Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cashing In and Out

Dropping the big bucks again. First, this Friday- VIP tickets for 30 Seconds to Mars go on sale for their concert right here in My Home State for a show at the end of April. And now that I've done VIP I can never go back. Worth it alone for the early entry to the venue, to secure my spot at the railing. Will Shannon ask me to sing again? I doubt it. On the off chance that he does, I'm probably singing the following month in the Opera Project Birthday concert, so I'll be prepping something. But I don't think that M&G singing experience will ever or can ever be repeated.

Next, the Met announced their 2011-2012 season. And while we will have Nathan Gunn in Billy Budd, I don't think I want to spend money on something disturbing. The budget allows only one opera there next season, so I'm saving my pennies for L'Elisir d'Amore, with Juan Diego Florez and Diana Damrau. Together again! Of course I have lots of time to decide about Billy Budd. It's over a year from now, and even if it sells out (which I don't think it will) there are always tickets available.

Speaking of tickets available, I have extra tickets for Comte Ory at the Met on April 2. Juan Diego Florez !! And Diana Damrau!! And Joyce DiDonato!! Ticket info here. Anyone interested, pop me an email - - if we do this outside StubHub I'll cut the price listed there by 10%! Pass this info on, I'd love to unload these extra tickets to a deserving party!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hearing is Believing

I still can't believe I sang at the meet and greet. I know this sappy happy feeling will fade, but I'm reveling in it now. I mean, WOW. Jared snapped his head around at the sound of my voice. A voice that he has, in part, inspired me to achieve. The whole band has, really, but you know. I was pretending that he had to be able to hear me up in that cupola in the painting! I lapsed into that trance and forgot that he was actually in the room. How ridiculous is that?! It was, as one friend pointed out to me, both thrilling and slightly horrific at the same time. But mostly thrilling! And somehow, through it all, I managed to maintain bladder control. Actually, peeing in my pants wasn't really a concern of mine. Forgetting how to talk coherently, yeah. But that's pretty much always a concern...

But yeah. Shannon fawned over me and my voice. Tomo and I talked about proper breathing. Jared... he heard me sing. And complimented my voice. I didn't even think to tell him that he has inspired me. I was just... gahhh.

My voice teacher was thrilled when I told her all about it. She said that it really took cojones to do that, and she's not surprised that I did, because I have them! She pointed out to me how validating is it to be able to sing on command and to "wow" people like that. And that often people are in awe of opera singers because opera seems so difficult and inaccessible. Was Shannon star struck? Maybe a little! Plus he was definitely impressed that I had the cojones to do it. The truth is, I felt a little uncomfortable by the attention. People were there to see them, not to hear me. She told me to get used to it. Yikes!!

I've found that people I know are impressed that I can sing an entire "song" in another language. But I don't just stand up and perform - I practice and study and learn the words and the notes and how to sing them and I practice singing them in front of people and so on. It may appear effortless in the end, which is the goal, but it's only all the prep work that makes it seem so.

And now, life resumes as before. Must must must call the vocal coach. Must must must mentally prep for my next adventure, which is seeing Nathan Gunn perform next month. And then Juan Diego Florez, Diana Damrau and Joyce DiDonato the following month. And finally, I must plan for my next adventure on Mars!

Monday, February 7, 2011

More Life on Mars

Here's the official Meet & Greet photo. Click it to see it big. And no, Jared is not wearing a Snuggie. It's (allegedly) a poncho. He said he got it for his mom but it was too big on her so she made him not only keep it but promise to wear it. Yeah sure, blame your mother.

And here is a playlist of some videos I took:

And yes, I'm still glowing and floating from the show, the meet and greet, the singing and the great fun I had with all my friends all weekend long.

Voice lesson tomorrow. Can't wait to tell my voice teacher all about it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mars Fan Tutte!

Wow wow wow wow!!! Saw 30 Seconds to Mars last night. AMAZING ADVENTURE!!!! We had the more-than-I've-ever-paid-for-an-opera-ticket tickets which gave us early entry to the venue and a meet and greet with the band after.

We were told to get there at 5. We got there at about 4:45 and had to stand out in the freezing rain until they checked us in, 1 at a time. We were all like, Ok wait we paid from $250-$450 per ticket (depending upon the VIP level) and we can't wait INSIDE while you do this? But the chick in charge (who was really very nice) said that they allowed only 5 people in at a time. Some people were there in just t-shirts. It was brrrrr coooollllldddd but we survived. Then we got wristbands and went to wait in a little lobby area. After a while they let us into the venue and we went straight to the barrier where we planted ourselves for the evening. I was directly in front of the guitarist. I actually sent him a direct message on Twitter to tell him I was there and I'd wave my long braid at him. I did, and he gave me the thumbs up, although I learned later at the meet & greet that he didn't see the message until AFTER the performance! So I was just another lunatic doing weird stuff until then. Well I still might be, but anyway... The concert was great. I LOVED being on the barrier. I made friends with security. When Jared had people move up, I braced myself and held on. There was a cool breeze, I could breathe, I could hang on. I wasn't moving from my spot, no way, no how. Here are some photos of my view of the stage:

Yeah. We were that close.

The concert was awesome. The people around us were all totally into it and going nuts. I heard later that the back of the crowd was kind of tame, but we had no idea. As Jared says, the front is for the people who want to go crazy, and we were going crazy. It was like an out-of-body experience.

After the show we waited in the pit area for the meet and greet. The rules were, no cameras, no hugs, no asking for hugs. Can only imagine what has happened in the past to prompt that one. They had us line up in this long line, then the band members came out and went down the line, chatting and signing things. I had made opera-mars bracelets for them.

Now, I know that most of my readers will know what these bracelets are about, but for the non-opera folk, here's your explanation.

"ZauberTomo" is taken from Mozart's Die Zauberflote, the Magic Flute. So we have, Magic Tomo!
Shannonini - Man that was a hard one to come up with. I already gave him (via a friend from Austria who saw them in Switzerland, ain't the internet grand??) a bracelet that says "Don Shannovanni," and seriously, how could I top that? So I looked through one of the opera books I have and finally came up with Shannonini, inspired by Rossini, Bellini and so on.
And finally, my favorite, for Jared. "Mars Fan Tutte," from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. You know. "All girls are like that" or "All the girls do that." In the context of the opera, it's basically that all girls cheat on their boyfriends. But in THIS context, it's "all girls do (meaning, are into) Mars" OR, using the "fan" as the English word fan, all Mars fans... are girls!! Which I know is not true. So no need to get all up in arms. There are plenty of male fans. But most of the audience seems to be female. So how amazing is that pun?? Huh?? I was so excited when I came up with it, because I'm such a dork. But there you go.

So here comes the absolutely amazing and crazy part of this adventure.

I was excited but not nervous or star struck about the meet and greet. I got over that after my idiotic star-struck meeting with Nathan Gunn back in 2008. So the guys are coming down the line. Shannon is first. He's the drummer. I introduced myself, we fist-bumped hello (is that the germ-free handshake?) and I told him I sing opera, mentioned the Don Shannovanni bracelet (he had no idea what I was talking about, no surprise there) and gave him Shannonini. He was like a little kid. "You sing opera? REALLY? Sing something!" I joked with him, "Wait a sec. I think I'm the one who paid to see YOU perform..." and he kept saying, "No, really! Sing something!" so I said ok. He stepped back to the middle of the room, told the band video guy to film and said, "Hey Jared! Jared! listen..." Inside I was like, "Holy cr@p, this isn't happening" and outside I looked at the camera, took a deep breath and lapsed into "performance mode," which, as you all know, generally means imaging the Cupola Man in the cupola of the church in that painting in my voice teacher's house. Cupola Man... oh wait a sec. That's Jared. One of the people who inspires me to sing my best. He was there. Cupola man was there. IN THE ROOM. I sang the first few measures of Ombra mai fu before the "cupola man is in the house" realization hit me like a ton of bricks and I got nervous. But I have to say, I'm pretty damn proud of myself. I had my voice on the air and when I hit those upper notes it RANG through the venue, clear as a bell. I could hear everyone sort of get quiet when I started, but when I went up and got loud, the place went SILENT. My friends said that Jared glanced over when I started, but his head WHIPPED around when my voice rang out. Luckily for me I didn't see that. So I sang a few measures, then stopped when the brain-bricks hit me and asked Shannon if that was enough. He was like, "You have an amazing voice!" and I said, "I can't believe I just sang in front of everyone, look, now I'm shaking." We chatted a bit more, he signed the back of my t-shirt and moved on. Next came Jared. Fist-bump hello. I'm like, "So obviously you know that I sing opera... I made you this bracelet, it's a pun, I won't tell you what it means..." and he said something about google... which now as I read that I hope didn't come out rude! I was still all off-kilter from singing. I mean, I can't friggin' believe that I did that. I wasn't star struck. I was post I-can't-believe-I-just-sang-for-people-on-the-spur-of-the-moment traumatized. He told me to take care of my voice, he signed my shirt and moved on. Then Tomo came, saw my mass of hair and said, "OH!! Now I get it. I didn't see your tweet until after the show." It was pretty funny. Gave him his opera bracelet, we chatted, he signed my shirt and moved on. After they finished the chat-n-sign it was time for photos. When it was my turn I said to Shannon, "You're not gonna make me sing again, are you?" and he said he was impressed, he didn't think I'd actually do it. Yeah, I don't believe I did it either. Then they took the photo and that was it.

My friends and I all went to a diner where it slowly sunk in that Shannon asked me to sing... and I did. And I did a halfway decent job. I imagine they'll remember me...

I love my life.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Quckie

Quickie post here...

Got a great, really helpful comment on my previous post. I tried it... and it worked! Focusing on the a of soave made the other notes just sort of... bounce off into the right place. And so far I'm able to do it about 90% of the time.

I haven't been to my coach in a while. I really really REALLY have to call her. Hoping to start back up with her next week.

My lessons are getting better and better, just more and more fun plus more and more work, but GOOD work. My teacher has me going back to older pieces I've sung, to keep them fresh. And, I assume, for me to apply what I've learned since I last sang them.

And now... I must run and prepare for an ADVENTURE!!! Going to see Thirty Seconds to Mars tomorrow night about 3 hours north of here. It's supposed to snow/sleet/rain tomorrow so we're going up tonight. Pictures and a full report to follow of course!