Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trips and Travels - More Rumors and My Favorite Travel Destination!

I've been to Spain three times. It's a wonderful, wonderful place. I'd love to go back, although logistics would be hard as I don't think I'd want to take Alex along. See my profile picture over there? ---> That's from one of my trips to Spain - it was taken in Asturias, on the north coast. That's the Atlantic Ocean behind me, to the north. So why do I mention Spain all of a sudden? Well... there are opera houses there... and there are rumors... this one a copy-and-paste of a copy-and-paste...

"Next season, Nathan will sing in Barcelona and Madrid; he said he has always wanted to sing in Spain."

I have just scoured the internet but cannot find any info about next season for Teatro Real in Madrid or El Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. Lucky me I have blog-friends from both places who read I'd Rather Be Sleeping... so I call out to P. of the Opera and Carlos of the Anna-Netrebko blog ... Any info on the 2009-2010 season? Querais acompanarme al teatro el ano que viene? And Parsi, you can meet us there!!! A blogger convention in Madrid! What do you all say?

Rumor Confirmed

We've all heard Anna, Diana, Natalie, Renee, Cecilia, and so on. Well there are tons of other very talented singers out there who aren't household names. Trying to come up with some sort of "opera house" pun here and failing...

Anyway, yesterday's rumor now has facts associated with it. Here is some more info. My sources tell me that Lynette Tapia will be singing the National Anthem at this event. I can't find this on the CSpan web site, however my source has advised that it will be on C-Span at 10:30am Eastern Time.

I'll set my DVR, however, I have no way of moving anything from the DVR to a DVD or computer so I won't be getting it onto YouTube.

*I have not read the articles on the links so I cannot say if I agree with the political nature of the event. On the surface it appears to be a good event about the support of global health and the fight against AIDS, however, if it's all rah-rah republicans than it's not for me. However, I consider singing to be non-partisan, and singing for any President is a great honor. Of course I can't tell you how strongly I wish this were an inauguration event for Obama rather than something honoring a man who I never voted for and who, in my opinion, LOST that election 8 years ago. So I'll record it just to hear the music.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's Presidential

Rumor time.

Rumor has it that Lynette Tapia, the wonderful soprano featured in many of my past few posts, has been chosen to sing at some sort of as-yet-to-be-named Presidential Event this coming week. If I get more details, you know I'll post them. Unless, you know, they're private.

Blog Tracker Strikes Again

Won't say where or when, but here's a recent hit on the tracker:

Referring URL Gunn and his family

Search Engine

Search Words nathan gunn and his family

Visit Entry Page

Visit Exit Page

Wow I'm obnoxious sometimes. Or insane. Both I guess. Hey at least they didn't send me a bizarre message asking for strange personal details. Because... umm... I don't know... and if I did... I'm not telling.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Is it Still Friday?

I was home alone all day today and spent most of the day recording myself singing. What better way to fill yourself with self-disgust and embarrassment than to watch video after video of yourself singing flat, singing sharp, cracking for no reason and doing all sorts of other embarrassing things. Luckily for all of us it's Cat Pic Friday.

Diego, King of All He Surveys

Viola Approaches the Table

Cats read Opera News too, especially when Nathan Gunn is on the cover


Take 2

Remember this? Here's a more recent version. As in, 20 minutes ago...

I laugh at the end when the cat walks past and her tail goes in front of the camera. But since it's also cat-pic Friday, I'm going with it. Plus it gets me out of singing that one tricky part. Yes I hear all the mistakes. Vertical space. Low breath. Bring the sound forward. I'm working on it. Also, I was working hard on standing still because I tend to move when I sing, and when I watched the first few videos that I made before this one, I thought it was distracting. So consider this another Work In Progress, and I do feel that, comparing it to the last one, that I have made a little progress. Like, a smidgen. A smudge. A dot. There's still all this wide open landscape of progress ahead of me... but the only way to get there is one step at a time, and I'm sharing these steps with you because it's more fun than going alone, don't you think?

I've been studying voice now for about 14 months and I can tell you that I never would have imagined I could sing anything like this before I began my lessons.

This is All You're Getting

I listened to the Tapia/Osborn CD again and picked two pieces for YouTube. That's it, it's all you're getting. Go buy it if you want to hear the rest.

Soprano Lynette Tapia and tenor John Osborn sing a duet from Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Tornami a dir che m'ami.

Soprano Lynette Tapia and tenor John Osborn sing the duet, Varrano a te sull'aure, from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.

That Lucia clip is just part of one of the tracks. The entire thing was too long for YouTube. And someone already made a very nice comment, look:
(9 hours ago)
one of the best portions of any opera, this bit can bring up the head one one determined to jump off the Golden gate bridge- good post for the post-thanksgiving blahs blues etc.- Thnx-

Ok, so that's a bit dramatic, but appropriate considering that the clip is from Lucia. So click over to YouTube to rate, comment, favorite, give the thumbs up and enjoy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I'm thankful for beautiful voices that fill me with happiness, melancholy, mirth and so on. You get the idea.

Cuban soprano, Elizabeth Caballero sings Ore dolci e divine in a live production of Puccini's opera La rondine:

Cuban soprano Elizabeth Caballero sings Ch'il bel sogno in a live production of Puccini's opera La rondine:

While I was getting all the links and descriptions for this, Alex came in and demanded that we watch both videos in full-screen mode. And I wish I had my camera rolling on him - he had That Smile, That Look on his face. I asked him if he liked it and he said all dreamily, "Yeah." Almost made me cry. Then he asked me what the opera is about.... Uh... time to do some research.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just a Couple of High Voices

I love getting packages! Who doesn't, right? Today I got one from CD Baby, my order of one of John Osborn's new CDs. Actually it's Johnny and his gorgeous wife, Lynette Tapia, and their gorgeous voices! Oh. My. God. The CD is called La coppia degli acuti (The couple of the high notes). And wow. They can hit them. Click on the link to hear tracks. I'll probably get one or two onto YouTube just cuz I can, and because everyone needs to hear them sing.

Here's a peek at the insert:

And here's Alex, (who recently told me that he no longer wishes to be an opera singer when he grows up) conducting and pretending to sing along.

There a few pieces from Lucia on the CD. When Alex heard the first one he recognized it! I was shocked. Not the particular song but the opera itself. He said, "Oh, this is the one with the ghost, when the ghost talks to her at the fountain." That aria isn't on it (I don't think... I honestly don't remember what everything is called!) but he wasn't referring to it. He was referring to (part of) the story of the opera. He truly amazes me.

So go to CD baby and buy this CD.

I imagine that eventually I'll get their other one. One at a time.

Hey John linked to some of my YouTube videos from his webpage. Heehee. I like that. Thanks John. Now change those colors - my eyes are wigging out!

One more thing before I sign off... I try and try to get the pictures to line up nicely, two to a line, and it looks great in the preview, but when I publish it... all hell breaks loose and they're all over the page. I tried to make it look nice, I swear!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Whiff of a Rumor

I can swear that as I scroll the page down past that scratch-and-sniff picture, a sort of musky-seksy man-smell wafts off my screen.

No wait - the cat just yawned a puff of cat-food breath into the room. Never mind.

Here's a rumor I'd like not to believe. The rumor part is near the end of the post. But read the whole thing if you have the time - it's quite entertaining. And don't forget to read the comments.

Thanks to I.E. in Washington state for bringing that to my attention. I think.

Back to Business

Ok, enough nonsense about scratchy and sniffy. Well, at least until the next absurd event comes along that I can somehow twist into being related to opera.

I had been working and working on Vedrai Carino, and then when I started in with the French songs I stopped. Yesterday I realized it had been a while, so I figured I'd quietly give it a sing. Now, mind you, this was very informal, considering I was at the park with Alex. Luckily we were alone there because we were the only ones silly enough to go to the park in frigid weather. So I didn't sing out, but I just gave it a whirl, and wouldn't you know, all those little bits and baubles that I was having trouble with before, they just came out. There is something to be said for letting the music just simmer on its own in the back of the mind. Then, of course, I started thinking about those same bits and baubles, and of course... there went some of the legato. But how can you tell yourself to NOT think about something? Isn't that the surest way to make it fill your brain to the exclusion of everything else? I tried reminding myself to caress the notes, which sort of helped, but... maybe I need to bury it for a few more weeks.

So maybe I'm getting the feel of when to practice something, when to leave it and when to come back to it. It's all part of that three-dimensional thing I wrote about before. Hmm. Here's a question. Does the addition of time to the mix make it four-dimensional?

(see, I don't think only about the People on the People list. I also think about physics and mathematics.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Do Ya Think? Do Ya Think I Smell?

That Rod Stewart song keeps going through my head. Wow. Don't even click on that. Seriously. It's bad. So bad that it's good, but then you realize that no, it's beyond good and back to bad.

So here are a few of People Magazine's picks for the sexiest men alive. I don't know who most of them are. But wait.... who is that in that one tiny picture there in the top center? *squinting* Can't...quite... tell...

Maybe a closer look...

Oh! What DO you know. I have met, shaken hands with and been squeezered by one of the Sexiest Men Alive. Well, two, if you count Husband, and of course I do.

You'd think they'd have at least used a shirtless picture. Maybe they couldn't find one.

I HAD to edit this post to add this, just to help put this whole thing into context.

Here is one of the many features this magazine boasts about some of its Sexy Man choices:

This is so absurd that I don't even have a witty remark about it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ooh La La

Ok can't stop laughing. *snort* The official People wesbite has only the well-known people pictured, which means I'll probably go out and buy this week's People Magazine. I better find a disguise first because you know I'll run into people who I haven't seen, etc, at the store.

Edited to add:

My new status updates at MySpace and Facebook:

Susan doesn't know if she should be proud or embarrassed to have met one of People Magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive."

But you guys all know I'm secretly proud. Ok it's not that much of a secret, haha. But I'll still write it in this tiny font. I'll upload the relevant pages once I procure the magazine.

Friday, November 21, 2008

*Yawn* I'm Boring. I Mean, I'm Bored.

I have been told by a good friend, someone with whom I never discuss opera because she's not into it, that,

"... incessant chatter about one subject, i.e. opera, can get pretty darn boring."

This telling took place on that Social Networking Site everyone belongs to, the one where you can add comments to everything anyone does. It was a comment on my own status:

"Susan has updated her blog. Boring stuff. Now go read it.

One other friend and regular blog reader commented, "You're NEVER boring," (thanks!) and then this anti-opera friend came along with her "incessant chatter" comment. There are now 13 lucky comments.

Now, those of you who read my blog, all 25 of you, know that I do not chatter about opera incessantly, because, obviously, that'd be boring. Oh and also I'm not qualified. I have pretty much shared all I know about opera, which isn't much. This blog isn't about opera per se, but about me. Gee that sounds familiar. Me going to the opera, me listening to operas, me being an extra in operas, me learning to sing opera. Me me me. So if there's any incessant chatter going on here, it's not about opera - it's about, you guessed it - me. *yawn* Boooorrrriiinnggg.

Then this very same friend went and commented on another status of mine. I think she did it first, before the incessant chatter comment.

Before I leave for my voice lesson I often write that I'm "off to my psychotherapy session, OOPS I mean, my voice lesson." Like, each week, pretty much.

Her comment? "Maybe you could use some psychotherapy & less opera"

What is UP with that? I am seriously stumped. But it's obvious that A. She doesn't read the blog or she'd know what the incessant chatter was about, and B. She's never taken a lesson of the sort that requires to you know yourself in order to do well. And C. She's being sort of mean, no? I mean, does anyone else sense some sort of hostility here?

Not to leave on a What the Heck mood, here are today's cat photos, taken by Husband with his brand-spanking new camera.

Here I am with Viola as she comes for her daily petting.

Here she is with That Look on her face.

Here's Diego with That Other Look on his face.

Here I am in my natural habitat. No, I'm not picking my nose. Wait, am I? How embarrassing.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No Lazy Lips!

Voice lesson today. I didn't feel like I was in as good a voice as I was last week, but we worked on technique and I was able to get that sound. Went over Apres Un Reve again, this time with the accompaniment. Some of that French pronunciation is driving me nutso. Really just the "u" sound in "tu, nu, vu" and so on. You have to say an EEEE sound while forming an OOOO with your mouth. What was it my teacher kept saying... oh yeah, "French is not a lazy-lipped language." I'm practicing, I'll get it.

The more I learn this song, the prettier I think it is. At first I wasn't in love with it, but now I can really throw myself into it. Although there's one part that's so hokey dramatic that it makes me laugh. The translation is something like, "you call my name, I leave the earth to flee with you into the light" and it makes me think of the movie Poltergeist when the little old lady medium chick is like, "Go into the liggghhttt.... DON'T go into the liiiiggghhttt......" Wow just fried my brain looking for those clips. Must stop now.

Oh wait one more thing. I printed out my entries about the spheres from last week and gave them to my teacher at the end of the lesson. I wonder what she'll say. No doubt she'll make fun of me. Actually I'm kind of counting on it.

Oh wait one more more thing. Just bought one of John Osborn's new CDs, this one. Actually I bought two so I could give one to my mother. They had some deal, one was $20 but you could get two for $24 so I figured, why not?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Uh Oh...

I've written before about the chorus thingee at work. We're performing a bunch of holiday themed songs in the two big cafeterias on campus. Last week we had to send our height to the person in charge so that she could set up how we're going to stand to perform. Yeah, I know. Front row. I'm 5 feet and 1/2 inches tall. I'm always in the front row. Anyway, today at rehearsal (our final rehearsal), the Woman In Charge pulled me off to the side and showed me the chart. "I wanted us to stand together," she said, "But I also want us to each be in front of a microphone, so I had to separate us." Okkkaaayyy, I thought, what? Stand together? This was the longest conversation I've ever had with her.

"Oh! Um... why?" I dumbly ask.

So she starts hedging. "Well, the mic pics up everything in front of it, every sound, any wrong notes...(she paused) OK, it's because I've heard you sing, and I want YOUR voice to be the one the mic pics up."

Wow!! I was surprised and flattered. That was seriously my first independent compliment. I mean, yeah, husband, friends and intoxicated people have told me I sound ok, but this was just out of the blue, from a sober person who doesn't know me. Of course I thanked her and all that. But wow.

So why the title of this post? Because... I'll admit it... for some of the songs... I just. don't. know. all. the. words.

We're singing songs in French, Italian, Spanish, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Yiddish and Chinese. And English. Come ON! No one remembers all the words. I mean, we do have the music and can follow along, but the words are so tiny and the verses are squished together on the page and some of the music is so fast that it's just impossible (for me) to sing them all. And they do record the performances and put them on a CD for us. So if I'm directly in front of this microphone that picks up the sound from directly in front of it... La la la blah blah blah won't cut it... I better go learn those lyrics... Oops.

Ok, here are the songs, in no order, linked to whatever video I could find:

Il est nee, le divin enfant

Fum Fum Fum
Gong Xi
Stille Nacht

Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle (if you click just one, choose this.)
Oh Hanukkah Or try this cuz it's just so hokey. But we sing it in Yiddish. Oy.
... and many others. But you get the idea.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rethinking the Sphere

After I published yesterday's entry, something was nagging at me. It was that whole sphere thing. It seemed so right, so... "Aha!" at the time... but I was thinking of it as too small. Plus I was typing "sphere" but seeing more of an egg (a chocolate egg!) in my mind, and it was too compact. These puzzle pieces that all fit together, they leave some open space on purpose, because that's part of the puzzle. So if it is indeed a sphere, it's very large, with lots of free space around the pieces so they can morph and change to whatever shape they need to be in order to complete it. "It" being not just this imaginary sphere of technique, but the sound I want to achieve at that particular moment. These components still have to be manipulated to fit together, but sometimes leaving some empty space between them is key. Next step: How much empty space?

Right. I'll shut up now.

Look! I wish I had found this one last month!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Losing My Legato

It's that layer business. As I incorporate more and more layers of a song I'm learning, in this case, Apres un Reve, something gets shoved aside, and it's usually my legato. Bye-bye legato, hello choppy choppy. 

Sometimes I think layer is the wrong word, because I don't envision each technique on top of another. Instead it's much more three dimensional, holding all this in my head at the same time in balance, and trying to keep it all there without one popping out. It occupies more space than just a stack. Think of a solid sphere (of chocolate, if you like) cut into puzzle piece chunks. They can all fit together, or some can be sticking out or can get squeezed out. And these chunks, you can't just shove one in after another to make the sphere. They have to be held at certain angles at the same time to all fit together or it just won't work. I actually hadn't thought of them as a puzzle sphere before this... I was thinking of a three dimensional space where each element was in its own place, and I had to remember and keep them there. But maybe the sphere puzzle is what I should be thinking of - to fit it all together without pushing any out, because otherwise the pieces won't fit.

Ok so to any readers out there who are singers - does any of this make sense?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cat - Hat. In French, Chat - Chapeau.

Had a little cocktail party today. Started talking in Italian to a friend who speaks it. Well, I spoke enough to tell him that I only speak opera Italian. Somehow we moved on to French opera (in English) and he really and truly thought that Carmen was the only French opera out there. He's a smart guy, but he actually asked, "So is Carmen the only one? Are there any others in French?" I was really casual, like, "Oh yeah, there are tons, like..." and I named a few. He had never heard of them. I guess I keep forgetting that most people just don't know. All my friends at work are opera people, and many of my friends outside of work are opera people and/or singers, so sometimes I forget that the Rest of the World has that stereotypical view of opera. Well, now he knows. Carmen is not the only French opera.

Cat time.

Diego relaxes inside the Boppy.

Viola relaxes on top of the Boppy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coming Along

Voice lesson tonight. Was pretty good. Did some new vocal exercises and will work on them. I think the recorder was running at the time... I'm getting better at keeping the voice in the upper register as the notes get lower, when really I want to jump off that shelf into a heavier sound. It feels like a shelf to me, inside. It feels like it's in my throat, but perhaps it's in my head. Or it's in both. Argh it's hard to explain.

Went over the IPA and pronunciation of Apres un Reve, then the rhythm of the words, and then fit the singing in. Have not even thought about trying it with the pre-recorded accompaniment. There is one bit in the middle where I get muddled. I get unsure of the pronunciation, which in turn throws me off the rhythm. And truthfully, the IPA doesn't help that much because it's like another language I have to learn. So I end up making up my own phonetic spellings of the words that mix me up. But as I said before, I'm learning it all faster than I did when I first started studying voice a year ago, all these layers. Pronunciation, rhythm, notes, legato, vibrato, crescendos and decrescendos, meaning and emotion, open mouth, relaxed everything. Little by little, layer by layer.

Here's a version I found on YouTube, I think it's different from the last one I posted. Different singer, same pitch as what I'm doing. The previous one was higher by a step I think. Truthfully I don't remember. This one does go down kind of low, now that I listen again. Well here it is anyway.

What Are They Looking For?

I have to say that the blog tracker is sometimes very entertaining!

Today someone got here by doing a google search "the nurse made me take all my clothes off."

Other recent searches that brought people here include:

  • baritone leather pants
  • luindriel nathan
  • going to the opera alone
  • misery opera
  • myspace nathan gunn
  • star vicino high listen
  • youtube ,opera tenors and baritone videos
  • tiny rubber chicken
It amuses me that searches on both "baritone leather pants" and "tiny rubber chicken" lead here.

Voice lesson tonight. I feel like I'm in good voice but that might change - it's like a reflex - I walk through the door and my voice gets congested. Maybe I'm allergic. It's possible - I'm Jewish and the lesson is in a Catholic school. OK OK before anyone gets all up in arms and offended, I'm JOKING!! I'm not allergic Catholic school. On the other hand, many of my friends (including Husband!) went to Catholic school and if you asked, they'd probably say that they are now allergic.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How to Treat a Cranky Mood

One of my (non-opera) friends was in a cranky mood today. I know this because we are both members of that social networking site that pretty much everyone we know is on. One feature of the site is that people can write about their moods, or what they're doing, or whatever, and then you can add comments. I think I posted a conversation from one of those comment strings a few months ago, when a college friend mentioned that I used to sing all the time... so anyway I recommended that she watch a certain video on YouTube to help cheer her up. You know. Music can do that. Her comment:

didn't know they could get racy in an opera!
he should sing with his shirt off all the time. :-)

Obviously she has no idea.

If you don't know what video and/or singer we're talking about, too bad.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sucking it in with Diana Damrau

Use the lower abs. Pull those muscles into the spine. It's the only way to get that full sound and of course to hit the high notes. So I've poked around YouTube watching abdomens. Here, take a look:

Ok, I started out looking for abs, but I got caught up in the costumes:

She's downright scary here. I guess that's the point. Singing doesn't start until about 3 minutes in:

You do see some good ab work in this one... if you can get past the celery. Broccoli. Lettuce. Whatever:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Moving it Down and Looking Far Forward

Literally - I am posting to move the Madonna post down and eventually off the page. What was I thinking?

So let's see. Just some gossip for now.

According to Elizabeth Caballero's MySpace page, she's singing in Carmen at the Met next season! I'm so there. SO there. And that's like, an entire year from now. Love planning my future opera purchases. Better start hoarding my pennies now.

Other possible future opera adventures for next year, based loosely, and I do mean loosely, on this page, include Magic Flute at the Met with what's-his-name, and then for the following year, and we're talking 2010-2011, Cosi at the Met with that same dude. Of course that same page does list Lizzy C . on the Carmen cast for next year, so...

I've heard that my friend who teaches that opera class, the one that culminates with a trip to the opera, the trip I "crash," might be doing Barbiere next year. I'm feeling wishy-washy about it now, but we all know I'll go.

So it's rice and beans for me for the next several months. Maybe it's time to bring my earrings back to work to boost my opera fund.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Surprising Myself

I can't believe that I just wrote a post about Madonna. Just had to get that out there. The last video in that list - wow. Ummm... wha?????? Right.

Before and After

A few posts ago I mentioned something about Madonna's voice suddenly changing. Before, she had a nice, yet sort of nasal voice:

Then, a few voice lessons later, but still a Work in Progress:

Starting to sound a bit better here, although she does still sound a bit heavy on some of it:

And then here's something more recent. Wow, what an improvement! Great job, Madonna!

Yeah, that video is kinda weird... I wonder if we'll ever see an opera with that pole thing in it?

Caught Another One!!

Don't know why I find this so silly, but there you go.

Blog tracker today:

Country: United States
State: Illinois
City: Chicago

Referring URL:

Search Engine:

Search Words:
nathan gunn nude love and other demons

Visit Entry Page:

(which I think is funny since that was a post about the last naked google search)

Visit Exit Page:
(see the comments)

It's a (vicious?) cycle - Someone googles it, comes to my blog, I post about it, then the next time someone googles it they come to my most recent post about it.

Obviously I need to find something else to write about.

Keeping the obvious out of the tags this time.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Take it All Off

Had my voice lesson yesterday. It was good. I mean, nothing earth-shattering. We did some exercises to work on the break in my range. I think if it almost like a shelf. I'm singing, singing, down, down and then I hit the shelf and both the sound and the internal feeling change. So I'm working on staying on the upper shelf for the lower notes - it's hard! I think I might have written about this last week too. At one point in the lesson, pretty early on actually, I was feeling all out of sorts and uncomfortable in my own skin. Ok, the truth is, I just wanted to take all my clothes off. Not in any suggestive sense, but just to not have ANYTHING touching me. It was not unlike when I was in labor with Alex. I chose to have an unmedicated delivery. Part of the natural progression of labor is a point called transition, when the cervix (sorry if too graphic) opens the final few centimeters before it's time to push the baby out. Transition is the most difficult part - contractions one on top of the other, no break, painful beyond description. Luckily it only lasts 5-10 minutes. The longest 5-10 minutes of my life. But I digress, as usual. So when I was in transition, I wanted NOTHING touching me. Nothing. I threw off my clothes (trust me, you don't care who sees what at that point) and I made the nurse take off the straps that were holding the heart rate and contraction monitors. So thankfully I wasn't in any physical pain yesterday, but the idea of wanting nothing touching me was very similar. Sadly, I had to remain clothed, so I compromised and took off all my jewelry. Which sounds like I wear alot... I don't... but it all came off.

We also went over Apres un Reve. The accompaniment has absolutely no correlation to the melody. It'll be an interesting exercise. I have to get the melody firmly entrenched so I can sing along with the accompaniment. I see it as a challenge.

So. That post went off in a direction I didn't expect. But there it is.

Cat pic time, it being Friday and all.

Diego in the bathroom sink.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Clarifying the Comparison

Ok. I still have people telling me that you can't compare apples and oranges. They're right, you can't, and it's not what I've done. Perhaps this will help.

Imagine that you are going apple picking. You're in some northern state in the US, maybe Washington or Oregon. It's a crisp sunny day. You're wearing a sweater but don't need a coat. So you get to the farm. At the farm stand you pick up a paper bag. The sign says that your apples will be weighed and you'll pay by the pound. You might pick up a hand-drawn map of where the different varieties are growing, and perhaps the person at the farm stand will tell you where the best picking is. You'll head out to the field. The trees are pretty low - you can reach almost all the fruit. There is a smell of slightly fermented apple from the fallen, rotting apples on the ground. Yellow jackets hover around these fallen apples. You hop over or skirt around muddy ruts in the lanes between the trees. You fill your bag and head back. The person in the farm stand weighs the bag. You add a gallon of fresh cider to your purchases and head home. At home, you decide to do a tasting. You slice three varieties of apple and compare their flavor, texture, aroma and so on. They are crisp, sweet, tart and totally delicious. All in all you had a wonderful day picking apples.

The next week you fly to Florida or California and decide to go orange picking. It's hot. You put on sunscreen and your straw hat. When you get to the farm, you are told that only one variety is available right now, and you'll have to ride on the tractor to get out there. It's a bumpy ride out to the grove. The trees are pretty high - you can barely reach the oranges on the lower branches. The tractor driver has a pole with clippers and a basket or netting on it. He or she helps you get the oranges from high up in the trees. It's hot out there. You can see the heat waves shimmering as you look across the field. When you return to the farm stand, you pay by the piece rather than by weight. You also pick up a gallon of freshly squeezed orange juice. At home, you peel a still-warm orange and enjoy it's juicy sweetness. The juice runs off your chin and up your arms. All in all you had a wonderful day picking oranges.

Got it? It's the experience, not the fruit, that's being compared.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Johnny's Discs

Several (several) posts ago I mentioned that tenor John Osborn was putting out a CD (or two!) with his beautiful-like-she-could-be-a-model and very talented wife, Lynette Tapia. Well said CDs are finally available for public consumption. Consumerism. Purchase. Whatever. You can buy them now.

One is called L'amour Consacree. Click the link and listen to the 30 second sound bytes. Nice, huh? I've never heard her sing before. She sounds to me, at the same time, bubbly yet fluid. Really a sweet sound. Of course it's hard to tell from these tiny blips of song. But some of my favorites are on there, and the bits I heard that I don't know sound wonderful too.

For the other CD, it looks like they put a filler name in while they thought up something else, but then, a la "Hey Jude," decided to go with the filler: La coppia degli acuti (The couple of the high notes). Well I must say, from listening to the 30 second clips, the CD is aptly named. And WOW! I can't wait to hear the entire thing.

Ok everyone, go out and BUY the CDs! Chrismakah is coming! Get your shopping done early! Put some spare change in the pockets of these (starving) artists!

An Apple-Orange Week

Apples. Oranges. I like them both. And I'm going to get a taste of both, so to speak, on consecutive days!

March 11 - La Sonnambula at the Met. Apples! I mean, Juan Diego Florez!!!

March 12- The Firebrand of Florence at Alice Tulley Hall. Oranges! I mean, Nathan Gunn! Row G, Seat 117. I understand that as part of the contract he is not allowed to enter the building wearing a shirt. In fact, I might just put the word naked here in the blog so it comes up on the next few "nathan gunn naked" google searches.

So I didn't get to see them perform together, but this isn't too shabby. Now I can give each my undivided attention.

Hm. I wonder if I can get backstage.

So. Any readers out there in NYC have a couch I can crash on for one or possibly two nights? Anyone else out there going to either of these?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Two things!!!

Obama Obama Obama!!!!!

Second: Nathan Gunn, remember him? I mention him here occasionally. He's singing in some thing in NYC in March, the day after I'm going in to see La Sonnambula. I have conferred with Husband and received the necessary go-ahead to, um, go-ahead and get myself a ticket! I will do so tomorrow. I could buy one online but they don't tell you the seat, and I need to know where the seat is if I'm plunking down $100.

I wonder if I can get frequent train-riding miles?

It's a happy day. Off I go to see Obama's acceptance speech.

Beethoven's Wig

Have I ever mentioned Beethoven's Wig here? I love love love Beethoven's Wig. They take different pieces of classical music and write lyrics for them so you can sing along. The words often pertain to the composer, the piece, the instruments and so on. Now, I've heard some critics say that once you hear the music with these words, it's "ruined" for you, because you can never listen to the symphonic version without hearing the words in your head. I'm not sure that's true, but even if it is, does that necessarily mean it's ruined? Anyway, take a listen!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yes, We Have A Video, Take, Oh, Whatever

I think I use that title whenever I post a video I've slapped together. "Will make YouTube videos in exchange for girl-drinks in martini glasses."

The phrase "Yes we have a video" is from an episode of The Young Ones. Anyone remember that gem? And speaking of young ones, Christian Van Horn turned 30 this week. Happy Birthday CVH! And as your present, a YouTube presence. You'll want this presence instead of presents. Oops lost myself there, sorry. So without further ado, may I present...

Bass-Baritone Christian Van Horn sings Dalle Stanze, Raimondo's second aria from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

If Only

I Was Gonna...

...but then I didn't.

I thought, hey, maybe I'll make another recording of me singing to post here for a laugh. I tried, I did. I sang Vedrai Carino with the accompaniment about 5 times. I know all the words, yet I forgot some of them when the camera was rolling. I can hit all the notes, yet my voice strangled for some of the high ones. Then, of course, Husband and Child came home from their outing during the final, and what I consider, best, attempt. However, you, Dear Reader, will not see any of said videos, and not only because I deleted all but one. No, you won't be seeing the remaining video because if I'm cringing that much while watching (although, I will admit, here and there it sounded nice), no one else will get the chance to cringe, laugh or point all all the mistakes that I know are there, that I hear myself making as I sing them, and that I know I can sing the song without making them.

Maybe after some wine. Husband's outing with Child was to the liquor store, after all. Maybe alcohol will help me sing like no one is listening. Hmm. Probably not a good habit to develop...