Houston, day one

There's a Lyle Lovett song that I love that's fitting for my first trip to Houston: "That's right, you're not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway." Texas is making a serious play for my affection. We landed on a beautiful, sunny October morning, and walked out of the airport into a 70 degree, low humidity paradise. Is it seriously like this here all the time? If so, I take back all the nasty things I've said about Texas, what with the heat and humidity and insects of unusual size. It was lovely. Texas, you just might win me over.

Shortly after arriving we dumped our baggage at the hotel (It's a lovely little place with real keys instead of those plastic credit card things that I use for bookmarks. Lots of character!) and headed for the opera house for a performance of Ballo that was really inspiring. Kudos to the entire cast, especially Trappers LB, BG and RM! It's such fun to hear familiar voices from the stage.

Today we had our first day of auditions. Houston Grand Opera is hosting us, and members of their coaching and stage management staff are helping with our auditions - so many capable hands make light work of the details, and we're free to just sit back and enjoy! Many familiar faces (including JJK and Spicy Soprano RC), and some really solid singing. It was an exciting way to begin. It also reminds me of just how competitive our field is - if every city is this strong we'll have some tough decisions to make!

We take notes on out laptops during the auditions; I wonder if the tappity-tappity sounds are unnerving to the singers, or if they're so absorbed in their pieces that they don't notice. {I hope it's the latter!} Sometimes I'm writing descriptions, sometimes comparisons to singers I know well to give myself a frame of reference. Sometimes I'm noting their outfit or hair color {or, more likely for the ladies, their shoes} so that I can access their physical presence. And sometimes I'm just writing "wow." I also record audio for each singer and make a note of the track number {which is key...life really stinks when I forget that crucial second part.} At this point it doesn't seem like much, but after hearing over three hundred singers even the most sparkly and special will start to mush together.

Today's special treats? Sneaking in to see the second act of La fille du regiment, and dinner this evening at Ninfas. And seeing lots of alums in this very cool town... Texas, I think you do want me anyway!


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