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.