Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Every time I walk into Lincoln Center and see the arches of the Metropolitan Opera House I want to jump around and giggle. Like this. Just the sight of the fountain and those arches fills my stomach with happy butterfly flips.

So even though I wasn’t attending an opera Monday evening, I still got those tummy flips as I entered Lincoln Center to attend a performance of Nathan Gunn and Kelli O’Hara with the NY Philharmonic. The theme: Classic Broadway.

But of course let’s back up a moment. For when does a blog entry of mine ever start with a review of the performance? No no no. We must discuss the entire adventure.

The adventure began the day before the performance. I trekked into NYC to meet Ann for our annual Gunn performance outing. We hopped in a cab downtown to a FABULOUS Greek restaurant called Snack. It was TINY. We got the last available table (there are 5 total) and feasted on grape leaves, skordalia, white anchovies and other goodies:

Then we walked around the village a little (that’s Greenwich Village, for all you out-of-towners) and wandered into the few boutiques that were still open at 8:30 on a Sunday night. I got a FABULOUS selection of rhinestony items, including this: for a Grant Total of $10.

Breakfast in the hotel was on the 33rd (I think) floor, which boasted a lovely view of buses exiting the Lincoln Tunnel:

The next day we wandered around NYC, did some shopping, I found a FABULOUS bargain on a FABULOUS raincoat that actually fits because it’s petite length!

We eventually made our way to Lincoln Center where I got those happy tummy flips as described above. I exchanged my extra Comte Ory tickets for a performance of Rigoletto in May. Had to upgrade to the orchestra. Confirmed frantically via text and telephone that the babysitter was available while I stood there at the box office window. I figure Husband will like Rigoletto - I’m toting it as “Verdi’s Greatest Hits.”

We trotted across the street to Cafe Fiorello where we feasted on the King’s Antipasto:

And finally we made our way to our seats in Row R of Avery Fisher Hall for the performance.

View from my seat:

And then... I got scolded by the usher for taking a photo. Oops. Phone off and into purse.

Confession: I always get a little nervous before a Gunn performance. I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing it’s because there’s been so much drama associated with past performances, both happy and ... not so pleasant... Or perhaps it's simply because I'm excited to be there? Either way, that anxiety quickly passed, and I’m happy to report that none of his entourage crossed my path. The usher scolding was as dramatic as it got. Whew.

Another confession: I’m not really that “into” Broadway tunes. I am, however, “into” hearing beautifully performed music. The concert itself was delightful! The NY Phil is an amazing amazing orchestra. What a treat to hear them play! And the singing... WOW!!! I believe this is the BEST I’ve ever heard Nathan sing, and I’ve seen him perform several times. I don’t know if it’s because he was wearing a microphone, or because it was not opera, or just that he was in top form, or what. His voice was AMAZING. Wait, what’s the word of the blog post? FABULOUS. He was fabulous. Kelli O’Hara has an absolutely beautiful voice too. Clear as a bell. And I took advantage of our proximity to the stage to pay particular attention to her technique - how she pronounced certain consonants and how wide open her mouth was. All thing my voice teacher has been telling me - to not over-pronounce, to open open open wide, to stand still. I realized that I understood the words even though she did not over-pronounce, and in fact, sometimes barely touched or even skipped the consonants completely. In between songs the conductor explained the history and context of the pieces, which was really really nice. He was very personable. It felt like a private conversation rather than a presentation to an audience. We left the theater smiling and feeling good. And not that anyone else’s opinion matters to me, I do want to point out that the NY Times reviewer felt the same way. Plus that's the article to read if you want all the musical details. My favorite line from the review (of course):

Mr. Gunn injected a note of lubricious sleaze into “Wouldn’t You Like to Be on Broadway” from “Street Scene.”

Afterwards, we changed out of our finery and walked around Times Square where we ran into Spiderman! Look! He complimented my hat... then he tried to steal my purse!! Hahaha!!

Next adventure: Comte Ory at the Met!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Still have to sell my extra Le Comte Ory tickets. Desperate to sell them, actually. I have them listed on Ebay AND Stub Hub. I have a sign up at work. I've posted it to the electronic "for sale" board at work. I've touched base with the guy who bought my Sonnambula tickets like 3 years ago. I've checked Craigslist. I've posted it multiple times to Twitter and Facebook. So far, nothing.

Luckily, I'm going to NYC on Monday to see this. Conveniently, it's located next door to the Met Opera. Also conveniently, as a subscriber I can exchange tickets up to a week prior to a performance. So if they don't sell by then, I'll exchange them for Rigoletto in May. I will continue to try to sell them, but if I can't, then I'll go. Husband will go too if we can find a babysitter. But hopefully, since people have actually heard of Rigoletto, I'll be able to sell the tickets.

On the singing front, I've been asked to perform with The Opera Project in recitals on April 16 and May 7th. Hm but thinking about that, will I be able to make the rehearsals? Going to see Comte Ory on Sat the 2nd, which means taking a train at about 3:30. Will be in Florida on Saturday the 9th. The 7th is a week after the 30 Seconds to Mars concert. Depending on what time I'm heading to Camden, I should be able to make that rehearsal. If I go first… but maybe there'll be one on April 23. I can make that day. I wish that were the day of the April recital. I can make a rehearsal the Saturday before, no problem.

Whew. It's fun to be busy but not when my busy-ness interferes with my availability to perform.

So… who wants to by the opera tickets?? Anyone? Send me an email by Sunday, March 20 - luindriel@gmail.com - and we can make a deal.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Coughing Through the Oldies

Welcome to the sick house. Luckily it's not the kind of virus you can catch from reading a blog. We have all had some version of "what's going around." Had to skip my voice lesson this week, not because of my chronic coughing-up-a-lung cough, but because the evening before I was up at 3am with Alex and his over 103.1 degree fever. I say "over" because I took it with an ear thermometer, and that thing registers us as having body temps of 95 when we're healthy... so who knows what his temp actually was? He's doing much better now except for his coughing-up-a-lung cough that seems to be much worse for him than it is for me. My poor little future opera-singer baseball-player astronaut.

I've been going back on my own and revisiting many of the songs I learned with my previous teacher, to try and apply all I've learned since then. It's interesting because my body falls into the same old habit of how I sang those songs when I learned them, even though I know proper technique and what I need to do to make them ring out on top of the air. So then I go back and do them without consonants, and note by note, to make sure each and every note is getting on top of the air. And then still, when I try to sing it, I sometimes slip back into bad habits here and there. Mostly at the beginning or end of a phrase. Like it takes me a few notes to get up to where I want to be, and then I let down early. So I then go back and force myself to pay extra attention, over and over, so I can relearn the songs the correct way. Maybe one day (when I'm home alone) I'll record myself singing one of them. I really want to retry Gretchen am Spinnrade. Of course I have no idea how to pronounce most of the words, which sort of puts a damper on learning it... But I'll get it.

At my previous lesson I started learning "The Sun Whose Rays are all Ablaze" from the Mikado. Gilbert & Sullivan!! Learning it for real!! How fun!! Here's a sample so you can hear how it sounds.

As we were going over it, the next student was out in the foyer and heard me. She commented on how much I've improved since she last heard me sing. People keep saying that - I know it's a compliment and I do take it as such, and thank them graciously, because I truly am thankful, but it does sort of make me feel embarrassed at how bad I must have been before, for so many people to comment on how much I've improved. I know they don't mean that either, but it does cross my mind. And while it does make me wish I had started studying voice years ago, I'm also so very grateful for having started when I did. And I can never express how thankful I am for Alex's early childhood music teacher for putting me on that path.