Friday, March 30, 2007

Happy Friday!

My plans for this weekend are uber exciting. Basically, I am becoming a hermit until Monday April 9th at 1:00 pm. It's the only way my voice, body, and mind are going to make it through the next ten days. Not only is next week Holy Week (to quote the one and only reluctant receptionist, "By the end of holy week, singers with church jobs are ready to get up on the cross themselves), but I've somehow got to learn, polish, and memorize 75% of my recital music, plus finish learning, rehearse and perform (premier!) this completely crazy contemporary opera. After learning and performing George Crumb's Apparation last year, I thought I could do just about anything, but this is challenging me in new and unheard of ways. At one point in a rehearsal this week, I told the composer that I refused to make the noise he desired me to make. So yeah... But come check it out if you like that sort of thing (weird electronic music, people making crazy sounds, etc.) Info here .
Tonight's activities will include doing my laundry and my taxes. Super fun, no? There may or may not be Chinese food, Ben and Jerry's, and a hot bubble bath as well. When I decide to stay in and be girly/productive, I do it up right. And when I decide to be a hermit, I REALLY become a hermit. I've spent entire weekends in complete silence, which most people, even my singer friends, find ridiculous, but sometimes it is necessary.
The FANTASTIC news of today is that I accepted a role with Light Opera Works for their production of the operetta Bitter Sweet this August! It's a small role, but they also asked me to understudy the lead! I'm thrilled that one of my auditions paid off, plus I will get to be in a show this summer and meet new people and most importantly, GET PAID! Not alot, but it's a start. Another bit of semi-good news: In order to accept the role, I had to make a call to a company that I was still waiting to hear from, Opera North, just in case by some act of God they were going to give me a contract. I spoke with one of their admins, and she said that since I hadn't received a rejection, it means the artistic director liked my audition and I am on a "waiting list"--meaning I won't most likely get a contract but they were considering me!! So it's a step up from last year when they flat out rejected me. I'm waiting to hear from Indianapolis Opera as well...cross your fingers!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bad Blogger, Bad!

I know, you've all been waiting with baited breath to know what is going on in the life. The truth is...I became so lazy in Greece that the act of blogging become too much of a task, and since I've been home I have barely had time to sit down for five minutes. Between planning and executing my sister's Bachelorette party here in Chicago last weekend, which involved many out of town guests, one naughty erotic store in Wicker Park, and many, many cocktails; getting my Master's recital together for the permission (presenting 75% to the faculty) in less than two weeks; starting Dialogues of the Carmelites rehearsals; and trying to learn this insane contemporary opera that I agreed to do during a moment of complete insanity, I have barely had a moment to catch my breath. (The Bachelorette party, by the way, was a HUGE hit and so much fun--I had forgotten what a fabulous hostess I make! Here are a couple of photos):

The vagina pillow/puppet, which created endless fun:

The Bachelorette receives her embarrassing presents:

The whole gang at G-Boutique:

Sippin' Big Cocktails at Big Bar:

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and the laziness of Greece and the crazy party of last weekend are long gone. Gone are the days of last quarter when I could lounge about and watch episodes of The Office on my laptop all day long. The next ten weeks will be a challenge, and at the end of it, I will have a very expensive piece of paper from Northwestern. Then what? Who knows....

Sunday, March 18, 2007

more words from abroad

Life is good here in Athens. I've been sleeping inordinate amounts, pefecting the great art of lazing, taking in beautiful views in beautiful weather, snuggling with my honey, and generally being wonderfully happy. Save for a small one-day stomach bug and a little bit of a head cold that I caught from Nick, I've been having a terrific time on my second trip to Greece. This trip has been a bit more laid back; I saw most of the touristy sights on my first trip, so we haven't felt the need to rush out and do everything in a short period of time. Yesterday we spent a lovely Saturday walking around town, shopping, stopping for a freddo (Greek coffee drink, like an iced latte), people watching, and hiking up Filopappou Hill to take in the view of the Acropolis and Athens on such a gorgeous day (funny enough, most of the Greek people were wearing their winter coats, and I was wearing a t-shirt -- guess that says something about the weather I've become accustomed to in Chicago these days). We've spent some time with Nick's nephews, who are adorable as ever. We took a scenic drive to Sounio to check out some ruins and dined at a little cafe right on the sea.
And I've eaten plenty, as usual. The one-day stomach bug set me back a bit, but as the true foodie I am, I rallied and have been eating like a champ ever since. Last night we had a spectacular dinner in Psiri, a trendy "going-out" area of Athens, followed by some amazing gelato. The dinner consisted of some rooster with yogurt honey dipping sauce, pork with a spicy sauce, eggplant with melted feta on top, and salad. Delish. Tonight we plan to go to one of my favorite places, The Pigs, which serves up some of the yummiest souvlaki I've ever tasted. I've also had plenty of my favorite Greek pastries--bougatsa, galaktabouriko--and some new ones that I don't remember the names.
And now for some pictures:

from the drive to Sounio:

Temple of Poseidon at Sounio (it was very windy, I look like I'm about to blow over):

Emily and Nick at Sounio:

Still blowing away:

seaside lunch:

Greeks put lemon on everything!:

The little guy climbing on his uncle:

More pics later! Must go bask in Greek sunshine!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

dna test

This test, which I stole from my friend the reluctant receptionist (see link in favorites below), is very fun. You should take it. I made Nick take it too, and we had the same Love Personality. Here are my results:

For those of you who are pesonally acquainted avec moi, you can see this pretty much fits me to a T. What does your VisualDNA test show?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

midwest princess goes global!

Dear readers, I am writing to you from Zurich, Switzerland! Their very fancy airport has wireless for a very reasonable price, so I signed on to pass the time during my layover. It's a beautiful day here in die Schweiz, but this girl is a bit weary from the past day's events and journey. Yesterday was a bit of a harrowing day that went something like this:

8:00 am - wake, shower, grab latte and muffin, last minute cramming before exam
9:00 am - 11:00 am - wrote essay exam on German Expressionism in the arts. My hand hurts.
11: 00 am - 12:00 pm - warm-up voice, look over music for audition taking place in the afternoon
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm - phone meeting with Buffy, my new boss (sort of) for my Mary Kay business (more about that later)
1:00 pm - 1:30 pm - madly get pretty for audition
1:30 pm - leave for audition
2:20 pm - sing audition. It was fine. The room was completely dead due to wall-to-wall carpet and drapes, and I pushed a little too much, but that's nothing new.
4:30 pm - due to complete inefficiency of El, do not arrive home until 2 hours later. Haven't packed one thing or eaten anything since the muffin.
4:45 pm - my darling lifesaver cousin Ang goes and gets me a cheeseburger from Wolfgang Pucks. I inhaled it, and I believe it saved my life.
5:15 pm - panic sets in. madly throw things into suitcase. as long as i have my meds i'm fine. i can buy a whole new wardrobe at Zara if necessary. ooh i like the sound of that.
5:50 pm - leave for airport

AGGGGH! I am feeling a bit more relaxed now, but the whole day I was in a complete panic room and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Not fun. The good news is, I'm a mere 4 hours away from seeing my man! YAAAAY! And a wonderful ten days off of school and singing. More later, it's 'bout time to board!

Friday, March 09, 2007

the last month or so, in pictures

Valentine's Day

The new addition to the apartment

The makeshift "bedroom"

The Midwest parents in Venice

The big news of today: I GOT BANGS! Pics to follow, my camera is out of battery.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

me vs. the insomnia

Unfortunetely, my ongoing battle with insomnia ensues. Last night was particularly awful, so awful in fact, that I broke down sobbing this morning and couldn't go through with my voice lesson. I can hardly stand up I'm so exhausted, let alone do something as rigorous as classical singing. If this is what it is like when you have a baby and are up all hours of the night, I will already know what it's like when the time comes. I think I can officially call this problem "chronic", or so they say on WebMD, if your insomnia goes on for a month or more. I attribute this to one or all of the following causes:

1. Stress over auditions. Auditions leave you raw and tired. You're putting yourself out there, and more often than not, you get rejected. Imagine going on blind date after blind date and having the person tell you you're not for them over and over and's kind of like that. And I've been on over twelve auditions in the past two months.

2. Stress and anxiety over the current separation (of an ocean) between me and my boyfriend.

3. Stress at school. School is usually not terribly stressful, but lately it's been a tad difficult to juggle everything I have going on at the same time.

4. Poor diet. I haven't been the best about eating healthy lately. At some point I realized I can eat whatever I want and stay skinny, thereby exempting me from eating healthy foods. Also I can't seem to find the time to cook anything, or I just feel too lazy, and ordering Pad Thai from next door is so much easier and yummier.

5. Poor sleeping habits. Since I have a studio apartment, I spend most of my relaxation time in my bed. I often eat, study, watch TV, talk on the phone, and do various other things in my bed. I am also guilty of eating close to bedtime.

6. Added stress over the possibility of getting addicted to sleep aids. My doctor has assured me that this won't happen, but I keep reading horrible things online about the side effects of these drugs.

Today, I decided to make some changes. My doctor had discussed herbal remedies, but until today I hadn't given any of them a try. So, I journeyed over to Whole Foods and bought the following:

1. Valarian Root. It comes in this little dropper and apparently I put some drops in my tea at night and it works like a sleep aid. Only it's totally herbal. I'm going to try it tonight; I'll let you know how it goes.

2. Bedtime Tea and Kava Stress Reliever Tea.

3. Lavendar aromatherapy foaming bath crystals

When I got home from Whole Foods, I feng shui-ed (sp?) my entire apartment...meaning I moved all the furniture around. I'm not entirely sure what feng shui means, and I'm pretty sure you have to do more detailed research about where to put your bed and stuff, but I felt that moving it to a different wall would achieve the desired result. Then I walked two blocks to Affordable Portables, where I bought a futon and one of those Chinese screen thingies, so I can atleast create the appearance of having a bedroom in my tiny apartment. The futon will be delivered on Thursday, and I'm elated. This means that I will no longer spend a large portion of the day on my bed, and that I will actually have a sort of "living room" space in my apartment. After moving all that furniture, I took a long bath and sipped some of the Kava Tea. I am feeling better already.

So it was a rather expensive day, and my credit card got a rigorous workout, but I can't think of a better investment than my health and well-being. And I must say, the apartment is looking here's to a good night's sleep.

Monday, March 05, 2007

word from abroad

My sister forwarded me an email a couple of days ago that my parents had written her, telling her to forward it to me because they couldn't write me unless I wrote them. I didn't really understand why, until I got this email from my mother this morning:

"Hey Emily, We couldn't e-mail you because the keyboard is different and we couldn't find the "at" sign. :) We just got back from a beautiful gondola ride. Very expensive but very cool and a must do. Our driver was great. Venice is an amazing place. We will call you tomorrow. This is my last time to ck e-mail. Love ya, Mom"

"@" sign debacle aside, they seem to have had an amazing trip. Hopefully Mom will send me a few (hundred) pics so I can post one or two on the 'blog.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


I know it's been awhile since my last post, so let me bring you up to date:

*Last weekend I competed in the annual Bel Canto Foundation Italian opera contest at Monastero's restuarant. I was very happy to get past the inital round of competition, since only 16 out of 72 people were chosen for the preliminary round. I didn't advance to the semi-finals, but I received a lovely check for $250 as my prize for making it to the preliminaries, which now holds the record for the most money I've ever been awarded for singing. I hope to increase that in the near future with some other contests I'm doing.

*I got a callback for a role with Light Opera Works! It's coming up this week and I have to prepare a couple of songs for it.

*Winter quarter ends next Friday, so school has been rather intense lately. I had a little panic attack on Friday thinking about my upcoming Master's recital, for which the recital permission is two weeks after we come back from Spring Break. ACH! The recital will be May 5th at 6:15 pm, but more on that as the time approaches. Right now I have to concentrate on learning the music and finding an oboeist.

*Last week I went to see Dialogues of the Carmelites at Lyric. It was an amazing production, and afterward I got to go backstage and say hello to Anna Christy, whom I met two years ago when I was an actress in a production there. And I saw Susan Graham, who wasn't even in the opera, just hanging out backstage! I was starstruck! Seeing the production made me more excited about the upcoming NU production of Dialogues in which I will be playing one of the nuns. It's a powerful opera and beautiful music, and I'm excited to to start learning it.

*And finally (and most exciting), I booked my flight and am headed back to Greece for ten days over Spring Break! I got a great deal on a ticket, and I am really looking forward to a relaxing ten days with my boyfriend (with some memorizing of recital music squeezed in). Our hope is that Nick will come back for good with me on the 22nd, so I am praying that it works out. I'm ready for the trans-atlantic relationship to come to an end so I can have my boyfriend back on the same continent as I am!

So, that's about it. Nothing too crazy, just lots of singing and trying to stay sane. Good thing there's booze and pills.

Only kidding. Ok, half kidding.