Rain. High of 65. That’s been the past couple of days. But, honestly, I can’t really complain considering most of the US is sweltering in above 100 degree heat.

This past week was absolutely amazing. I sang on the orchestral concert in the Rigoletto quartet, and had an absolute blast. The conductor was amazing. It’s very rare that you work with a conductor who so cares about the singers. I congratulated him and thanked him afterwards, and he responded with, “Oh no! Thank you! It is so fun working with you singers.” And he actually meant it! Normally the conductor wants to kill us! But he was really fantastic. I’d work with him any day.

This week is the next orchestral concert, on which I’ll be singing “Assisa a pie d’un salice” from Rossini’s Otello. I’m excited to be working with Met conductor Joseph Colaneri. I’ll keep you updated on how it’s goes.

Other than that, I’m singing on a master class tomorrow with Kathleen Kelly, the Studienleiter (head coach) for the Vienna State Opera and will be auditioning for more agents in the next weeks and preparing for the Meistersinger Competition.

I am very pleased with how this summer has gone. I’ve gained more experience and had more fun that I had ever expected!

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Graz Update

July 18, 2011

I have been remiss in my Graz updates (well, except for the drivers) so you’re going to get it all here.

I’ve been here 2 weeks, and they have absolutely flown by. Here’s the 30 second highlight reel:

1) First week I sang a hearing (aka – audition) for the faculty from which master classes and concert were cast.

2) I was one of a few to work with the fantastic Wagnerian Soprano, Linda Watson privately and in a master class setting. For my non-opera folks, this was quite an honor.

3) I have been in cast in both operatic orchestral concerts, for which I am very, very happy. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to sing both the Rigoletto quartet and Desdemona’s Aria from Rossini’s Otello (not Verdi:)). I’ll be singing under the baton of Alexander Kalajdzic and Joseph Colaneri, respectively.

4) The AIMS Festival Orchestra held their first concert last night with Alexander Klajdzic conducting, and they were fantastic! I am very excited to be able to sing with such a talented group.

I’ve made a lot of new friends and colleagues and can’t wait for what comes next!

More tongue and cheek posts on the way!

4)

Austria, here I come!

June 27, 2011

Well, it’s final. I’m heading to Austria to participate in the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria! I leave Wednesday, June 29 and will return August 17. After receiving a very generous scholarship, a grant, a concert and many supporters, I’m off to sing in the Land of Mozart!

I’ll be keeping my blog updated while I’m gone, so check back!

Dirt Roads and Opera

May 31, 2011

The adventure continues.

Last weekend, my husband and I went down to Pensacola for an audition. Now, I’ve made this trip to Pensacola a number of times. I’ve auditioned for them a few times (as a side note: the folks at Pensacola Opera are quite possibly some of the most wonderful people to audition for. If you’re in the area, go see a show. Their season is January thru April) and my brother went to flight school down there, so I’m used to the drive. I’ve almost got it memorized.

Well, we hit a little snag in the road when all of a sudden, all 3 lanes of interstate traffic came to a halt in Alabama. Now, I’m quite used to this now because pretty much all of I-65 in Alabama is one big construction zone. If you’re wondering where all that Obama stimulus went? It’s in Alabama, Mississippi and Harlem. No joke. Those are the only places I’ve seen signs attributing the massive funds to that stimulus. But I digress. So I suspected that was the issue. Always the impatient driver, I pulled out my handy little phone, told Google where I was and begged it to tell me what the problem was (Remember, I was stopped, so therefore, not technically using my phone while driving). Well, there was no info on why, but it did definitely tell me that the traffic was stopped for the next 15 miles! Being the astute driver I am (oh yeah, I’m really smart), I decided that was outrageous, and we exited the interstate to take the back roads.

The backroads were awesome! Well, that is until everyone else had pulled out Google, found out that there was a serious problem and discovered our backroads. Stopped once again in traffic, I once again submitted to the almighty power of Google to find out the backup was 5 miles long. At this point, many people would give up. But not me! Oh, no! There are many more roads to take, and if they exist, I will find them!

Needing refreshment and a potty break, we stopped at quite possibly the nicest gas station I’ve ever seen in Jemison, Alabama. The cashier informed us that an 18-wheeler tanker something or other had overturned and both directions of the interstate were shut down. We asked if there were other backroads. And, of course, there were.

Taking her advice, and with the direction of the almighty Google, we set out away from the backed up traffic.

Now, because we were glued to the almighty Google, we didn’t really pay attention to where we were going. We did what Google said. It was kind of like the game of Simon Says. We saw another back up ahead, so we made a quick right turn to outsmart them all. Well, that right turn turned out to be a dirt road! So here we wer, in a brand new rental, driving down a bumpy dirt road on the way to an opera audition. Really? Is this really my life? Granted, I grew up on a dirt road in Arkansas, so I am very familiar with the art of navigating the dirt road. But on the way to an opera audition?

We followed that little dirt road until it hit another state highway, turned again onto another highway, hit another back up, but this time decided to follow the locals in their huge 4×4 trucks across a field (oh yeah, you can’t stop me in my little Chevy Cruze rental, baby), skirted that back up, followed more back roads, made an emergency turn again that spit us out on yet another dirt road! Yes, folks, 2 dirt roads in 30 minutes. I haven’t been on that many dirt roads in a day since I moved out of Arkansas at the age of 10!

Eventually, we made it back to the highway and outsmarted all of those other people who were too scared of those dirt roads. But not me. Why? Because I am an opera singer. You can’t stop us. We are, er…um…too stupid to stop. If we see an opportunity, we go for it, no matter what.

But what you should also be reminded of in this story is that people think that being an opera singer is glamorous and exciting. I hope that by now, if you have been reading my blog for very long, you are not that naive. I’ll give you exciting, but glamorous? Well, you know better.

Dessert Before Dinner is back for another round of exciting operatic entertainment!!!

After the smashing success of the show in the Fall, it is being revived again on a different stage with new music, but the same players!

Maggie Moo’s will again be catering the fantastic ice cream, coffee will be out for enjoyment and rumor has it there will also be some wine around:). Here are the details:

Friday, May 13
6:30 pm
9501 Wicklow Road, 37027
This is a private residence, so if you plan on attending, please carpool if possible.

There is no charge, but as always, donations are accepted. This time, all donations are tax-deductible as I am raising funds to attend AIMS, American Institute of Musical Studies, in Austria. Although given a very large scholarship, my goal left raise is around $5,000 by May 15.

Hope to see you there!

The Short Bed

November 23, 2010

I’m sitting at my computer right now on my “bed” which you see pictured above, contemplating my life. I am in Wiesdbaden. My voice teacher, Alan, has come into the country for an audition so I’m hanging with him to have a lesson and meet some folks. We are staying in a one room apartment which was advertised as having a pull out couch. Well, as you can see, the couch pulls out, but there seems to be something missing – because the only soft parts of the bed are the parts I’m laying on. The other part is solid wood. Something isn’t quite right. We’re guessing there’s a pad that needs to lay on top of this, but we can’t find it. So I’m sleeping on a bed that is the length of someone half my size in the same room as my teacher (who also happens to be a great friend) with a thin blanket over me pumped full of xanax and Ambien so I can get to sleep in this extraordinary situation.

And it is at times like this that I sit back and evaluate my life. I mean, I know no life is normal, but I could be back at my 2300 square foot house with a fire blazing in the fireplace next to my husband drinking wine and then moving into the bedroom where I have a king sized, soft bed and…well, I’ll leave that story there, but you get the picture. Instead, I’m in Germany living out of my suitcase, going from place to place not knowing what to except and ending up on a bed that is 1/3 too short!

And then I wonder, perhaps sleeping on the short bed implies the same thing as riding the short bus…

Another reason arts are crazy!

Why Opera Singers Are Crazy

November 21, 2010

You try looking for work every 3 weeks of your life and pay for the priveledge to sing for these people out your own pocket. Try being in a job where you are only as good as the last note you sang. Try being in a job where one person tells you you are the next big thing and then the next you’re told not to quit your day job. Try being in a job where you travel by train to Vienna, fly out afterwards to Hannover so you can take a train to Bielefeld and after that on your way to…wait… Where am I going? Who am I? What did I come here to do? What country am I in? Did I leave my phone on the last train? Whew…no. But I left my book in the taxi…with my German rail pass in it. What bed am I in? Who is waiting for me when I open the door today? Do I need to show my passport or is my driver’s license enough? Oh, the room I’m staying in tonight at the booked out hotel is a smoking room, and I requested a non smoking room because I have an audition tomorrow, but they can’t move me. Oh, the house you put me up has cats?…that’s nice…except that I specifically requested not to have cats because I’m allergic. Oh, thank you so much for making me breakfast of french toast and maple syrup. While I love it, I mentioned that I’m allergic to sugar and wheat so I actually can’t eat any of this fantastic food that you have just put before my grumbling belly. What friend can I call to see if I can crash at their place for a few days for an audition? Who haven’t I bothered in awhile? You get off an airplane in a country that does not have water fountains and are taken directly to the theater, and there’s no water to be found. Your bed at the hotel was a board with some fluffy stuff on top of it. The plane you booked is not the plane you thought you booked because your brain was running crazy with everything else in your life and you booked out of the wrong city. So a last minute expensive change gets you to where you are going 3 hours late. You stumble into your hotel room at 1 and hope that the notes that once lived in your body can still find a way out after that day. The eyes close…

…and the alarm goes off to start over again…

Success

October 21, 2010

I have completed 3 auditions, and one agent has taken me on! I’m excited about this opportunity, as I think this could be a good match.

More updates to follow…

Jetzt geht’s los

October 17, 2010

Tomorrow, Monday, the reason I am here is beginning. I have my first audition ever in Germany. I have no idea what to expect except to go in and sing my little tush off. I’m set for 4 German time which is 10 for my EST friends and 9 for the CST. Send good vibes, say a prayer, think really positive things:). You guys are awesome!

Last night in country

October 12, 2010

Tomorrow my journey to Germany begins. The night before any great adventure is filled with many feelings competing for top tier. I am excited about the prospect of the unknown. At the same time, I have a sense of foreboding -no not foreboding, but an apprehension of the unknown. This is one of those times in my life where I am taking a HUGE step into something that offers nothing of substance in return. I feel somewhat like how Moses might’ve felt when God promised to part the Red Sea but Moses had to step out before the water moved. I’d be like, “Yo, God, um, can have a chat? Um, that water is, uh, still there.” God, “That’s the point” Well, that’s where I’m at. I see the water, I see my foot and it is in the action of stepping. What it will land on remains to be seen, but what is firm is that this tour will not be in vain.

For my readers who pray, please pray for me and also for my hubby and for our relationship. We’ve been separated longer, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Pray for those who will hear me audition and for all the people I will meet – that somehow I can offer them a piece of me and a piece of God. If you aren’t praying folk, I would suggest 1) That you try. God might like hearing from you:) 2) If you don’t like option 1 try again and if still not your deal, send your positive thoughts and energy.

The main areas I’ll be living are Freiburg (Breisgau) in Baden-W├╝ttemberg and Augsburg in Bayern, but I will be traveling all over the country. Perhaps I can find an interactive map to put up here so you can keep track of me. Anyone have any suggestions?