Monday, December 31, 2007

Devotion Evolves

In the last couple of months, I’ve had several meetings, usually over tasty dinners, with people who have been my advisors on The Bhakti Project. This fall was a bit of an incubating period, I think, as we all - performers, organizers, composers - thought about what was created this year and how we wanted to move forward. And so we are moving. And shaking and scheming and planning and hoping...

Funny, but just a few months ago, I was really discouraged, even using the word “failure” to talk about The Bhakti Project. All I could see were the goals I hadn’t met, the things that hadn’t worked out just as I planned. Here’s what didn’t work:

1. We didn’t raise $18,000 or complete the three phases (commission, recital, recording).
2. My idea of blog-generated “micro-financing” didn’t really get off the ground.
3. I still owe my composer 80% of his fee.
4. The attendance at the initial recital was terribly disappointing.

Then last month I had to file my end-of-year report for Fractured Atlas. This, together with the above conversations and the clarity that comes with time and distance, made me realize that there were many, many things that did work:

1. We raised $4000, most of it in six weeks, and successfully completed Phase 2 (the recital) under budget.
2. Not including proceeds from recital tickets, 20 people made donations - including six whom I have never met, some of whom have never heard me sing in person.
3. The recital program itself was a success, even the risky elements like a silent meditation and reciting texts and singing Leonard Cohen.
4. We got a fantastic review that will be great material for future press releases and donor materials.

It’s easy to forget that projects evolve, that things change. This doesn’t mean that the first idea failed. It just changed. I bit off WAY more than I could chew when I started this project, naively hopeful that “everything would just work out!” Heh. And things are working out in their time, and along the way I’ve learned a lot and made some wonderful contacts that will aid in the future of the project.

So what’s next? Well, I think JD and I agree that the recital we presented last May, “I have some light: Songs of Spirit,” was unique to that time and that our original idea of presenting that program repeatedly doesn’t feel right. It feels proper that the first Bhakti Project recital was so personal, such an intimate expression of our spiritual relationship with music, but I think we both feel that we said what needed to be said. Now we can use the structure of The Bhakti Project to present new programs.

Hillula is still on the table, of course, and in our last meeting with Judd he mentioned a work that was a major influence as we was writing. The idea came to pair the two pieces on a program, and then those two works together made us think of another cycle (one that was briefly considered for “Songs of Spirit”)… And all of a sudden we had a new program! Three works, each about twenty minutes long. No titles yet, but I will say that it will be a challenging program, both for us as performers and for the audience. We hope to take our audience on an exhausting emotional and spiritual journey. The program feels very “grown-up,” very professional, and we think it would make a killer CD...

We’re also talking about the bigger picture, or “life past Hillula.” We would love to be able to present one recital program a year, maybe touring it, and we plan to include one premiere on each program. Rather than focusing exclusively on new music, we’re hoping to find new works that will stand side-by-side with works that have become “standard” recital repertoire. It’s easy to present new stuff all the time; it’s a bit more of a challenge to show an audience that new music can fit seamlessly with works they already know and love.

That is the new mission of The Bhakti Project. If that interests you, it’s never too early to make a donation for the 2008 program.

(Hmmm… one “new” composer each year. Should it also be one new dress designer each year? I think it should.)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Blogroll Update, Winter ‘07-’08

Blogroll Update, Winter ‘07-’08

Full list here, as always, with these latest additions on the sidebar to the left.

Aurgasm - Your favorite music you’ve never heard, streaming weekly.

The Budget Fashionista - Looking great without breaking the bank

Daniel Felsenfeld - composer, music writer, fellow NEC alum

Dial M for Musicology - They say they even welcome air-guitarists, so I dig these guys.

Feast of Music - excellent NYC concert reviews

Good Vibrato - the Wordless Music folks combining art and music

Jonathan Biss, pianist - irregular but thoughtful postings about making music.

Operavision - Aprile Millo joins the blogosphere, and we are the better for it.

Strange Maps - My dad taught me to read a map when I was a kid, and I’ve loved them ever since. I’ve even started collected maps from places I travel to sing.

And a blog I’ve been following for over a year but was very surprised to not see on my Blogroll! Sorry Mr. Dickie… Chicago Opera Theater

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Learned and Learning

To wrap up the year, here is a list of things I that learned in 2007 and things I am still learning:

* Boundaries are very important, both personal and professional. I’m learning how to say no, not just maybe. This applies to gigs, dates, projects, even auditions. I need to take time and think about how each “yes” will affect the big picture of what I want my path to look like, both my career path and my life path. I’m thinking about starting up with talk therapy again to help me with this new phase of my career and my life.

* Heartbreaks are inevitable. Good girlfriends are priceless.

* I’m enjoying learning how to be environmentally responsible. Living in NYC, my carbon footprint is already lower than average, but I’ve started timing my showers (4-6 minutes most days), carrying stylish Envirosax in all my purses instead of using store plastic bags for purchases, taking non-stop flights - or the train! - whenever possible, unplugging my electronics. It feels good.

* Writing an item on my “To Do” list over and over does not get it accomplished any faster. I’m determined not to carry-over any “to do’s” into 2008, so this next week should be a productive one (she says hopefully)! I still owe many of you your Fractured Atlas receipts for your generous Bhakti Project donations; rest assured you will have them well before tax-time, and likely before you get your tax documents from your employers!

*As much as I love to perform, nothing beats seeing a show. Indie rock, Broadway, opera, symphony, recital… I saw some wonderful performances this year and hope to see more next year.

*Hard work pays off, but usually with more hard work to come. A satisfying cycle.

Here is a list of favorite posts from the year. Many of them seem to involve discoveries, too, so I’ve listed the post and what I feel it says I learned. It was a year of growth and learning, like any good year should be.

Beware explosive consonants - What I learned is right there in the title.
The Song of the Lark - We read to see our lives through others’ eyes.
Blocking - Some things I learned long ago are still with me.
Kitchen Sink - I blog to see my life through the lens of the Moment.
A Day In the Life - I love my job and my life in NYC.
Home, On the Road - I can also live well on the road.
Doing vs. Being - Just Be It.
Dear Friend, Leaving So Soon - Some people never leave you.
Lifelines - See above about girlfriends.
My Sweet Manhattan Hometown - Nothing beats a live performance!
The Evolution of the Headshot - Change is good.
Shimmering, Sparkling - It’s ok to be bold and daring!
a Dream - It is possible to be a bit too focused...
Finale - All good things come to an end.

2007 was the year of my Met Debut: Part 1: Leading Up, Part 2: Performance, and Part 3: After Party

And that of a small recital project that ate my life. Here is the Bhakti Project Year in Review. What did I learn through this experience? Hopefully that will be evident next year as the project continues, but mostly I learned, as with all of these things, that I have a lot to learn.

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blog Break, Study Break

For no reason I can figure, I’m still suffering writer’s block. Things are fine, life is good; I’m just not writing! I’m very busy studying (and loving it), so that might be part of it, but until inspiration strikes, I’m going to go on a short hiatus over the holidays.

I’m trying to figure out how I want to try to sum up this year (like I did in 05 and 06), so hopefully there will be at least one more post before the New Year. But until then, you can picture me in my little hobbit hole of an apartment, studying my score and utilizing two great tools I haven’t yet discussed: GarageBand for recording my lessons and coachings directly into my Mac and having digital access to the recording; it’s an incredible study tool! And Opera Practice Perfect cds for repetition and repetition and repetition.

I wish all of you the Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years!! 2007 was a pretty great year, I have to say, but I’m still looking forward to turning the calendar. Who knows what wonders await us all in 2008?!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Music! Words! Opera!

Ok, here’s the “other post” mentioned below; I figured I should just write it while the juices were flowing! I’ve already explained how I deal with the text while learning a role, so here’s a bit of the musical side of things. (Title of the post borrowed from the Opera America program for opera education in schools...)

With this opera (Le nozze di Figaro; maybe I’ve mentioned that?), I am already very familiar with a lot of the general “tunes.” This has come about through years of hearing bits of the opera, specifically the past two months of working on it at the Met. While I was getting my hair and makeup done every night, I would turn the stage monitor up and follow along in my score or in my text/translation print-out. Not singing, just listening, and not even listening in great detail. I was listening for style, for general phrasing and shaping, for orchestration and harmony. (Of course, some nights I just gabbed with C & K, my hair and makeup guys!)

I know people talk a lot about learning by listening and how it's a bad idea, but this isn’t what they mean. I am not learning the role of Susanna by singing along with a recording and mimicking what I hear. I’m a better musician than that. I am not, however, a good enough musician to play all of the score or all of the other parts along with myself as I practice, so for understanding the larger framework of the piece, I listen. Sue me.

Most of my time, though, is spent at the piano. For musical numbers (as opposed to recits), I generally start by reading (singing) through the piece once. This shows me what I already know and which spots need attention. Then I sit down and work it out. For this type of studying, the working-it-out part, I often sing my line a full octave down. Why? Singing unfamiliar music in a high tessitura (where the notes sit in the voice) can be really taxing. Higher notes generally require more support and it’s harder to concentrate on support when you don’t know exactly what notes you’re supposed to be singing. I hark back to my “2nd Alto Section Leader” days and just let those low notes out!

After I feel confident that I know the “tune,” I take it back up to it’s proper octave and sing through it again, doing my best to sing with full voice and full support. To accompany myself, I usually play as much of the bass line as possible; this is the foundation of the harmony, after all, so it provides me with the most important harmonic information.

All of the above applies to the non-recit stuff. The style of recitative is so different, mostly because the element of counting is essentially removed. I just sing in the rhythm and tempo of my (Susanna’s) speech, and, as you know, every night it can be different. In order to get to that point (the point at which I can really play with the words) I do spend some time going over syllables pedantically and really concentrating on the verbs, gradually speeding up until the words just flow. Every new line of recit that feels fully comfortable in my mouth and voice feels like a little victory!

Once I know the notes, I start working with coaches, putting on the polish: fine-tuning diction, shaping specific phrases, and interacting with another person in recits and ensembles. Most coaches can sing every part in an opera once they’ve studied it (in whatever octave they prefer, generally low!), so the recits start to feel like conversations and ensembles start to feel ensemble. Then the sessions I mentioned scheduling with DN, my so-called “run sessions,” will focus less on detail work and more on just repeating the music several times over, working it into the muscles of my instrument: body, voice, and mind.

This weekend I’m going to set memorization goals, although I have a feeling things will become memorized as I repeat them. Best to have a date set to double check that, though! Add to all of this those “pick-up” sessions with a full cast, and I’ll have it made! Come January 28, I’ll be ready to play.

A pickup opera

Tonight I took a study break and headed to the Upper West Side to hear some friends in a concert of Bach Advent cantatas, and boy, am I glad!

I loved walking through the cold night, reciting lines of recit in my head (and sometimes out loud). I loved seeing people, young and old, on their way to holiday parties, dressed to the nines. I loved walking past the Met and knowing that I would be home again before I was even officially on-call for tonight’s performance of War & Peace! (My character doesn’t come on until about 10:45...) And, of course, I loved hearing Bach, my first musical love, I think. I sang several Bach cantatas in grad school, and those performances are still among my favorites. I think If I had another musical life to live, I would play the Baroque trumpet. Man, do they get some great music! I heard some fantastic singing as well, and ran into several friends-of-friends. But what happened at the reception is the real reason I’m glad I went.

I saw “my Figaro,” MB, at intermission, and we talked a bit with DN (with whom I often coach) and our mutual friends; it came up at this point that we would be singing together in February. At the reception, I mentioned to DN that I would be calling him to set up weekly “Susanna run sessions*” for the next few weeks, and he said, “Oh, MB should come, too; we’ll set up a cast and work through the whole opera. Wouldn’t that be fun?” Um, YES!

He said he’d send out an email tonight and try to round folks up; we think the Count and Countess from our cast will also be in NYC in January. DN will work his connections to try to fill the rest of the parts, and voila! We’ll have a cast! If it works according to plan, we’ll meet a few times, maybe once per act, and just run it. I was already planning to rope some friends into coming to coachings with me to work on recits and duets, and this is just the next best thing. I’m very excited!

It’s 10:45, so I’m officially “off the clock” for the night. Time for a glass of wine and some more studying... Wild and crazy Saturday nights!

*I don’t know if that’s an official term, but to my mind a run session - or run-through session, maybe - is different than a coaching in that we don’t stop and work. I just sing things through a few times to help “get them into my voice.” More on this in another post. (I’m always saying that, aren’t I?!)

Friday, December 14, 2007

A good sign

This morning I woke up with lines of Susanna's Act I recits running through my head...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Goes to show

You can just never tell. I sang an audition last week on a day when I felt terrible, not physically sick, but totally down in the dumps. The uncertainty of this season - auditions and the implied rejection that comes with them, making decisions about the direction of my career - coupled with nasty weather, a mouse in my apartment, not getting to leave town for the holidays, etc., has made for a rough couple of weeks.

On this day, I felt like I probably sang ok, but didn’t walk out of the audition room feeling like I’d nailed it, or even like I’d “done my best.” It was an off day. I’m generally pleased with my auditions, but this day I was in. a. funk. My manager even said that she could tell, not in the way I sang or performed in the audition, but she could sense that my energy was just “off.”

And yet: today she told me I got an offer from that company! A good one, too. A standard rep kind of role, and not in English, even! I’m excited and encouraged, and more than a little surprised. Sometimes you are just not aware of what you’re putting out there, you know? I am learning that I am well-trained enough - vocally, mentally, and in general performance aspects - that even on an off day, I know how to do my job well. My job is to sing, to tell a story, and I can do it, even when conditions are less than ideal. A good lesson to learn...

2008 is filling up very nicely, and there are more inquiries on the table moving into 2009. Hopefully this period of uncertainty is coming to an end. (Rest assured, though, there will be others!) I’ve been spending good times with good friends, trying to get the most out of the other season that’s currently taking over NYC: Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Focusing the Body

During an early staging rehearsal for Figaro, after I finished up a scene I sat back down next to a member of the cover cast. A singer I’ve admired for a while, she said, “So... how long did you dance?”

It seems my dancing days are still evident, not just when I’m dancing, but in the general way I “act” on stage. I’m not talking about having a good carriage or being graceful; she could see my “inner dancer” in the way I flitted about on stage, in the way I was always moving. In this case, not necessarily the best thing.

She went on to talk of her own experience (she also had a dance background), including the time a director encouraged her to rein in her physicality, to explore a physical stillness that would allow her voice to do more of the work telling the story. With opera, we can trust the composer (if s/he’s a good one) to help us express character, including silliness or flightiness; we don’t necessarily need to do it all with the body. For example, it was amazing to watch and listen as Susan Graham worked her way through the Iphigenie rehearsals. Talk about acting with the voice! She is a wonderful actor, period, but the emotions that come through her voice as she stands there and sings can blow your mind. She’s not “showing” us how she feels; she’s feeling it, and her voice is expressing it. She simply lets her voice deliver the emotions that Gluck captured in his music. It’s inspiring.

Granted, Barbarina is a flighty girl, probably a bit high-strung. Think of the line from Act I, when the Count describes finding Cherubino in Barbarina’s house: he describes her as being paurosa fuor dell'uso, “flustered more than usual.” So it was interesting to think about economy of movement, especially thinking ahead to performing Susanna. Barbarina’s aria was a good exercise is doing less, in letting the anxiety of the music tell the story: minor key, undulating triple meter, those repeated c's in the orchestra. It's all right there. Of course, in the recit after the aria, she is quick to try to hide her anxiety, back to her flighty ways while talking with Figaro and Marcellina.

In another early rehearsal, I noted how well Terfel handled the physical interactions that were blocked. I was kneeling down on the floor, looking for the pin, and when he came to lift me up by the arm, he barely touched me. His voice and the rest of his body acted as if he were taking out his frustrations on me (“What do you know about these things?!”), but his hand was practically limp. A grimace on my face and a movement of my arm as if trying to get out of a grip, and voila! Stage violence.

As I described in an earlier post, he changed up this blocking one night, but all he did was touch the back of my neck. It was up to me to (quickly!) figure out what he was doing (lifting me up by the scruff of my neck) and react accordingly. It was fun to struggle against his non-existent grip, to make it look like I was a kid getting dragged off to the principal’s office.

There were all kinds of interactions like this in Figaro: the Count pulling Cherubino by his ear, various “romantic” entanglements, Susanna’s slaps of Figaro, and the physical face-off between the Count and Figaro in Act III. Simon also did a huge pratfall every night, taking a swinging kick at Bryn and going flying. Fantastic physical comedy, focused and carefully planned.

This post may seem to contradict a lot of what I wrote in the previous post, but I’m pretty sure it’s all of a piece. I’m not saying I need to be more still on stage by being more cerebral, less physical; I just need to focus the energy. Trust the music. Be present in my body, tell the story with my voice - which is part of my body - and not with my head. As always, it’s a balance.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

FriPod: Accidently to After

1. Accidently Kelly Street, Frente, Marvin the Album
2. Acrobat, U2, Achtung Baby
3. Across the Universe, Rufus Wainwright, Poses
4. Action / Adventure, Andrew Bird, Weather Systems
5. Ada, The National, Boxer
6. Adé, David Byrne, The Catherine Wheel
7. Adventures in Solitude, The New Pornographers, Challengers
8. Advice for the Young at Heart, Tears for Fears, The Seeds of Love
9. After it All, Cat Power, The Greatest
10. After the Bombs, The Decemberists, The Crane Wife

Out of Your Head

I’ve been planning a post for weeks, maybe months, about the importance of getting out of your head and into your body as a singer, and, well, here it is. (Ed. Note: It’s true; I started this post in July...)

The idea first came to me while watching “the big stars” in rehearsals at the Met this past year. Singers who have extensive backgrounds in physical arts - like Diana Damrau (dance) and Rolando Villazon (clowning), for example, two folks I got to see in action – are such a joy to watch onstage! They are not only more comfortable with crazy stage actions like lying down to sing or running or dancing, but they are also able to use their full instrument (it’s more than just the voice!) to engage the listener and to tell the story. Their minds were were completely present on stage, or, at least, so it seemed from the outside. Which, ultimately, is what you want.

It’s as if they’re not actively “thinking.” Singing for them is a physical act, not a cerebral one. Of course, of course: the mind is involved, and the hours of “armchair work” studying languages and rhythms and endless drilling of memory are not unimportant. But when it comes time to get a character on her feet? It’s physical. Not to mention the fact that our actual instrument is located in the body, not the mind...

I can add now, in December, Bryn Terfel: I don’t know what his dance/movement/sports background is, other than rugby, but he is a great physical actor, someone who definitely just goes and there and plays. He has obviously put a lot of thought into his performance and practice and character, but the cerebral brain is turned off on-stage. More on physicality and my Figaro experience in another post.

One night this summer, over at RM’s for dinner, LB and I started waltzing in the kitchen (doing our best to get in the way as much as possible). It began just kind of silly (sillily?), but it didn’t take me long to realize that he actually knew how to waltz! So, instead of just playing around, I had to actively turn of the thinking part of my brain and just give over to the physical act of dancing. When I could let go and let him lead, it was smooth sailing. (It’s so nice to dance with a tall man who knows how to dance, right?) But as soon as my head got involved again, we were at odds (but only slightly). I’m not saying you shouldn’t think when you’re on-stage; obviously, you have to. But it is possible to get in your way.

When students ask me what they should do with themselves while they are building their voices, waiting the 5-10 years between finishing school and being ready (maybe) to work, I encourage them to dance. Take any kind of dance class - ballroom, modern, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, whatever. Or take martial arts or fencing. Anything that gets you out of your mental, analytic, judgmental self and into your physical, instinctual, visceral self. Get out of your head and into your body. Your voice will thank you for it.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


My life has been taken over by this beautiful little machine, so sorry - again! - for the quiet days. I’ve got a backlog of posts that I’ll try to get out this coming week. And it’s a serious backlog, too! I have half-finished posts from all the way back to mid-summer... Good stuff, though, and still relevant in the general sense. So I’ll get to it.

Here’s what to expect:

12/9: This week’s FriPod
Doing vs. Being (Oops. This one actually got written and published, but I didn't get it out of my drafts folder. Read it here.)
12/12: Acting with the voice and stage physicality. 12/9: Part One is here: Out of Your Head
Level Up - we’re not kids anymore
Language work
The latest on The Bhakti Project

I know some folks have asked questions in the comments over the past year or so. If you did, and you still remember your question (and care about the answer!), please post it again on this post. I’m going to try to keep a better tab on questions in the future, hopefully answering them all. Eventually.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Jessica gave me props a few days ago for actually doing what I said I was going to do and posting every day last week. I was pretty proud of that, myself, but the posts just came up naturally and easily and I had the time and energy to write. But the downside to such regularity? Some people think they can give you a hard time when you’ve been quiet for two days... I say: get back to work, already!

I hate to mention the reason for my lack of postage when another music blogger is struggling mightily with his new PC. Yes, I got a Mac. And last night I only slept about five hours because of it! So many things to learn! So many music files to transfer and try not to loose in the process! It’s kind of awesome, and all-consuming. (I’m sorry, Steve; I’m really not gloating. I feel your pain...)

This computer was my Sullivan award-funded gift to myself. I did a little clothes shopping, but my heart was really set on getting a smaller laptop that could actually stream media or run iTunes while I write or surf the web and not run slow as molasses. The overheating of was a problem, too; it was just time to upgrade. I got tired of having to skip over all the links my blog buddies posted for awesome YouTube videos or streaming concerts, and I couldn’t have even dreamed of exploring an online library of recordings. But at this moment I am listening to a lovely Herbie Hancock album on iTunes, a gift from JL (thank you!!), and yesterday I watched my first opera video on YouTube: my sweet friend LW singing Cendrillon! Awesome.

Lest you think I frittered away all my prize money, I thought I’d share (in general terms) how I used the bulk of the prize. Most singers at my stage of the game have two things in common, financially-speaking: lots of debt, both low-interest school loans and high-interest consumer debt; and no retirement savings (or savings of any kind, even). I am no exception. Add a move cross-country and a divorce in 2006, and I haven’t been in great financial shape until recently. This year I obtained both the means and the will to change that.

So, with some of the Sullivan money, I made a huge credit card payment. Because of my W2 status at the Met and Wolf Trap this year, I will likely get a large tax refund; that will also go to the credit card (minus a small shopping trip, of course). If things continue on apace, I will be consumer debt free by the end of 2008! Yay!!

After a conversation with another Sullivan awardee, I decided to put the rest of the money into a retirement account. I haven’t figured out whether to go Roth, SEP, 401(k), or what, but I will be making the maximum annual contribution to get things started. I’m 31, and I have no idea when I want to retire - or what retirement even means for a singer - but I need to start planning for the future. Whatever that may be.

I feel very, very lucky to be able to write this post. This fall I’ve been much more disciplined with my savings and spending, but I know that my newly found (more) stable financial footing is due is large part to the good fortune of having some great jobs this season. What will 08-09 hold in this regard? I have absolutely no idea. Right now, there are only two jobs on the calendar, and one of them is still “in pencil.”

So, best to plan ahead.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


It took me until about 4:00 today to figure out why I was in such a funk. Was it the snow? The fact that I still haven’t stopped at Kashkaval for more coffee, making my usual morning ritual impossible? The fact that neither the Indy nor the Denver game would be broadcast in my area this afternoon? The desire for new winter boots? What?!

Then I realized: I had post-show blues. When a show ends, particularly a show you loved working on, it’s not uncommon to get a little depressed. And, as I think you know, I really loved this show. What more could I have asked for, really, for my first Italian Mozart experience? Not much.

Last night was a final show in more ways than one, being Bryn’s final go at the role of Figaro as well as the last show of our run. During the last number of the Finale (Mozart “finales” are usually 7 or 8 numbers long; go figure.) when everyone is essentially singing “hey, let’s all go party!” Simon had arranged with the folks at the Met to bring champagne flutes (filled with champagne, even!) onto the stage, so all the principals could toast Bryn – and each other – as we sang our last chorus together. It was a bit chaotic (I didn’t actually get my champagne until after we’d stopped singing!), and I’m sure the Maestro was going crazy trying to keep our attention, but what a way to end. The curtain dropped, and instead of rushing off-stage right away as normal, we all started hugging and toasting, prompting Jonathan, our stage manager, to hurry out and say “Come on, you still have to do the bows!”

So we reconvened in the tiny corner off-stage left, cheering and toasting some more, everyone trying to get through the crowd to hug Bryn, and making sure we drained our flutes before heading out to bow. (Well, all of us except MM, who carried his back out onstage and sweetly toasted the audience.) It was, as every night, so much fun. Are you guys getting tired of reading those three little words?!

Two colleagues from grad school were in the audience last night, along with the Brooklyn Birds and my former teacher. What has been even more fun than knowing people are in the audience is getting emails after shows from friends who went to the opera not knowing I was going to be singing! Or people who knew, but didn’t tell me before they came. After every show, I’ve gotten such wonderful comments and insights from friends old and new.

I am naturally sad to leave all of that behind. Now I face two months devoid of performing (other than auditions), two months of hard-core studying for February’s gigs. I’m entering a hibernating period at the coldest, darkest time of the year, a fact that has me a bit daunted, I think. But there are new projects in the brainstorming stage, current projects ready for the next phase, and Susanna, who will be a dear companion this winter, so I journey on.
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