horn (kind of creepy to this vegetarian…), and another singer has learned how to play the musical saw! So much fun. Of course, the puppeteers, the Carter Family, are the one encouraging all the silliness! The keep us on our toes – and stifling our laughter! – every show with their clever improvisations and joyful performances.

The singers and musicians sit on the lip of the stage, in front of the puppet stage, so we can see the audience. I have had such a wonderful time watching people’s faces! This is definitely an “adult” show (those naughty puppets…), but it is amazing to watch how quickly grown-ups will shed the pretenses of A Night At The Theatre and fully embrace the atmosphere of silliness. They laugh and groan at the jokes, sing with gusto during the “audience participation,” and generally forget that they are not six years old. When Tom Thumb makes his first appearance, he waves at the audience, and every night, at least one “grown-up” waves back with a huge smile on his or her face.

That’s what I feel and sense around me during every show: Joy. We are making our living by playing! Talk about right livelihood... I got to get up on the scaffolding backstage and manipulate a few puppets the other day, and this time I was the one who couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I hope I can remember this feeling next time I’m in the middle of a “serious” opera; it is still playing, and it should always be joyful.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

And we’re back...

I’ve been thinking about getting things going here again recently, so when Tomness tagged me for a meme and Ariadne left a comment on the same day last week, I took it as a sign. I thought I would use this meme to give you all some idea of what’s been going on with me these days, where I’m headed, what I’ve been working on (and continue to work on) both in my personal life and “in concert.”

• I am rediscovering my spiritual path, making huge strides in my professional life, trying to embrace Life’s joy and pain in equal measure, and separating from my husband.
• I am not at all sure what the future holds – where I’ll be, who I’ll be with, what I’ll be doing. (Besides singing. That’s the one thing that is an Absolute these days.)
• I want to live an honest life, both with myself and with others.
• I wish we (people in general) knew better how to express our pain/anger/sadness and how to respond to people expressing those emotions, how to move through them and help others move through them.
• I hate people who complain about something but don’t do anything to change it. (“Hate” is maybe too strong a word…)
• I love having a job that brings joy to other people.
• I miss seeing my family and close friends everyday.
• I fear that I will return to living an unexamined life. But they say fear is a powerful motivator…
• I hear the incessant pressure washing of my OCD neighbor.
• I wonder what life is like in parts of the world I haven’t seen. Especially places where war is a reality, or where peace and tranquility are encouraged as a way of life.
• I regret not being more open to friendship in the past.
• I dance whenever possible.
• I sing along with indie rock cds in my car.
• I cry when my feelings are hurt, when I am touched by something divine, and every time I hear Brahms’ Violin Concerto No. 3 in d minor.
• I am not always wearing appropriate footwear. Most of the time I am. But not always. And I always regret it…
• I make with my hands complicated needlework designs like this one, a project I have been working on (on and off) for six years.
• I write to help me find my true voice.
• I confuse wants with needs.
• I need to be more disciplined: musically, spiritually, financially…
• I should get more aerobic exercise. (More? Let’s start with some.)
• I start a lot of books, but I finish very few.
• I finish the Wednesday NY Times crossword puzzle and most mid-level sudoku. And every dessert put in front of me.
• I tag Melissa at Les Histoires de Moi and Chiara at Ampersand, although I don’t know if she does memes. But I guess that’s up to her, isnt’ it?! I also tag anyone who feels like working through this thought-provoking exercise.

And there you have it. I'll be keeping the details of my personal life private; this blog is about my music (mostly). Thanks for reading and caring, and thanks for coming back!

I have a couple more entries brewing, glimpses into the musical adventures of the past two months. But the big focus for the next week is getting ready for the summer in Santa Fe. Packing, cramming Carmen choruses into my head, and putting the finishing touches on Noemie. All while doing my best to stay present here at home (and always here in the moment…) and find the best way to move forward. Conscious, aware, active not reactive, manifesting my life. Here’s to the future!
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