Wednesday, December 29, 2010

That Mushy Time Between Xmas & New Year's Eve

Oh dear. I believe this may be the longest I've gone without blogging. I apologize to my readers and to myself. And I blame Twitter. And Netflix. So many Dr.Who episodes, so little time!!!

My voice is improving little by little. I listen to my voice lessons and I practice, practice, practice. Mostly in the car, since that's really the only time I'm guaranteed to have to myself. I know it's not the most ideal situation but I have to make do. My next voice lesson is this coming Friday. Next Opera Project recital is… ? The upcoming performance is a composer's concert, featuring music of local composers. Then I think the next one after that will be in March. Hopefully I'll be chosen to sing in it. Oh and remember a few posts back I wrote about the possibility of a small part in an opera? Well, that fell through. Not sure if the part is being sung by someone else or if they removed it from the production. But it was nice to have people thinking of me as a possibility!

In professional performance news, someone I know (who happens to be a reader, you know who you are!) has these amazing photos from the performance of Billy Budd in Bilbao. I'm not sure where she got them from - they look like screen caps from a video. With her permission I'll post them here and/or to the Nathan Gunn Yahoo group. Here's a video from the production.

Speaking of Nathan Gunn, two (more) things.

Thing one: My brother and his family went to the family production of Magic Flute at the Met. They LOVED it. Even my brother, who was prepared not to like it, thought it was good. My sis-in-law said that Nathan was great. I kind of wish I had gone with them, even though I saw his Papageno back in April.

Thing two: Even though I'm not "into" Broadway, I still went and got tickets for this. Ann is coming out to join me and we'll be yukking it up in a hotel in NYC that night. Late night, post-performance Ben & Jerry's straight from the container, here we come! Maybe we'll even have spoons this time. I'll try to remember to pack a spork, just in case.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Songs and the Torches

Whew, finally time and energy to write in the blog!

Once again I'm participating in the holiday chorus at work. We've sung in both cafeterias and next week we'll sing at the conference center. We're singing songs in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Hebrew, Yiddish, Ukrainian and Chinese. The Ukrainian is hard!! It's "Carol of the bells." Look at this video, not only to hear the song, but because the video is quite... entertaining. Luckily we all already know the tune because forget about the words. Most of the time I sort of fudge it. And I know I'm not the only one. Still sounds good though.

I'm trying out all sorts of different pieces with my voice teacher. She gave me a copy of "Ombra mai fu" in a higher key and we're working on that. We're also working on something called "The Green Dog," a very silly one, and a song cycle called, "I Hate Music." Not sure how I feel about that one yet. I think I prefer the older stuff.

In Mars news, Hurricane has been released. It's extremely controversial because it contains many scenes of sex and violence. And as I suspected, our marching scene didn't make it into the short version. Remember I said that we marched up stairs out of a sort of tunnel? I caught a screen shot of what they did end up using:

Just a few more seconds and you would see me. Of course, because of the content of the rest of the video it's not like I'd go around announcing, "Hey! Look at this video! I'm in it! No, not that scene. No, that's not me. Uh, no, not there..." If you do watch the video, let me warn you right now that it's not safe for work, kids, relatives or anyone else whom you wouldn't want to catch you watching it.

In other Mars news, I decided that I wanted to avoid waiting in the freezing cold all afternoon on the day of the concert in order to secure a spot up front, so I went ahead and purchased a "Golden Ticket," which is a VIP pass that includes a poster, a t-shirt, early entry to the venue and OH YEAH! A MEET AND GREET WITH THE BAND. And I will, of course, report that experience in full detail afterwards.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cosi Fan Tutte Adventures!

Cosi fan tutte at the Met was fabulous! Besides singing beautifully, the entire cast had great chemistry together, and great comic timing.

So the adventure begins, as usual, on the train!! I went with my friend Anna, the same person with whom I went to Grapes of Wrath. Totally packed train on a Saturday afternoon. I’m glad we are the 2nd stop on the line - we found seats together, AND they were facing forward. Don't want to ride backwards!! Then every station was crowded with city-bound and airport-bound people. At every stop the conductor announced in his New Jersey accent that there were no more seats up front - move to the back, move to the back... Meanwhile, in our car, directly in front of us were two women with a baby. An older guy was across the aisle from them, obviously intoxicated. In fact, I have no idea how he was still conscious. At first we weren’t sure, but we later realized that he was, indeed, with the women. He was loud and belligerent, threatening to kill anyone who got in their way and so on. I didn’t see, but Anna later told me that he was waving a pocket knife around. She had her eyes on the exits and was ready to pull out outta there if things got crazy. He was so wasted she could've just stuck her foot out and tripped him. Luckily it didn't come to that, and actually I never even saw the knife. And while all this was going on, another guy came down the aisle, hanging out little slips of paper saying he was deaf and asking for money. How did he get on the train? Was he running around the cars, avoiding the conductor so he wouldn’t have to buy a ticket? So he’s there with this smile, begging for money, meanwhile the women and the drunk guy were cursing up a storm and he was threatening to kill people. Yes, just another relaxing outing to NYC.

As usual, we had worn our sneaks and we walked up to Lincoln Center from Penn Station. As usual, we changed to our fancy but painful shoes a block from the restaurant. Dinner was at Rosa Mexicano. All I have to say is, YUM! Actually, I can say more. The food was really, really good. I had beef enchiladas in a mole of hazelnut and pine nuts. It was divine.

For dessert we shared the hazelnut chocolate cupcake.

Across the street at Lincoln Center we took the requisite photos in front of the fountain, next to the poster and of the front of the Met. These are all from my phone and the lighting was low so the quality isn't the best... Anna took some with her camera so when I get copies of those I'll post them.

The fountain:

Anna at the fountain:

Anna at the poster:

Magic Flute banners hanging outside the Met:

Snuck a pic in the lobby:

When we got to our seats I was disappointed to see that the famous chandeliers were already up so Anna didn’t get to see them go. I’ve seen it a bunch of times and I was disappointed. It adds to the excitement - the warning bell rings, the chandeliers go up, the violinist tunes up the orchestra, your stomach does that little excited flip, the lights go down...

The seats were great. Center section of Grand Tier Rear, row E. Rows A-D are like $100 more expensive. We did spot a few empty seats front and center and could have moved, but we were settled in so we stayed put. Here's the view from our seats:

Me in my seat:

Intermission on the outside balcony:

And now let's talk about the performance.

IT WAS DELIGHTFUL! Does everyone know what the opera is about? If not, look here. And I'm happy, and not surprised to report, that Nathan Gunn did not disappoint!

Of course I knew he would deliver, but I didn’t expect him to be so... well, so adorable in this role. I mean, part of me did, but ever since ... how shall I put it... his (or his minions') misunderstanding about my level of fandom (as in, his entourage thinks I’m a crazy fangirl and treats me with suspicion, a fact I have tried but failed to ignore... especially when one over-zealous employee once questioned why I was standing where I was standing during intermission at a performance!!! And then had the nerve to send me a rude “my boss doesn’t know I’m emailing you” email!! I still have it... Uh oh will this tiny italicized writing prompt another? I say, bring it on!) anyway where was I? Right, I must admit that my admiration for his work has waned because of the ridiculous (rude) treatment from his employees ... anyway, that doesn’t mean I’d pass up an opportunity to see him perform, because the intellectual side of me realizes that all that stuff doesn’t take away how fabulously talented he is. And I’m so glad I went!

Here are some more pictures I found online. Usually I say where I found them, but I forgot to keep the links... oops... So... some of the production pics here are from the New York Times, some are from the Met Opera. And one is a pic I lifted off the Met's website using the iPhone screen capture feature.

Danielle de Niese was fabulous as Despina. Hilarious! Her entrance was her pulling the set onto the stage, because as a servant, she does EVERYTHING, including moving the house onto the stage. Of course I tweeted her about it during intermission:
@Danielledeniese Loving Cosi!! You sound great and are an adorable Despina!
And look, the next morning, she replied!
@Luindriel Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it! Cosi was really fun last night- loads of laughs- the audience was in a good mood! :) DD

Isn't Twitter fun?

Isabel Leonard was in it too. I'd seen her before as Stefano in Romeo & Juliet. Fun to see her as a woman this time. She was great.

And also Miah Persson, my favorite Zerlina! It's funny, I think of people based on roles I've watched them in. Then it's fun and even refreshing to see them in something else. She was out-of-this-world amazing. Amazingly amazing.

The train ride home was almost as interesting as the ride there... Half-asleep drunken people on the wrong train talking about fights they've been in and so on. Got home after 2am. And that's it, another successful Opera Adventure featuring the Metropolitan Opera and Nathan Gunn.

Next time: The Hurricane Video and update on voice lessons.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reporting In and Getting Excited!

Reporting in!!

Opera Project Recital was November 13. There are still a few shrieky, straight-out-of-my-mouth moments, but overall I think it's ok. I was feeling a little intimidated because all the other women who sang are absolutely fabulous.

The venue was interesting. It's a winery, hence the wine you can see in the video. And it's a castle, hence the wall hangings and chandeliers. Our "green room" was a conference room upstairs, through a gift shop/museum type area. Singing there was odd because there was pretty much no echo so it was hard to hear yourself.

There was no food there, and I hadn't eaten since lunch, so afterwards a friend and I went out for dinner. (Husband was home with Alex.) Oh also we got our picture taken for some newspaper... just did a quick search and can't find anything online.

Then a few days later I sang in the talent show for work. This was held in a theater at a local college campus. We had a rehearsal earlier that day and they asked me if I wanted a stool and where did I want the microphone?

Me: No stool, and I don't need a mic.
Them: No really, where do you want the mic?
Me: I don't use a mic.
Them: Don't you want to be heard?
Me: I'll be heard.
Another one of them, joking: She doesn't want to be heard.

Then, I sang.

"Oh. You don't need a mic."
"Yeah, I know."

Husband made this video. I really wish he had kept the recorder on. They applauded and applauded and hooted and hollered and I didn't know what to do! I bowed once and said thank you about a hundred times, and they were still doing it as I left the stage. I was shocked but I must say it felt pretty good! It was so strange to be on that stage. The spotlight was SO BRIGHT that I couldn't see a thing. NOT A THING. The other acts were fun. There were a few singers, a magician and a jazz guitarist. Also a poetry reading, a short story reading and a chair-yoga demonstration.

My goal now is to really stop all that head movement. I guess it's back to the mirror for me...

Coming up:

Cosi fan tutti next Saturday at the Met!!!! I was about to say that it's been over a year since I've seen Nathan Gunn perform but NO I saw him in March and again in April this year. Lucky me. A girl could get used to this.

In Mars news, remember that video I was an extra in? It's allegedly going to be released any day now. There's a preview here. Gulp. No, I'm not in any of those scenes.

Other Mars news, I'm going to see them in February!!! With the same group of people (plus a few more!) I met in Atlantic City. Planning is underway!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Opera Project Party TONIGHT!

Hasn't really sunk in that I'm singing tonight. Had a voice lesson on Wednesday and a vocal coaching on Thursday. On Thursday morning I got a message from the main guy saying that some people are sick, we might have to add stuff, can I please bring the music for what I did LAST time too... the Mozart piece... Yikes! So instead of going straight to my vocal coaching from work, I ran home and basically tore my house apart looking for the sheet music for Batti Batti. Sang it a few times with the coach. I have no idea if I'll have to sing it tonight but at least now I'm prepared. It was fun to sing in a way because I've learned so much since I last sang it. My vocal technique has improved, my singing has improved so so much. And since there's no time to go over the song with my voice teacher, I'm really concentrating on incorporating everything I've learned into singing the piece, basically overcoming old "bad" habits so I can bring the song up to where I currently am, vocally. The coach said that it happens all the time as people progress. The revisit something they sang a while back and have to relearn how to sing the piece with their "updated" voice.

Then next week is a talent showcase at work. No one is able to accompany me so I'm doing "If Music be the Food of Love," the soprano version, with the CD accompaniment that came with the music book. It's so fast, it's like running a race, but that's ok. I went over it with the coach and will probably see my voice teacher the day before that performance.

That evening my voice... vanished. GULP. I was totally hoarse, sore throat, runny nose. NOOOO!! Woke up yesterday unable to sing. Tried humming and lip trills... nope. I wasn't hearing the notes I was trying to make. I spent most of yesterday whispering or talking very quietly when I had to talk at all and drinking tea. This morning I woke up and my voice is back!! Whew!!

Of course nothing has really changed as far as my parents are concerned... Today I told my dad I was singing in a recital tonight and he said, "Oh that's nice. A solo???" and I said yes and he said, "Really? You're GOOD enough?"
Pause. "Apparently."
"Wow. You'll have to sing for me the next time you come visit."
Yeah, ok. Sure... I'd love to sing for you so you can cut me off and ask why I'm not singing in English, and then make fun of me. Can't wait...

But on to better things - TONIGHT! I'm really excited! I'll try to get someone to record it.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I just can't seem to get my brain out of this whirlwind it's in!! So much going on. I have one voice lesson a week, and I try to squeeze vocal coaching in every week. I'm participating in the holiday chorus at work again this year and we rehearse once a week. I have an Opera Project recital this coming Saturday. Then there's some sort of benefit talent show at work next week and someone involved with it who saw me at that benefit show we put on last year emailed me specifically to see if I'd like to sing in it. So I have to find an accompanist, and then figure out what to do with Alex since the rehearsal time overlaps with when I have to get him from school, and the performance starts at about the same time Husband usually gets home from work that day. So I'm thinking that I just might not be able to participate in that - too much baggage. But then, let's see. Cosi at the Met on November 27. And then December. What's going on in December? One possible Opera Project recital. And then if I happen to win a contest (hahahaha as if) to go to Las Vegas on New Years Eve (how unlike me is that???) then I'll go to see 30 Seconds to Mars do their New Year's Eve show. Of course by the time the contests (for there are 3) close the show'll probably be sold out.

So that's where I am. Constantly checking the calendar to see where and what I should be singing. Crazy fun! I love it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mix-Ups, Repeats and a Photo

So tired I can barely think. So here I am, writing.

I thought I had a vocal coaching today. No one was there. Later found out that she thought it was tomorrow. Rescheduled for next week. Now I have no choice but to eat the apple pie I had picked up for her.

Next Opera Project recital is November 13th at a winery!! The accompanist isn't available for a rehearsal so we're going to repeat the program we did at the jewelry store. I like the idea of singing the same thing again - I wonder how I'll do it differently this time?

And on a non-opera, 30 Seconds to Mars note, look!

Dang, that's tiny. Even clicking on it doesn't make it that much bigger. Forget that. Click here to see it REALLY big, and then, FIND ME!! Hint: I was very near the front of the mob. More photos from the video shoot are here.

And now.... Zzzzz.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spanish, Karaoke, Casting

I must apologize for the lack of blogging! I feel like life is just swirling sometimes and there's no time to sit and write. But that's just not true. So here I am, sitting and writing.

I had a voice lesson and a coaching since my last post. My teacher totally understood what I was talking about when I described the state of relaxed concentration I was in last week. I got there again at the coaching when we went over El Majo Discreto. My teacher would love for me to sing that at a future Opera Project recital because she says there are so few Spanish songs performed, plus she thinks it's good for my voice. I think so too. Now that I'm getting more confident with it, I'm starting to have fun with it.

Speaking of fun, I was unable to participate in last weekend's Opera Project recital because I was at the most amazing Halloween party, ever. Alcohol + karaoke = lots of silliness!! There are videos out there... if someone asks nicely I'll post a link as a reply to a comment.

In other news, apparently I'm being considered (or... possibly... have been cast????) for a part in a local composer's opera, for some future Opera Project date. It's all very mushy. Someone mentioned it offhand to me, "Oh, you'll be in that thing... maybe you'll play the part of my wife." So of course I'm all, "WHAT thing?" and then I learned that someone asked someone else if they thought I'd be interested in participating ... well YEAH!!!! And that's all I know. Not much. I haven't even thought about it that much because there's no info to think about. So instead I'll just wait, and maybe follow up with a "What ever happened with that opera thing..." if I don't hear anything in a few weeks.

Ok, fine. Here. Note to self: Step AWAY from the karaoke stage...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Happy Place

Still coming down from my Hurricane high. Meanwhile, voice lessons and vocal coachings have continued.

I started Ombra Mai Fu. So so pretty. Here's Joyce DiDonato singing it. I can only daydream about sounding that beautiful. But I can make it pretty, I hope. I started it with my voice teacher on Tuesday, then I saw my vocal coach today. Today's "payment:" A giant chocolate chip cookie, decorated with frosting and little candy bars. So we went over If Music be the Food of Love, Se Tu M'ami and then Ombra mai fu. After going through it a couple of times she had me put the music down and go sit in a chair across the room. Then she played it and gave me the musical cues for when I should sing certain things. For example, hold out the opening note until the chord changes down, then go on. And so on, all different musical cues in the piano for when I should change what I'm singing. She also called out the words to me just before I sang them. Getting rid of the printed music was scary at first, but then it was liberating. Soon I was relaxing into the music and just letting it come out of me, while at the same time concentrating like mad to follow the cues. I was split into two levels. A super-relaxed, let-it-all-out level and a super-intense, concentrate-like-mad level. It was exhausting and exhilarating. And the time just flew by. It was one of the best coachings we've had so far. I'm in my happy place now.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Marching with Torches

I had another adventure last night! This was not opera related, although, like my last post about 30 Seconds to Mars, there was a little outdoor opera action on my part.

Thirty Seconds to Mars had put out an open casting call for extras in their upcoming video for their song Hurricane. Shooting was Wed and Thursday night. Someone I know got picked. They were allowed to bring a friend. She invited me along. I didn't go Wednesday night but I went yesterday, on Thursday! It was so much fun! Here I am sitting on the top of the bench seatback, waiting for my friends to arrive:

After we entered the park, most of the time was spent waiting around, of course, not unlike supering in an opera. And in fact I did do a little singing, although not much. And we did pee in the bushes, but that was all part of the adventure. And after about 2 hours they were ready for us.

Do we look bad-ass or what?

Yeah, I know. The answer is, "what." We don't look scary, we look cute. But we were part of a black hoodie mob carrying torches and flags. I wasn't carrying anything but because I had that super-cool mask I was placed near the front of the mob. Here I am during a break while we waited for them to reset the camera:

It was really cool to experience the filming. Before we started, they called us over to tell us to listen carefully to the safety rules from the pyrotechnics experts. I was so excited - I was hoping for fireworks and explosions! But it was nothing like that - it was just a little talk about how the torches worked and what to do if you were uncomfortable with your torch. I ended up not carrying one. They did give me one at first, but the guy behind me was carrying a flag, and the pyro experts said that flag behind fire was a no-no. Picky picky! So they set us up in a sort of marching mob formation and then filmed us coming up a flight of steps. Then we went back down, waited for them to reset the cameras, then they relit the torches and up we went again. We did that maybe 4 or 5 times. Then in the same formation we marched around some paths a few times, waiting in between each take for the camera to set up and the torches to relight. Then we were waiting for the next little march around. I was still in the front and my back was achy so I sat down on the ground. There I was, in my mask and hoodie with all that hair hanging down when I noticed the director on his way up the hill. He was wearing that grey jacket. He looked just like in that picture, except no sunglasses. I was the only one sitting. I caught his eye and we just watched each other as he walked up the hill. I don't think anyone else had noticed him yet. Then when he got nearer he looked at the whole bunch of us and said, "You're all a bunch of freaks." A short time later he came over and was all business, directing us with exactly how he wanted the shot to look. He cut out all the blonds, then anyone without a mask or hoodie. Then he looked at the redhead (yeah, that's me) and said, "'re gonna have to move over there." And off to the other group I went. Me and my red hair, too festive for the shot! He kept walking back and forth in front of all of us, trying to figure out who fit into his vision of the scene. He was nice, but business-like, very focused. Not at all like his insane stage persona. He ended up with a small, tight group of very dark scary looking people. The rest of us went back down the hill and we could see the torches moving around a little but that's pretty much it. So those of us who were sent "down the hill" hope that our scenes aren't totally cut from the final product. I'll be posting the video here once it's officially released no matter what! I made the final train and ended up getting home at 3am. *YAWN*

So there you go. My first actual interaction with Cupola Man. "You... you're gonna have to move over there." Oh yeah! Well YOU, you're going back in the Cupola. Can't wait to see the final video!!

Down the Stairs in Heels

I know, I know, I owe you a long overdue post about the Opera Project recital. I'm sorry! Things have been hectic!! I'll explain that too.

So the recital... Got there about an hour early. The venue was the atrium of a store/mall sort of place. It was open, with a wide stairway on the side leading up to a balcony-ish sort of area. Behind that was a glassed-in room. That room was the green room. There were cookies!!! Shaped like martini glasses! Yum! Of course no one ate until AFTER they sang!

So they way they set it up was, the singer on deck would wait on the landing of the stairs, then when the previous singer was walking toward the stairs, the next singer would come down and they'd pass each other on the floor near the bottom of the stairs. It's like the act of walking out on stage isn't nerve-wracking enough... they had to add the negotiation of a long flight of stairs... which of course the women had to do in heels. So dumb as it sounds, I actually walked up and down those steps a few times, to practice. I think having that to focus on took away my nervousness.

I was in the 2nd half of the recital. It was fun! I had no problem on the steps at all. I was a little nervous just to start and you can hear that in the opening note, and I cracked (OUCH!) at one point on a lower note, but corrected it pretty quickly. I still hear all the spots where I need to improve, but I thought I sounded pretty good, for me!! I can't believe how much better I've gotten since changing teachers. It's amazing. I'm like a whole new singer. And it's not like the other teacher didn't teach me how to sing - she taught me quite a lot, but I guess I just needed to hear the same stuff told to me in a different way and POW all of a sudden I can get my voice on top of the air, control the breath more and so on. Of course that also makes me realize how much more I have to learn, but that's ok. It's exciting to know that this singing journey will last for the rest of my life. But I was relaxed, I remembered to open wider for the higher notes, use my breath and so on. Still need tons of practice getting it all together of course. But as you can see from my smile at the end of the song, I wasn't unhappy!

After the recital we hung around eating cheese and cookies. I had so much fun the entire night, really, hanging out with the other singers as we all cheered each other on. The next recital that I hope to participate in is in mid-November.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Still need to write about the recital and the subsequent lessons. But meanwhile, I want to share a video my friends and I made to help a friend who is starting chemotherapy for cancer. Please please please click thru to YouTube and leave her a message. And share this video with anyone you think it will help find strength!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recital Video!

This is the best I've ever sung in front of people, but of course all I hear are the mistakes. First of all, my face looks pinched as if there's something uncomfortable jammed up my butt. There wasn't. Then, I cracked. I didn't open wide enough. I started out poorly. Otherwise, I guess it's ok. Click thru to YouTube if the blog format cuts off the window. I'll write more about the evening another time, but I wanted to get the video up.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Being Brave!

Opera Project recital!! I sing tomorrow! In front of people!! And... I think I'm ready!! I'm excited and nervous at the same time. It's different this time because this is the first time I'm singing since I switched to this voice teacher. It's like a first performance. Especially since I've changed, I've improved so much since I switched. It's like I'm a new singer.

Things have been crazy. I had that one demerol-hazed rehearsal, then I saw my 87 year old vocal coach, whom I adore, she's so much fun and has so many great stories, plus she's an amazing piano player and has given me such wonderful advice about performing, then I had another regular rehearsal where I did much better. After THAT rehearsal one of the guys gave me an impromptu lesson. He said he really likes my voice - he thinks it'd be good for medieval music because I can sing the higher notes straight without going flat, and a lot of the older music was written for that type of singing. Singing them straight means I can do them without vibrato. I hadn't been thinking of that as an asset. I've been trying to figure out how to consistently maintain vibrato on the higher notes. Who knew it was a skill to hit them on pitch without vibrato?

Then I had a lesson yesterday. My teacher had a couple of visitors so after warming up they came in to listen to me sing Lascia ch'io pianga. They responded positively, said that my voice sounded very clear and pure. That's nice! In the middle before the higher notes she called out to be brave... so I did... and out came these gorgeous notes! It was all I could do not to giggle, but I forced myself through it and kept on going. Be brave... such simple words... and I listened and obeyed and dropped my jaw and supported my breath and OUT came the notes! I was reminded of that vocal eval from a few years ago where one teacher wrote, "Courage!" Maybe that's what she meant. Courage to trust myself.

My teacher and I talked about maybe coming up with a program of madrigal-type songs for me, in English, Italian and Latin. She pointed out how nice the music would be with a harp or harpsichord, and I joked that with a harpist I could then sing at wedding ceremonies. And then suddenly we were like, why not? Why not have a goal? I'm not sure at the moment exactly how to get from here to there, but the first step is to learn the appropriate music. The time will pass whether or not I work towards a goal. So who knows, it may never happen, but then again, maybe it will. As 30 Seconds to Mars says, Provehito in Altum - Reach for the Heights, or, Launch Forth into the Deep! Either way, I'm reaching/launching for it. With courage! I will, of course, report in again after the recital!! Hopefully with video!!!

ps must apologize if the font is all wonky. I wrote much of this entry from work in an email to myself and I can't get the formatting to change to the regular font.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Meet Papageno for Charity

By special request, I am writing to tell everyone about a charity auction that Nathan Gunn is participating in. The bidding starts at $200, with an estimated total value of $1000. Not sure how they came up with that total... but anyway... the winning bidder gets two tickets, orchestra row V, to see Magic Flute at the Met, plus a backstage meet and greet with Nathan after the performance. The date is either December 21 at 11am or December 24 at 6:30. And I don't mean you get to choose when to go. What I mean is, it keeps changing on the website. The person who asked me to help promote the event told me that it had been the 24th, but they changed it to the 21st. Then the auction website first listed the 24th, then the 21st, and as of this writing it's back at the 24th. I've followed up for more info. I'd check Nathan's official website except that as of this writing it appears to be down. Or broken. Or something. Whatever this means:
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If I can remember how to log into the Our Favorite Baritone site I'll post it there for the 2 readers a month who randomly stop by. So there you have it. Check out the auction, place your bid, and get ready to meet and greet Papageno after the show. One day in December, sorta near Christmas. Happy bidding.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Coaching with Cookies

Wow. All the excitement of my 30 Seconds to Mars adventure has kept me from blogging properly. And there is plenty of singing stuff to mention.

Last week I had my first ever vocal coaching with a lovely and talented woman who happens to live in my town. She' in her 80s and is very good friends with my teacher so she won't take money from any of the students my teacher refers to her. So before the coaching I picked up a half dozen of the most beautiful cupcakes from the bakery for her. I should have taken a picture of them.

The coaching was great. It was my first time hearing Lascia ch'io pianga with the piano. It's so beautiful! She gave me a lot of advice about the recit - we went over it about a thousand times. Each time she said, "Ok, just one more time..." Uh huh. And one more, and one more, and one more... and it was exactly what I needed. She talked about how the recit is talking, even though there are musical notes. It's talking. You phrase it like you're talking. We went over the phrasing a lot. You are not restricted to the meter or rhythm because it's not the music... it's talking. With music. She told me that in about 10 different ways until she was sure I understood. As I relaxed I was able to relax into the part and get the musical recit to sound like talking... talking that just happens to have notes behind it. I still have a lot of practicing to do but I might be slowly starting to get a grasp on the concept.

Then of course we worked on the aria. That, of course, is restricted to the music, and needs to have more legato than the recit. And with me, when I learn something new, my legato is the first thing to go, and then I have to work it back in.

Then on Sunday I had an Opera Project rehearsal. But before I go into that, let's back up to a week ago Saturday, when I jumped like mad during the Jared Leto Aerobics Hour (and a half) that was the 30 Seconds to Mars show. My back, it doesn't like jumping. No, not at all. It was already unhappy before the show, from all that standing around. Then, JumpJumpJumpJump!!! and then ... the next day... OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH. It has gotten progressively worse since then. On Sunday morning I gave in and took half a Demerol I had lying around from when I had a root canal. (c'mon, you all do it, you save the painkillers in case you need them again...) And then, I went to the rehearsal. Hoo boy. Not doing that again. Luckily, Husband drove. So I stagger up there (most of the stagger was from the pain) and explain to them that I am on Demerol, then I try to sing. Actually I did ok, except I was nervous and actually forgot the words. I know the words! I know them very well!! Except ... I forgot them. I was ok with keeping the voice on top of the airstream, but my legato left me. One of the men there came up and asked me if I'm embarrassed to let my belly poof out. Well hell yeah, I'm a woman, I keep that sucker sucked in as much and as often as I can. He urged me to let it out and really use it, to use all my breath and not just the last 15% residual air in my lungs. Duh. I know that. But I wasn't doing it. I blame the Demerol. I actually blamed it at the time. I promised I'd be sober next time. I actually said that. I know I shouldn't have. I was just embarrassed at how sucky I thought I sounded. Then they went on about what a beautiful voice I have and it's a very common problem among singers and I need to work on the legato and see you next week. Husband said I didn't sound as bad as I thought. Someone else in the church (we rehearse in a church) told me I sounded great. They didn't have to do that. But if all these people are telling me how nice I sound, why do I think I sound like a screech owl? As I stumble around on my low dose of narcotics? I tell ya, if there's a way for me to embarrass myself in a situation, I will find it and not only will I do it, I will do it well. Of course all I did was thank them for their help and for the compliments while at the same time thinking, "Holy crap, I suck, they're not going to let me sing, they're finding all this stuff wrong, they're lying about how I sound..." Hello, self-esteem? Are you on vacation this week?

Tomorrow I have another coaching. I'll have to stop by the bakery on my way. Maybe I'll get cookies this time - oooh I know - a linzer tart or two. They're pretty big and they are YUM. Hell maybe I'll get one for myself too, and eat it in the car on my way home so I won't have to share. Bwuaa haa haa.

On a completely unrelated note, sources indicate that Our Favorite Baritone, Nathan Gunn, will finally be singing Don Giovanni. According to this article it's set for some time in 2012 in Washington, DC. I'd almost consider combining a mini-vacation there with a road trip to see the Gunnster as the Don. Plenty of time to think/plan/obsess over that.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cupola Man in the FLESH! Plus Opera in the Parking Lot!

Ok readers this isn't really opera related, but it sort of is because I did manage to sing a few bars and make some spoooooky ghost sounds...

I went to Atlantic City Saturday night to see Thirty Seconds to Mars!!!! I was there!!!!!!!!!! My cupola man (click the link and read to see what I'm talking about) was right in front of me!!!!!!

Ok, calming down to write now. Just remember, I may be 43 but I feel like I'm 14.

So you know from my last post how important Thirty Seconds to Mars has become for me. Their songs helped me fight all that anger and horror of the pedophiles linking to Alex's video and commenting about him. And after watching one live clip of the band after another on YouTube I realized that I had to see them live. I could not pass up on the opportunity to see them in Atlantic City, about 2 hours from here. Easy to say that now. At the time I waffled and waffled... no one I know wanted to come... I had no ticket... although I kept checking the website all day Friday and there were still tickets. Husband finally got tired of me saying, "Should I go? Should I go alone? How can I NOT go? But can I go alone?" and so on, which is stupid considering I go alone to operas, including flying halfway across the country, without a second thought. Finally he told me to cut it out and just GO already. Great!!! It was Friday night prob around 9. So I went online... all sold out. NOOOOOO!!!!!! I had finally decided to go!!!!! Then, serendipity. I look at Twitter... and lo and behold someone is offering an extra ticket to AC!!!! Another twitter user helped connect us and there it was!! Not only was I going, I suddenly had people to meet! Someone else offered to drive me, but they were staying over and it just seemed easier to drive myself. But... that meant more people to meet!!!

So... Fashion!! Just like with going to the opera, I had to decide what to wear. Decided that with the amount jumping I was seeing on these videos I should wear a top with a little extra support to help keep the "girls" in line. The only one I have with that extra panel in it is bright pink. Yes, I wore a bright pink top to a 30 Seconds to Mars show. Please don't tell anyone!! I'm so not a pink person! I wore black capri-ish pants and what I call my zoo shoes, because the first time I wore them was to the Philadelphia Zoo. They are blue plaid wool sneakers and I love them so shut up. And of course I wore earrings, a pair that I've worn to the opera, just because. Just because I wanted to wear something shiny and rhinestoney. And the socks... well, I took them from Alex's drawer. Yes, he's 6 and I'm wearing his socks. With all that I brought this horribly bright orange string bag. I was fashion in motion.

Saturday morning I was so excited I could barely contain myself. I went down in the afternoon and got there at about 3. I hooked up with the woman who had the extra ticket, then we wandered around and made our way to the line for the theater. Or whatever you call it. Venue. It was in a casino. Talk about sensory overload: I spend two hours in the car, yeah with music playing, but still... then wander through a quiet parking deck, stand in a quiet elevator and suddenly burst out onto a casino floor with loud music, flashing lights, bells and people everywhere going in every direction. I wanted to just shut down. It made me wonder if that's what things are like for Alex when he just collapses to the floor sometimes. But anyway we got into the line and I did get a chance to sort of shut down as I snoozed on my ugly bright orange bag. Before long some of the other people from twitter found me and it was like one big party waiting on line to go in. I met so many wonderful people and had to keep trying to remember real names with twitter names to keep track of who was who. I was scared about being near the front of the crowd and everyone assured me that it'll be fine, it's the best place to be, sure it's a little squishy but it's worth it. Well... they were right!! But I'm getting ahead of myself. We got on line at about 3. Doors opened at 7. We went to the front toward the left side of the stage and were about 3 rows from the very front. And there we stood. The opening act came on at 8. They were loads of fun, long hair swinging around and fun, clever songs. They finished at about 8:40 or so. Then we kept standing... and waiting... the anticipation building... and building. I thought I would explode. I was ready to burst. Seriously. I was. I kept telling anyone who would listen. Finally, at about 10 after 9, the lights dimmed and the show began!! (NSFW Warning: Jared Leto curses like a sailor. And that's how we like him.) And as usual, the blogger format cuts off the video, so click through to YouTube to see it all.

Yes, I go to operas. And I go to 30 Seconds to Mars shows and jam myself into the front to see my cupola man right there. Four feet away from me. And he's not 2 inches tall. He's REAL!!! The singer in me can't help but notice he didn't sing the high notes, but let the audience do it for him. I didn't realize it at the time. Now I totally want to give him some private voice lessons - get that voice on top of the air Jared, and drop your jaw, and use your breath, let those high notes ring out! Do you think he'd let me? I believe that he can actually reach the notes, but not while jumping around like the maniac he is. We all jumped. I jumped and jumped and made a few very jumpy videos, most of which I'll link to here.

Now I just have to post a small aside here, because I realized as I wrote that we got there at 3 and the show started soon after 9... when I went into labor with Alex I got to the hospital at 3 and gave birth at about 10 minutes after 9. The same amount of time, and while of course you can't really compare the two experiences, I will because it's my blog and I can do what I want. There was back pain, there was anticipation, there was nervousness, there was back pain. There was no baby on Saturday night - instead there was the most adrenaline-pumping, exciting evening of my life!!! As opposed to the "thank God THAT'S over" feeling of giving birth and not being in labor anymore... The excitement and energy in that room was palpable. It really was. And the guys in the band radiate charisma. Jared Leto is amazing. I'm not talking about his physical beauty (ok, maybe a little) but his presence. It's electrifying. And he's funny. And at the same time he's just normal. Like he goes from being this huge presence to just a regular guy, joking and talking, and then suddenly it's like he's preaching and everyone is worshipping. That's not exactly it... I'm having trouble finding the words. It's almost like the entire show was a religious experience. You can't not look, you can't not participate - the energy and excitement just sweeps you along and it's the most awesome feeling in the world. And the man can sing!!! No, it's not opera. It's all in a lower register. In fact I noticed that they transposed many of the songs into lower keys for the live performance. I sing along an octave above in the car all the time - my muscles know where to go to hit the right notes - so I was a bit messed up when I lapsed into singing along during the show. So I gave it up and just sang down low. And trilled, and whooped, and cheered, and yelled along with everyone else. And jumped!!! It's not like I even had a choice. I was fine in the Very Crowded front until about the 5th song or so when he told everyone to take 3 giant steps forward. Did I mention that it was already Very Crowded? Suddenly I was a sardine, a short sardine in a can of long tall sardines with elbows in my face and people packed all around. The guy in front of me was hugely tall and as excited as everyone else. I thought for sure I was going to be crushed. After about a minute of this wild press of jumping people I had to get out - I was starting to panic! So I made my way to the side and stayed just at the edge of where the crowd started to get rowdy. I was in a good position to help pull out other people who stumbled out to escape the press of people, plus I could dance and jump and go wild without fear of bodily harm.

So here's another video I made before I escaped. Another video I made while jumping... Dude knows how to work the crowd with that insane pause in the middle.

Here's another jumping jumpy video:

And here's another. I had to stop filming because the jumping was so jumpity jump jump that I needed both hands to protect my face from the elbows around me.Not fun being only 5 feet tall in a crowd like this.

For the rest, go to my YouTube page.

So I hung out at the edge of the rowdiness and slowly eased my way back in, and ended up very close to where I started out. My camera card was full and the videos I took with my phone sound AWFUL. The speaker couldn't handle the volume. In fact, one of the videos I took came out with no sound. Looks pretty good, though. I was sad/bummed/disappointed that I wasn't up in the press (yet still relieved) when Jared came down into the crowd. Wanted so badly to be there and was so very glad not to be in there. Can I arrange a private show for just me and my twitter friends? So we can all be wild without the claustrophobia? Husband's theory is that they like to see how far they can push the crowd to do stuff - like they're a little masochistic. Could be. Don't really care. They make it so you WANT to do what they say. It's scary, sort of. But it's not just that. It's the music. It's so full. It surrounds you. You just give yourself up to it and let it wash over you. The lyrics are great, if at times a little teenagery-earnest. But I eat it all up. I love it. And obviously I'm not the only one.

One of the best aspects of it, for me, was hearing and singing along with all the songs that I listened to after those pedophile bastards wrote about Alex on their message boards. It was such a great release to just scream RUN AWAY I'LL ATTACK and all the others, at the top of my lungs, with hundreds of others. It was truly cathartic. So intense. I actually feel a lot better.

After the show we milled about being silly. Jammed ourselves into a photo booth for a picture:

(see the hot pink top?)

Then we hung out on the boardwalk where I met more people that I "knew" from Twitter, even called a tattoo place to check on their hours for someone who had gotten the band to autograph her arm with a Sharpie, but she was eating greasy cheese fries and couldn't touch her phone. That was pretty funny b/c I put on my mom/teacher voice, "Hi, could you please tell me what time you're open til? And what time do you open tomorrow?" and the guy was like Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times, "Uh... 12. Maybe one." Duuuude thanks. I hope you're not the one holding the needle tonight. Not that I'd ever get a tattoo for so many reasons, the main one being not liking pain, and next being I'd never be able to decide what I want on me forever. So I'm happy looking at other people's tattoos.

Then Braxton Olita, who plays keyboards in the band, came out with his guitar and played a few songs on the beach. He was on a live chat last night where I was able to tell him I sing opera and was at the show. He commented on it so now he knows, there was an opera singer at the show Saturday night! But I digress... Meanwhile, a few of us ran over to where the tour buses were b/c the guys usually come out to chat with people. Well me missed Jared by like a minute. We were actually running (did I mention yet that I'm 43 going on 14?) and could see the bus and the crowd and hear the screaming. Then chunks of people were leaving as we got there. Grrr. I heard that he was really nice, telling people to follow their dreams and so on. Very inspirational. He talked about some of that during the show too. But then Shannon, the drummer, came out. He signed autographs and was super sweet. And small!! I mean, really muscular, but much tinier than I imagined. I guess he just looks larger on stage. They all loom large but appear petite in person. While he was signing Jared came out again carrying a cup with his hand over it. He ran over to Shannon and threw the contents of the cup at him. I heard later it was a bug. Ah brothers. I'm not the only 14 year old adult in the world.

We all hung out for a while longer and someone suggested we make a human triad. A little background: The band has these glyph symbols and the triad is a triangle with an extra line part way up. People make the triad out of candles and other things. We made this one out of ... people. See me in there? Near the point, hot pink shirt, long red hair? The other pictures in that flikr set are from that night. You must all go look even though they have absolutely nothing to do with opera.

Then we all chatted a little more before I decided a little before 1 that seeing as how I had a 2 hour drive ahead of me I should probably hit the road. During the goodbyes I found out that someone else likes opera, I sang a few bars of Lascia ch'io pianga, made some ghosty spooky operatic trills and off I went, back through the labyrinthine casino to find my way to the elevator to the parking deck. Then of course I got lost in Atlantic City and while, sure, it's cute to be on all the streets from Monopoly, it's not so cute to be lost in Atlantic City. Miraculously I had gotten onto a street that lead directly to the highway I needed, so all was good, and two hours later I stumbled out of the car and up my front steps.

This weekend was so intense, intense the way Rape of Lucretia was intense. I am so glad I went. I can't believe I went. But I did. I went. It was insane, it was, as everyone kept saying, epic. Epic was the word of the day. I want more, more, more... in spite of the pain I still feel in my back from all that standing, and the sleep deprivation and the sheer terror of being trapped in the crowd. I want to do it again!!! I met so many awesome people. I had a blast.

So today I had a voice lesson. I told my teacher all about the weekend. She's 71, by the way, and she gets a huge kick out of me. She loves that I just go out and live life rather than sit home and wonder and regret. She is the same type of person. She told me about being Debbie Harry's voice teacher and going to a few Blondie shows in New York and understanding how crazy it can be up front by the stage. She also told me about the time David Bowie asked her to dance and she didn't know who he was. Also she sang a duet with some guy from Foreigner. I showed her this picture (yes, yes I did!!) and of course she thought it was hilarious. She knows he's the man I sing to in the cupola in her painting. She said I should write him a letter and tell him he has inspired me to be a better opera singer. She was serious. I have no idea how to do that, so I twittered it to him. My "letter," in under 140 characters, including spaces:

@jaredleto Atl City was my first Mars show - I'M HOOKED! My opera singing is improving in part thanks 2 yr inspiration. Thx 4 that! ~Susan

Do you think I'll get a RT? I doubt it... but there you go. (RT = Retweet, a form of reply on twitter.) I don't think there are any characters left in my message for a RT unless he cuts some of it out. And that is way too much trouble for someone with over 250,000 followers. Do you think I'm the only opera singer in the Mars Army?

There is so much more to tell about the weekend. I'm sure I'll remember it all after I publish the post. But I think this is enough to give you all an idea of the sheer...EPICNESS of the adventure!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Same Old Story, With Giggles and a Dash of Hatred

Today I was given a gift of an extra, free, double-team voice lesson! My teacher will be unavailable for a while starting next week, and she wanted to see me again before the recital... and she had one of her friends come to the lesson too - another "retired" opera singer (go ahead, click the link!!) who teaches. She had been bragging to him about how much improvement I've made and how quickly I learn, so my goal of course was not to make her into a liar. I sang Lascia and Se Tu M'ami. He had some great advice about maintaining the legato. Same stuff I've heard a million times from other people, but somehow it gets through when you hear it in a new way. So then he had me singing the melodies just on ahhh before singing the actual words. I had been singing kind of choppy - like, when I started concentrating on keeping my voice on top of the air, I lost my legato. That's not unfamiliar to me, as you all know from my many prior posts about it. And then when I concentrate on my legato I lose the tone. But slowly, slowly, they're overlapping. I think of it like, legato is my right hand and tone is my left hand. Bit by bit the fingers are intertwining. And then, you know me, when I liked how I sounded I got the giggles. A giggle fit in the middle of my voice lesson. Again, not unfamiliar. I think they thought it was cute. I just get all giggly when I hear myself singing like that - I can't believe it's me, and then I laugh. But I managed to get myself under control and concentrate. Part of my problem was that I wasn't relaxed enough. Relax... relax... yeah ok gotta work on that one. But when I am relaxed and I do manage to get the legato and the tone all at once - WOW! And then... I giggle.

The giggling didn't end with the voice lesson. Later I was on a video chat with some of my new 30STM friends where we got very very silly. Giggling is good for the soul.

So since my teacher didn't charge me for the lesson, Alex and I went to the supermarket beforehand and he helped me pick out a nice selection of flowers to make into a pretty bouquet for her.

And speaking of Alex, I'm sad to say I had to remove all his videos from YouTube. A mom who checks for these things alerted me that a pedophile website had linked to them on a message board and there was a thread of comments there. And yes, I would like to find these people and strangle them all with my hands. However instead I immediately took down all the videos after downloading the YT stats for them. I then went to Wikisposure, looked at each person's profile and blocked the ones who are on YouTube. I also reported them to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Somehow I managed NOT to barf on my keyboard while doing all this, although I did have a good cry about it in the car while blasting some angst-ridden 30 Seconds to Mars songs. So bye bye Beethoven's Wig videos. Guess I won't be making any more. I will hopefully be able to harness that rage and anger if an aria calls for it. Not to say that there's anything good about the incident. I've just never experienced such strong feelings of hatred, anger or outrage before.

My next lesson is on Monday, and then I don't know when my teacher will be available to resume giving lessons. Luckily her friend who was there today said that he'd teach me in the meantime. A male voice teacher - should be interesting. He was great today, telling me stuff, getting all animated, so I think it'd be fun. I had been wondering what to do while she was unavailable. Now I know.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

30 Seconds to Opera

After a few formatting ups and downs, it looks like they've smoothed out the glitches in the Opera Project website... now look! I'm number 3 on the page. You know, the one with the two-line bio, sandwiched in between the long paragraphs that describe everyone else's accomplishments. But the point is, I'm there!! I'm not TOO intimidated! How in the world did I end up on this list with all these accomplished singers? I feel like someone is going to suddenly realize I don't belong there, because I still can't believe it myself.

So after this week's lesson we decided that I will sing Laschia ch'io pianga for the recital. The rehearsal is Sept 12. I can't wait to sing this in an echoing church. I'll have to put my imaginary cupola man up in the rose window. I showed his picture to my teacher

and she agreed that he's worth singing to! Hahaha!! Me and my silly celebrity crushes. But hey, whatever works to get me on top of the air. This week, it's this. Ask again next week.

I just have to laugh at myself here. I mean, come ON. Look at me. I'm singing to a tiny Jared Leto up in a cupola in a painting. And the other crazy thing is, I actually totally love his band. I mean, it's nuts. They are called 30 Seconds to Mars and they sound like a conglomeration of all my favorite 80s bands rolled into one. They have a cult following that just fascinates me. If I were a teenager I'd be in the cult. I could let myself fall into the cult now, if I weren't old enough to be the mother of most of the other fans. But they do some really fascinating stuff with their music, incorporating the audience as part of it, which is just amazing to me. As usual, click through to YouTube if the blog format cuts off the video window.

And they did this all over the world, and then had people record themselves, and they combined all the recordings into tracks on their album.

This track, for example, starts with the crowd making a tone and just bringing it up.

And the live footage on YouTube is amazing. They have so much energy. The intensity is not unlike opera. The music is different, but the feeling is the same. I mean, I'm sitting here, listening to This is War because it's playing in the window I opened to get the code, and I'm punching the air. And then laughing at myself for doing it. And yes, I do laugh at the pink mohawk. And yeah, I guess rock singers are allowed to go flat occasionally. I do cringe at the occasional flat notes and the sometimes screechy voice. On the other hand, I do love hearing the audience sing along. Look at the related videos to see more live footage - but beware, it's not all safe for work. The language is colorful, if you get my meaning. Just like his hair. But according to Twitter, the mohawk (now bleached white) was cut off today.

They play these giant arenas in Europe, but are still on the small club circuit here in the U.S. I would love to see them before they hit arena status here. They're actually playing about 2.5 hours from here this coming weekend, but it's just a wee bit too far for a solo round trip. I don't know anyone who would go with me. It's also a holiday weekend and the venue happens to be down the shore (that's, at the beach for people who are NOT from New Jersey) so the commute is probably more like 5 hours. On the other hand, tickets are only $25. So now I'm hoping that they come to Philadelphia in the near future, like maybe they can jam a date in there while they're in the area.

So, back to the opera. I'm starting to get excited to see Cosi in November. I have an extra pair of tickets for Le Comte Ory for Sat, April 2, Grand Tier Rear. Trying to figure out how to unload them. Craigslist? Ebay? One of those ticket brokers, like Stub Hub? A loyal reader here?

And getting back to Twitter... I've suddenly been really active there. Find me there and follow me!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Video, Take 2

Don't know why the video isn't displaying correctly in the prior post. It shows up fine at home, but not on my work computer or iPhone, so I'm uploading it again. See the previous post for the details.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Video Time

Ok, here is a clip from yesterday's voice lesson. I set it to these photos I took with my phone a few evenings ago, when the sky was looking weird. You can hear my teacher saying something like, "Passionate!" at the start, and a few things here and there, and then, "Aren't you proud of yourself?" at the end. And you know what? I am.

It starts with a recit, then the aria. Here are lyrics I copied from here. They're slightly different but close enough.


Lascia ch'io pianga
mia cruda sorte,
e che sospiri la libertà.
Il duolo infranga queste ritorte
de' miei martiri sol per pietà.

Let me weep
my cruel fate,
and let me sigh for liberty.
May sorrow break these chains
Of my sufferings, for pity's sake.

EDITED ON AUG 25: The video shows in the editing window, but when I publish, it vanishes. Sorry about that - I'll work on it and will repost when I figure it out.

Almost There

Well, they got my stuff up on the website. I mean, WOW!! They got me up on the website!! But it's all messed up - it needs fixin'. Go here and scroll down. It's like there's a photo album on the page with the three singers, and then mine was added but to a new album? And it doesn't display correctly. The bio shows only halfway. So I want to be all excited, and I am, but I'm also like, uh... anyone out there, can you take a look and fix it? But I don't want to ask because I don't want to sound ungrateful. So I sent an email thanking the person and asking if it's my browser or is the page not displaying correctly? So we'll see.

Voice lesson yesterday was FABULOUS. Holy cow. I'm like, who the hell is that? OH! It's me. Seriously. Srsly. Wow I've been wanting to type that, srsly, for like, a long time. Srsly. Ok. Anyway... I was on top of the air and I produced that sound I've been aiming for. I practice all the time, every note of every song, I make myself go back and re-do if I don't like the sound. And what do you know, practicing really does help. And was also helps is that my teacher has this painting next to the piano, of a street scene, and there's a church with a cupola on top, which is like a little tower, so anyway, because I'm shameless, I imagine that this person is up in that cupola, and he needs to be able to hear me from all the way over here, and if I do well, well, I can't say here what happens because this is a family blog. But, seriously, uh, I mean, srsly, imagining that someone is listening and that I could possibly win some sort of impossible reward or prize actually helps me relax and let it all out... even if my man in the cupola would have to be like 1 or 2 inches tall to actually fit in the painting. Luckily I have a vivid imagination. And wow, rereading that, it sounds really... inappropriate on so many levels. A man only 2 inches tall, and me and my vivid imagination. What I meant was, he'll grow to regular size when he pops out of the painting, thanks to my imagination. I mean, he'll just BE regular size. I won't see him grow from 2 inches to regular size because that would be too disturbing and freaky. Right, so... anyway...

I have to just open up and let the sound out, because when I trust myself to do that, I amaze myself. I realize I'm not in it for a career or anything like that - it's just that I never imagined I'd ever be able to sing like this. I'm in the process of posting a clip from my voice lesson - the only way I can think to do it is to make it into a video. Time consuming, but I see no other way to upload sound here.

Anyway, I'll post again once they fix the web page so it displays correctly. And once I make the little video, I'll post it. And I'll definitely post again if my Cupola Guy pops out of the painting and lands in my lap. Actually, if that happens, I probably won't post about it. Hm. That implies that if I don't post about it, that it may have happened. Well I'll let you all just wonder and imagine.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Photo and a Bio

Things are happening. Things I never fathomed.

The Opera Project has a web page now: And if you go to the contacts, eventually, I think, you'll see my photo and bio there!!! I mean, how friggin cool is that? I never in a million years could have imagined that I'd be on a web page as an opera singer, complete with photo and bio. I'm not there as of this writing, but they asked me to send it and I did. And let me tell you, I feel pretty intimidated - look at the bios already there. Prestigious schools, awards, many many roles... My bio is like 3 lines long. I feel like I don't belong there on that list. I'm not there yet. I keep expecting them to change their minds, or something, about who gets their bio and photo posted to the page. But the truth is, I'm plotzing here at the mere idea of this. It's one of those, "I can't stop giggling" moments. Even though it hasn't quite happened. But the moment it does I'll post all about it, and of course I'll email the link to everyone I've ever known.

As you can see from the website, the next recital is that that very same jewelry store where I first saw the group. Then I have plans on October 23 (my friend's long-anticipated, over-the-top, fabulous annual Halloween party) and then she and I are going to see Cosi at the Met on November 27. I'm hoping to be able to sing in the others though.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Reasons to Love the Internet

Confession time!!! I was a teenager, temporarily. Here's how it all happened.

Alex is pretty much obsessed with Star Wars. Eventually I learned the names of the actors in the "new" prequels, googled them, (because I live under a rock ... apparently I was the only female on the face of the planet who hadn't ever heard of Hayden Christensen, the guy who portrayed Anakin Skywalker, you know, Darth Vader before he turned to the dark side) and then looked at their other stuff. And because I'm a teenager at heart, I ended up watching this Canadian tv series about troubled teens at a boarding school in the mountains, called Higher Ground, starring the same Mr Christensen when he was a teenager. That of course led me to watch other angsty high-school tv shows, specifically, Freaks and Geeks (loved it then, still love it!) and My So Called Life (loved it then, still love it!). Then I googled all those people to get the "where are they now" update and found out that the guy everyone wanted to make out with in the boiler room on MSCL, Jared Leto, has been in this sort of progressive rock band for the past several years called 30 Seconds to Mars. It's not opera. No.... way.... but it's compelling. And or course most of their fans are, you know, young enough to be my kids, but... whatever. They have this almost cult following - catch phrases, clothing, war paint, screaming fans, etc. I would have loved these guys had they been around when I was a teenager. I mean, they've got the looks, makeup and fashion of Adam Ant and Duran Duran but they have actual musical talent. I love the drums. So here I am, watching, or trying to watch, a livestream of a chat with the band. It's insane. It was insane... it's already over due to technical difficulties... So the band was on a webcam and there was a live chat window that flew by at the speed of light. Then it all crashed... and thanks to Twitter updates I know that they lost internet access at their hotel in Tel Aviv ... But the cult members, uh, I mean, fans, I'm sure, were shrieking to see their leaders uh I mean, idols, live on the screen for those few minutes. It got me thinking, I can't even imagine what my life would have been like had the internet existed when I was a teenager. It's truly unfathomable. Meanwhile, there I was, listing to Alex play Mario Cart Wii, saying goodbye to Husband as he left to see a baseball game, wondering if maybe I should shut down the computer and feed my child... nah, he knows where the food is.

So as I stated early on in the life of this blog, I love the internet. I love how on Twitter you can follow "famous" people and sort of communicate with them, and know from the time of their updates exactly when they are doing something. So I guess I love the legitimate stalking aspect of it. It's not really stalking - after all, if you use twitter you are giving the world permission to see whatever is it you post there. Also I love how, on the internet you can make friends with people you never would have met before, how you can trade information and how a band can try to hold a live chat with their fans. I mean, how COOL is that? Are opera singers doing that? I don't mean voice lessons on Skype. I think live opera via one of those live video chat feeds is in order.

In a sort of related post, Joyce DiDonato has started a Vlog on YouTube. I hope that doesn't mean she'll slow down her writing, because I love reading her blog. And I can't wait to see her at the Met!!! Next April. It'll be here before I know it. Together with JDF and Diana Damrau. Seems unreal. And my plan is to stay healthy... no backstage acupuncture this time, if only because I can't be guaranteed another view from the wings.

Had a voice lesson yesterday. Will post about that later ... however I do want to mention that the next Opera Project recital is September 26. In fact, I think I'll call the Guy In Charge right now to remind him that I'm interested in performing. And then, perhaps I should feed my child...