Heinz post.

Yep. A Ketchup/catch-up post.

  • Summer was baller. (i know, i know...but i do love that word.) Great people, great productions, great music. Another really fulfilling season, and while I'm not surprised at this point, I am grateful and in awe of my colleagues who have done some amazing artistic things. Tutti bravi!
  • I took two weeks off at the end of the season. I thought I was going to help Mom through some post-op, but ended up not...I have little to show for the time, but it was GLORIOUS.
  • Jessica Vanderhoof from Artists on Fire helped me streamline my closet. I gave a million things away...and somehow I'm having an easier time getting dressed in the morning.
  • I opened an Etsy store for my doodles. 
  • Hubs and I spent time with neighbors and pals, and did a lot of puttering around the house. We got new back steps and new plants (which we're trying to not kill in the glorious low-humidity.)
  • The University of Maryland invited me to sit for 2 days of audition intensives with their students. It was a thrill to go back to my alma mater, and to hear some great singing.
  • Had a great evening here: beautiful, AND tasty!
  • I missed the Wolf Trap Ball this year, but it was by all accounts a great evening. (Shout out to Bob and Tim for the beautiful scenery, and to Alyson & Robert & Josephine and the Inscape chamber players for making such beautiful music.)
  • I started a new diet. (shocker)
  • My hair went from blonde to brownish grey. It's likely closer to my natural color, but I'm going to subscribe to revisionist history for a while longer...salon appointment on Thursday.
We leave for auditions on Saturday. Many miles to go before then, and to be wholly honest, I'm far from ready in every category...I'm struggling with just about everything, across the board: my self, my job, my habits, my goals...all of it. 

Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, and while I'm not Jewish (although I have ancestors who converted from Judaism to Catholicism upon reaching the US), I'm thinking that a day of fasting/introspection might not be a good way to jolt me out of this fog/funk. Also, tomorrow Pope Francis says mass in DC...and maybe some of that divine goodness might waft its way out to the burbs, to a girl who needs it. 

I believe in miracles, even if I can't commit to a religious tradition. :)

Hoping you find yourself in the new routine of autumn, with low humidity and peaceful evenings and beautiful skies forever amen. 


The Million-Year July

Every summer I think "well, when we start to taper down I'll be able to hang out with singers/catch up on my inbox/go to bed early."

But this season? Instead of tapering, we're rushing like Wile E. Coyote for the cliff's edge.

(In reality? It's always like this...it's the beauty of a holey memory.)

This week we had:

  • an AIDA with 4 alums and a group of our current artists. It rocked.
  • Studio Spotlight, a scenes program, with our Studio Artists. It also rocked.
  • Two days of colleague auditions for the Studio. They sang their FACES off.
  • Tonight's Vocal Colors recital at The Phillips Collection. It totally rocked.
This weekend we have 4 performances: 2 with the National Symphony, and 2 recitals with Steven Blier. We start overnight techs for Butterfly on Monday. I should also start my preshow talk, eh? yes. yes I should actually write a preshow talk...because I am not smart enough to riff.)

(And did I mention that all of the Chamber Music performances are announced next week and all of the materials are just now being vetted? And our big national grant applications' internal deadlines are next week?)

There is so much to do. But holy crap, y'all. I'm TIRED. 

(whinefest over. for now. thanks for indulging me.)


Short post...

...mostly because it's July, and even easy things are somehow hard this month. Not bad - there's so much good happening! But really, it's just that there's so MUCH much happening right now. It's overwhelming.

Today was Monday. The Monday after what was for many lucky sonsabiches a long holiday weekend, but for us was one day to look at fireworks and drink a beer and realize how much adrenalin is carrying us through and how tired we are. (Or maybe that was just me.)

I started today late for a meeting that I SWORE started an hour after it actually did. And was fully booked - sometimes triple-booked - for the rest of the day. And time somehow folded in on itself, and what was an 11-hour workday accordioned into something that felt only 5-6 hours long, if I were holding 3 conversations simultaneously and lifting weights continuously.

But the conversations were all great, because the people are lovely...and my colleagues again buoyed me up in the most wonderful way; even if I didn't have the headspace to accept it or say thank you.

Now I'm home after a gorgeous Wandel for our amazing production of Ghosts. Watching this project come together has been a career high point for me - not only because the work itself is weird and wonderful, but the people involved in the show are as weird, and as wonderful, as they come. And I mean 'weird' as the dictionary defines it:
  1. 1.
    suggesting something supernatural; uncanny.

Uncanny? Yes. Supernatural? Most Definitely. Enchanting? That too. 

Here's to finding the weird and the wonderful in all of our overscheduled lives. 

(And another toast to knowing when it's time to hit the hay...'night folks.)



Oh, lovelies, it's been a crazy, incredible week.

Last weekend we opened the season with 3 performances in as many days, preceded by the summer's first long run of 14-hour days. (Dear HR: if I hit 40 hours before Wednesday is over, does that mean I can take the rest of the week off?) We opened a beautiful, incisive Figaro, had a spirited voting session for the arias featured in Aria Jukebox, and hosted a second (sold out!) Figaro. 

Ghosts is in rehearsal. We had a media maven, an improv coach and a headshot photographer in to work with our singers. 

David Gray and Amos Lee sang at the Filene Center. Amos Lee ended his set with the Game of Thrones theme and I laughed like a schoolkid at recess. David Gray sang "My oh my" and I tried to not cry. (#nostalgia #fail) 

And on Wednesday? My amazing colleagues and singers threw Kim and me a Centennial Birthday Party. (We share a birthday, and we turn 100 on Sunday!) They rewrote the lyrics to "Shut Up and Dance with Me" and performed it with sass (and even worked my crazy last name into the lyrics - AND pronounced it correctly!)  and Happy Birthday in 73-part harmony as only opera singers can. 

Figaro #3 (also sold out!) was Wednesday evening. Tomorrow is a well-earned Company Free Day.

It's been a week of amazing generosity - on behalf of the performers in Figaro, the Ghosts team from working around the many scheduling limitations, our artist in residence for the summer Michelle DeYoung: the amazing Studio who sing a mean pop tune, JoLi and Fingers Hanlon for their mad writing/arranging/playing skillz. My sneaky wonderful colleague Morgana who truly made magic on Wednesday. Spence who takes such wonderful care of us (even making us all mac and cheese on Wednesday night and delivering it to the Barns!) 

I won't lie, and I don't wholly think it's the fatigue talking yet (it is, after all, only June): but all week I have felt slightly raw, and embarrassingly unworthy of all of these big, wonderful things. 

(But I am exceedingly, ridiculously grateful for each moment, each person. )


The storm before the calm before the storm

Rehearsals start on Monday.
It's Saturday evening.

I'm preparing: laundry, cleaning house. Groceries and stocking the freezer.
But more importantly? I'm stocking up all of those other reserves:

Sleeping late.

Walking and listening to my new Church, Krista Tippett and her podcast On Being. (This week she's talking to Maria Popova from Brain Pickings, and I love the interview so much that I'm only half-kidding when I say I'd like to have the conversation tattooed on my body so that it becomes part of me.)

Walking for miles and miles in the humidity, taking pictures of the crazily lush vegetation that has sprung up in the last two weeks.

Wetting down huge pieces of paper with the hose, melting color onto them. Making circles with tiny dots of red, fuchsia, bronze.

Talking with a friend - one of those who transcends time and space to feel like she's right next to me and it's been minutes rather than months since we last saw each other.

Listening to all to boys in my house snore simultaneously.

Trying two new recipes for the same meal. (And kicking their butts...kitchen WIN.)

Visiting with neighbors.

It's been a puttery, quiet day, and it's been just perfect.

It's 8pm. I'm going to surf the web, doodle, eat a cookie, read and draw. And then I'm going to take a bubble bath with lavender bubbles, and fall into what I hope will be a ridiculously restorative sleep.

Because on Monday? It's game on, and Little Miss Introvert goes into hibernation until fall. I'm excited for the music making to start! But I'll miss this quiet time.

My five:

  • impromptu porch visits.
  • old friends.
  • flip flops.
  • lavender.
  • thunderstorms.



Lovelies, this has been a week.

A roller coaster, one that seemed more affectionate towards the frustrating lows than any soaring highs or cool loop-de-loops. (Really, it was a whole stinky pile of equal parts not-good and confusing. )

But today? I finally got to the top of the hill. And the view was breathtaking.

I'll spare you the stinky parts: here's the good stuff!

- a good night's sleep (always makes things better, right?)
- a good hair day. (-ish, but I'll take it.)
- tying up loose ends before a number of days out-of-the-office. (productive AND fun! out-of-office FTW)
- a quick meeting with colleagues that I adore over delicious sandwiches. (Zoƫ's Kitchen? I lurve those steak stacks. YUM.)
- the soft announce of next year's chamber music series.
- a crowd that was young and fun at the show. (which included the hubby. SCORE!)
- Mozart. Radiohead. Piazzola. And a beautiful commission called Jan's (yan's?) Flight by Sybarite5.

It might've been 13-hour workday, but it was an excellent 13-hour workday.

Here's to pushing through, to that silver lining slapping the myopic of us in the face (hallo.), to friends and stories and dreams and adrenalin. To wearing fishnets because you've run out of tights but it's too cold to go completely bare-legged, and to pairing said fishnets with fuzzy slippers because your office is cold. To the feeling of relief. To being simultaneously surprised AND delighted! To changing plans at the last-minute to something better and/or less stressful. To Brubeck and Piazzola and Radiohead. 

To nursing a glass of wine in front of the late show as your boys sleep soundly and snore through the tv audio. 

To that feeling when the adrenalin is gone, and it's late, and you're finally, finally ready for bed.
Good night, sweet friends.



I don't perform really at all, anymore. I can play a mean rhythm keyboard, accompany the easiest of musical theater tunes, sing along with any number of songs in my car/in the shower/at the piano/along with my iPod walking through the streets of my town. I love doing all of those things, but they're low-stress outings.

Solo piano? That's tough for me. I've played for forever - had my first lesson when I was 3. But it's always been a means of self-expression. And, when I play for people, the level of chatter in my head is DEAFENING. Really, it's the loudest thing I've maybe ever experienced that isn't actually, well, loud.

And it's defeating. Paralyzing. I can't get past the first sounds - too loud, too messy, too wrong.

Tonight? I played (that might be too generous a word, but bear with me.) a Chopin waltz. In front of people. I've played it for months, off and on, but only for me. (well, and the hubby - who is always supportive, and the animals - who are indifferent at best to my pounding.) I struggle so with playing in public; as someone who trained as a musician, but is no longer really a practicing musician, the mountain looms much larger than it ever did.

But one time, months ago, when I had made it through with some finesse, I made myself a promise that I'd play it in front of people.

So this morning (#committmentissues), I volunteered to play it for a little staff get-together. Low stress, an easy audience and a ridiculously beautiful piano. Piece of cake, right?


I made a LOT of mistakes.
Like, a million. Like I tried to improv or modulate into another key mistakes. Wild, ridiculous things.


I played it. Granted, I had played it for a pal prior to the "performance" and nailed it. Felt really good that someone outside of my family heard me not suck.

But I played it. In front of talented folks who were months/years from their peak (instead of decades. Ouff.) And I made it through, without quitting. The piano didn't melt, the listeners didn't scream in pain. (Well, out loud, at least. Or maybe I was preoccupied...)

I can't actually say that it even really felt good. Sure, the checking off the 'goal accomplished' box feels good, but as always I was so, so happy when I hit that last note and was done.

I am, however, so happy and grateful to have the opportunity to stretch! How often do we get the chance to try things again and see if they fit, to work towards something that's not squarely in our professional wheelhouse, to crash and burn in a gentle way? To work towards something, to meet a goal, to play - albeit marginally - alongside performers who have chops felt really good.

Tomorrow? I think I'll pick a new tune to learn. For next year.