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, "You...you'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!