Thursday, October 30, 2008


Sorry no tour posts this week guys. It's been a spotty internet week and my precious Macbook has been acting annoying.

The amazing news I have to share is that one of my auditions turned out really splendidly last week -- I am a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional auditions on Sunday!!! Go here if you want to learn more about these auditions. Basically, it's a huge honor to even make it to the regional finals, and if you win at the regionals you get to go to NYC to compete in the national finals. Chicago is a tough region and a lot of my friends have traveled to other, less singer-populous regions in order to try and win (you can audition anywhere, doesn't matter where you live). I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try in Chicago! I just saw the list of finalists and one of the other sopranos is currently a young artist at Chicago yeah, I'm pretty happy to just be on a list with her! :) I really needed this boost, and I'm super excited for Sunday's's like a concert, there is an audience, we wear formal attire and it's being broadcast on WFMT, the classical station in Chicago!!

Since I've been on tour this week, I haven't practiced at all besides singing our show, but luckily the aria I'm starting with is Ach ich fuhls, which is Pamina's aria from Magic Flute, which I sing (albeit in English) in this touring show. So I've gotten five cracks at it in front of a very tough crowd -- elementary school kids. :) Tonight I started to feel a bit like I was coming down with something (quel horreur!) so I took three Zicam, drank a thing of airborne (I know it doesn't really work), took several vitamins and have been attempting to drown my internal organs with water (kidding, but I heard that someone actually did that and I wondered if they were a singer). Now I've taken two Nyquil and am planning to conk out for eight hours before heading back to Chi tomorrow. Oh the stress of singer life.

But now I'm back in it. Someone (the met auditions!) has told me, "yes, you have potential", and I am feeling hopeful and inspired again. I hope that I can ride on this feeling for some time. I want to be a singer, and I want to have a good career. I also want to have a family. I don't think this is asking too much. On Sunday, I'm going to go out there and sing my heart out. And then I'm going to go back on the road for another week, singing for kids and spreading the love of opera to children. Aren't I lucky and blessed to get to do that for a living?

I'll let you know how it goes on Sunday. I'm pumped. Nyquil is taking over now...signing out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

So, I wrote this long rambly post yesterday and then my stupid computer lost its internet connection (as it is wont to do these days) and BOOM, post gone. Sadness. Mostly for me, because it was not at all entertaining or fun to read. Maybe the universe was telling me that it was a cathartic exercise only and not meant for other people to read.

To sum things up, I've been having emotional/career crisis number 23093094834 this week, which seems to be pretty normal at this time of year, if my previous two years of blogging are any indication. I have two fairly major auditions this weekend (one is in four hours), for neither of which I feel very prepared, nor do I have an excuse for being unprepared. I'm going to keep that last great audition in mind as I head downtown today. If I can just pull that off again, I'll feel good. Lately I've just been realizing how much I WANT to be performing, not teaching. I've just gotten so jaded about the business, so convinced that hard work doesn't necessarily equal success, that I've forgotten how much I love it. To perform music at a very high level with amazing colleagues and friends -- that is what I love. So I guess I'm going to try to do more of that, whatever it takes.

And thank HEAVEN, I get to do just that for the next two weeks!!! I leave for OFY Fall tour on Sunday!!!! While I'll be very sad to be away from Nick for a week (I miss him when we're apart for 8 hrs, cheesy, I know), I'm thrilled to be back on tour. I was going through the show in my living room yesterday with my iPod (if anyone was looking in the windows they probably thought I was insane) and I found I'm REALLY really excited to do it again. I love (almost all) of the OFY cast, so I can't wait to reunite. The only downside -- the tour is in northern Wisconsin/Duluth area. It might snow. So I bought a really cute Columbia insulated fleece at Nordstrom Rack this week, because I just don't think giant down comforter coat is ready to make an appearance yet. Duluth Super 8, here I come!

So that's my life these days. Life is so confusing sometimes. Thank God for the people that love me, even through my craziness and mental breakdowns and uncertainty. Those people are what are most important, as I remind myself continuously every day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I'm feeling like total crap today. Is it the weather? Maybe. I just tried to warm up and my voice sounds like ass. Last week I was feeling all on top of it and now I can barely force myself to vocalize a little bit. Urgh. That's the way it always goes. I went to the gym this morning in hopes of stirring up some energy, but it did nothing but create more phlegm. I think I need to buy some more Zyrtec. I ran out this weekend, and allergies are ridic right now.

I'm doing a gig in Gary, Indiana this week. Oh, the things I'll do for a little bit of money. No, in all seriousness, it's a good gig. It's Faure Requiem, which is delightful, mostly pro choristers (extra delightful), and the conductor is good -- and hilarious, to boot. The rehearsals are downtown, but tomorrow and Friday I have to haul ass to Gary. Nick will go with me on Friday so that it's not so scary.

Still no word on Opera Santa Barbara. I don't even want to talk about it, it's been making me so edgy thinking about how much I want it. I'm so sick of teaching already, I would do anything to get away from it for a little while. Luckily my leg of OFY fall tour is in just a week and half! Which means I'll get a nice break from all my students, and I'll hopefully return refreshed and happy to see them. I really really wish I liked it more. Maybe once I get my own studio (in my house), it'll be better? Because truthfully, it's great, steady money and it's really not that hard. I have good ears, and I believe I'm a good teacher, but I just DREAD my long teaching days so much. Maybe it's carry-over laziness from not having to work all summer? I don't know, I just wish I didn't have that sense of dread. Maybe I just don't like being in charge? I don't know.

How 'bout some pics of my fabu weekend? Mom and Dad were in town for a wedding, and we all went out to dinner and to a show (Dirty Dancing!) on Friday night:

me and Nick at dinner

Then on Sunday we all went to church together (well, I was doing my job) and my great Aunt and Uncle joined us from the 'burbs. Here we are at brunch in Evanston.

This weekend will be equally fabulous -- Mom and my sister Elaine are coming to town to do some wedding stuff and attend a Bridal Show at Navy Pier! Saturday we are going to do some shopping for bridesmaid and mother of the bride gowns. We'll do a fantastic dinner somewhere, and then Sunday is the bridal show. Lots of fun!

Now, I just need to motivate myself to do some singing and not hate teaching. How do I do it? Bribing myself with sweets usually helps.....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gameface 2008

Most of you will remember me writing about audition season 2007, which Robert named: Nothing to Lose 2007. NTL 2007 went fairly well, and although I didn't get any gigs out of it, I got lots of good feedback and got my feet wet. Robert had a successful run of it, spending the summer as a young artist at New Jersey Opera Theater and being wait listed at several companies. So, when the time came to name this audition season, I waited with baited breath for Robert's proclamation. And then it came, in the form of a Nike t-shirt worn by one of his students on which read the following slogan: "When the gameface goes on, the beatdowns will commence shortly thereafter". And so, Gameface 2008 was born.

I kicked off Gameface 2008 this week with a stellar audition for Opera Santa Barbara young artist program. They heard all three arias, which is unheard of these days. Usually you they'll hear one, maybe one and a half if you're lucky, and two if you're REALLY lucky. I sang my first two arias, then they made me go in the hall for a moment, and then they brought me back in to sing my last aria. Very good sign, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much. That's the thing about these auditions. I've said it a hundred times and I'll say it again -- audition outcomes are dependent on so many factors beyond my control. The best thing to do is go in there looking your very best, sing the shit out of your arias, and then forget about it immediately. And so that's what I'm trying to do. I received an email that said I would hear by the end of next week, so I'm basically crapping my pants until then. It's that time of year again -- when every refresh of the email, every phone call, sends my stomach into knots, hoping and praying it's THE call.

My next audition is in two weeks for Des Moines Metro Opera yap. I was pleasantly surprised to receive the audition, since the past two years I've applied they've not heard me. The program dates would work out really well (ends in mid July, giving me plenty of time to get ready for the wedding) so I'm really glad they are hearing me. I'm not applying for nearly as many auditions this year, so it's great that I'm actually getting the few auditions for which I've applied. And that they are actually within my grasp -- I know several colleagues who have sung at both Opera SB and DMMO -- you don't have to be a superstar to get in.

So I'm feeling really good about the career stuff. I don't have quite as much time to practice as I'd like, since much of my singing energy is taken up by teaching and chorus gigs, but hey, gotsta pay the bills, and paying them with money from singing/teaching is waaaay better than the alternative (spending 8 hrs a day in an office and coming home exhausted from doing nothing and having no time to practice). Now that the high holidays are over, I should have some more singing energy for getting some new arias up and running. The next two weeks are going to fly by, however, and then I will be on whirlwind OFY fall tour for two weeks and then it will be almost the holidays. GEEZ where is the time going?

Well, this is getting long and rambly, per usual when I get going about singing crap. Tonight we are going to hear Natalie Dessay in Manon at the Lyric, and I'm extremely pumped. I need to go get Nick's reading materials compiled so that he can learn the plot and listen to a couple excerpts before tonight. It's very important to know something about the opera you're seeing -- otherwise it gets very boring and often confusing.

I'm off! Happy Weekend!

Friday, October 03, 2008

politics schmolitics

Ok, maybe I said I wouldn't go into politics on this here blog. And maybe I've been updating so infrequently that nobody reads it anymore. But I need to reprint something from Robert's blog that rings true for me (and I hope many others). I don't really think I can handle another four years of conservative Republican bullshit. What I REALLY can't handle is women, women just like me, voting for Sarah Palin -- because they don't know any better and think having a woman Vice-President would be pretty neat. IT WOULD NOT BE NEAT. Read this article and this article and then give me ONE GOOD REASON I would even consider voting for McCain/Palin. Then read Robert's words below.

beyond that, it just makes me worry. i know who i’m voting for (ron paul 2008!) and i have since before he got the official nod from his party. as i’ve always said, i goddamned had to vote for john kerry in 2004, so whether i was voting for Hillary (my primary choice) or Barack (no schlep of a second choice) was irrelevant. at least i had a good candidate to choose this time. but since my mind has been made up for so long, i don’t need to hear all of the idiosyncrasies of the road to the white house, all of the he-said/he-said’s and 10-second CNN soundbites. i don’t follow the polls day to day. i just hope beyond hope that america doesn’t vote a rich, old, racist homophobe puppet and his vapid, pandering choice of a running mate into office. if he does, all my friends joke that we’ll all have to expatriate. but, as i’ve said on this blog before, i refuse to leave my country just so that i can have the same rights as everyone else. plus, as i told elspeth yesterday, i can’t afford to live in the united states, much less canada. and it’s so damned cold.

when i got home last night, though, phong was watching the VP debate and i didn’t want to make him change the channel so i sat there watching it with him. we were all hoping that palin would fall on her ass, that america would see what a blundering fool she really is. what actually happened, though, is that she did an incredible impression of fucking george w. bush, her aw-shucks demeanor and rapid-fire tongue wagging (completely content-free as it may have been) mesmerizing the legions of midwesterners and southerners and white people afraid of a black person and fat housewives who have never registered to vote before they had the chance to vote “one of themselves” into office.

george w. bush pulled the wool over all of these fools’ eyes in 2000 and 2004, somehow convincing them that he was just like them, dumbing down his speech, assuring them all that he was a good ol’ boy. my greatest fear is that people who don’t pay attention, people who are so easily bought, will vote for mccain because they want to see a twit like palin in office. because she is “one of them.”

you know what? i don’t want somebody like me in office. i want somebody smarter than me in office. i want someone to lead this country who actually has experience and a clear idea of what their policy will be. if i led the country, god only knows what would happen. but, as usual, i’m preaching to the choir here. i just don’t know what else to do.

We cannot screw it up again, people.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


You know what's great? When your fiance calls you in the middle of the day to say he's coming home early and taking you out to lunch! I have the best fiance.

You know what else is great? FINALLY getting an audition for a company after much rigamarole with postal addresses, audition materials returned by the post office, emails, applications, etc. And a company that I actually have a prayer of being hired by, which would put me in Santa Barbara during February and March. Please God, let it be in my masterplan to work for this company.

You know what's really really great? FINALLY getting paid by all the companies that owe me money. And then sighing with relief as I pay my bills and do a leeeetle shopping (hellooo brown boots and pants that fit).

I'm in a great mood today, if you can't tell. :)