so many shows. so few brain cells.

If you check here and here, you can see all of the performances that we've had, and those still remaining. Late July is challenging here, because not only are we still up to our keisters in summer performances, but were also planning for the fall audition tour and the spring 2011 commission premiere, all while saying goodbye to singers and staff as they head for their next challenges. It feels like almost time to relax, but nothing's further from the truth...it's time to dig deep. Getting through July demands mass quantities of candy. And, subsequently, the discipline to work some of that candy off. Here's my start. Gah. Thank goodness for low humidity, but I'll be grateful when the temperatures are chilly again, if only for the jogging angle.

Since I don't have much to say other than "work," I'll leave you with links. Sadly, a whole lot of them are food-related, because I'm dying to get into the kitchen and make an unholy mess. It'll have to wait just a few more weeks, I'm afraid.

My five:
  1. More baby birds in my impatiens. Four of 'em, this time!
  2. Fondue. Who knew?
  3. Good talks.
  4. Pop-up thunderstorms and clear-headed interns.
  5. Seeing the finish line.
And for you? The tune that got my butt around the neighborhood. It's not a new tune, but I hadn't really listened to the words. I like it. (Enough to listen to it twice in a row mid-jog!)


It looks so beautiful outside today! But, because it's hotter than the hinges of hell, I'm going to be observing life outside from the comfort of air conditioning...house, car, mall, coffee shop...all fair game. It's amazing that, after the huge snow dump we had in February, it's been consistently this warm.
I worked this show yesterday, (and it was fabulous - I always underestimate how much I love those tunes. The soprano called them "comfort food"...she's totally right.), and dodged in and out of the AC as must as I could, but was still a hot, sweaty mess come midnight. I missed GirlInVA's birthday soiree, because I just smelled WAY too funky to give anyone a hug.


Needless to say, I have new-found respect for those whose jobs keep them outside all the time...landscapers, road crews, construction workers. It's a hard row to hoe when it's this warm and humid, for sure.

Today is a day away from the office. (Yay!) To celebrate, I slept in until 9:00am, and made it to the gym for the first time in what seems like years. I was that crazy girl in kettlebell class, smiling every time it got more difficult, singing along to the music, quipping with the instructor. Yep, I was about as obnoxious as it gets. But it felt SO GOOD to get back into it! Chances are good that I'll not be able to climb stairs on Monday. (I'm ok with it.)And tomorrow is the Studio Scenes program. We're in the Barns for the first time, and the singers are singing their fool faces off. It's pretty awesome.

In other, non-related news, my pen-pal JG sent me a letter from Krakow. (By the way? I LOVE real letters. FB is great and all, but mail is awesome.) And it seems the mystery of my married name has been uncovered.

Evidently it means "Mushroom gravy."


(Actually, it means "hunter." I'm a little disappointed.)

Thanks for the present, JG! A letter will be winging its way to you shortly!

My five:
  1. Air conditioning.
  2. Exercise.
  3. Long-distance correspondence.
  4. Unstructured days.
  5. Honest fatigue.


In the thick of it!

GeoTagged, [N38.93371, E77.26417]

Two performances yesterday: one at work, and the other at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. A side trip to a Biergarten to sweat out a tribute to CM with a passel (read: move than five) singers. Miles (ok, a slight exaggeration) walked in hoochie shoes.

Not quite enough sleep. Shocker.

Today, Rodgers & Hammerstein at the FC. It's going to be hot as BLAZES. But in this quiet time before rehearsal, listening to the sound check and the casual bacstage conversations, it's a lovely, lovely day.

My five:
1. Enjoyable colleagues.
2. Surprises - the good kind, obv.
3. Backstage birdsong. There's a cardinal roosting somewhere in the building!
4. Snacks.
5. Laughter on long days.


my unofficial sideline?

Ticket broker.

You see, while I work in the opera/classical music side of a larger foundation, most folks know our name because there are pop/rock acts that are booked all summer long at our large, 7,000 seat venue across the road.

(Confession: I've not seen a single show other than those I've worked. Officially LAME.)

So, when the calendar is published, folks make a run on tickets. Usually. But sometimes they forget...they decide to wait...I mean, who really knows what they'll be doing two months from now, anyway? And then? When they try to buy tickets? There aren't any left. Because actually, 7,000 seats for a rock shed isn't all that many.

And THAT's when the emails roll in. Usually when life is amazingly busy. But I try to help out (read: beg my friends in the Box Office to find tickets) where I can. Usually I can get tickets, and the folks enjoy the show, and that's the end of it.

But today? TODAY someone said thank you! With a biiiiig box of gourmet chocolates.

It's my first ticket thank you gift!

And it is super tasty.

I could say how sad it is that we don't say "thank you" more often, that we often take things for granted. Heck, I would place myself squarely in that taking-things-for-granted category. I'm embarassed about it, but I'm there.

But a gesture this lovely? This classy and thoughtful? It makes me so grateful. It makes me want to tell folks how much I appreciate them, what they do, who they are. To be more thankful, more gracious, more appreciative. So perhaps I should be saying a very special THANK YOU to a lady who helped me look outside my busy schedule and miles-long-to-do-list, to see a little bit of the bigger picture.

My five:
  1. Inappropriate Aria Night. Better entertainment and more laughter cannot be had, my friends.
  2. Picture day!
  3. Sitting in on rehearsal. Rustics and Three Oranges. A great musical day!
  4. Hoochie shoes.
  5. Gratitude.


back to the office in less than 2 hours...and i'm procrastinating. here are some things that i've been meaning to share with you.

  •  How cool. (Via Airstream Diva).
  • A cute way to avoid nasty AC drafts.
  • I can vouch for this. TASTY.
  • I can also, sadly vouch for this
  • Mom, I totally have your birthday gift figured out. (via BP)
  • A video of my favorite chef. I wish his recipes weren't so difficult to follow...
  • Had I seen this in my classroom? I would've totally given points for creativity.
i have more things, but have run out of time. so i leave you with the song that was on when i got back form walking the dog...one of my all-time favorites. happy tuesday, all!

Waterboys - The Whole of the Moon
Uploaded by Viridiana_mas. - See the latest featured music videos.

My five:
  1. Good music. I'm swimming in it, these days!
  2. Listening.
  3. Stretching.
  4. Sushi lunches.
  5. Burning candles at both ends, and enjoying the light.


virtual timesheet

Split day at work.

Read: early start, late finish, but three well-placed hours of gyming-shopping-loafing smack dab in the middle. Chairman's dinner in the evening, which featured a FABULOUS meal, conversation with some like-minded folks, and listening to remarks by one of and some musical selections from our Studio singers, and some deft pianistic maneuvering around a disconnected damper pedal by CM. A gorgeous performance with the National Symphony and four of our singers; the Tigress, her infinitely romantic sometimes-husband Romeo, Belle-Maria, and the "most Mexican Tony EVER". (Uh, just kidding on that last count. But DP has some MAD dance moves!) Two post-performance soirees, of which yours truly made it to the first only, because...


8:30am. Arrived at the FC, treats in tow. Driver runs, food runs, orchestra rehearsal, baby-catching, camera snatching...all in a day's work for a performance with the NSO and B'way phenom Idina Menzel. (For the record? She's just as nice as you'd hope she'd be. And that baby has some SERIOUS genes...an angelic little one, to be sure!) Run home for a nap (nap! I can finally nap! it may be the greatest accomplishment of my adult life.), and head back to the FC for the show. Show, guests, and hundreds of fans hoping for an autograph equalled tons of adrenalin coursing through the late evening. Remembering her sweet baby's face and the 12 year old who burst into tears at meeting her? Priceless...you don't see that stuff every day.

Home after midnight.


Slept in after 9am, for the first time since, most likely, last summer.) Roll into work late for a rehearsal, and stay for all of 10 minutes of said rehearsal. Bad manners, to be sure, but I did add the phrase "opera purse" to my vocab - thanks HG! Payroll, expenses, email, contracts...and then Steve's recital. (For the record, 'twas fan-dam-TAS-tic.) Watched a singer walk (almost literally) off stage, grab jumper cables, beat AAA to the scene and save the car of a DC-area arts presenter. Boy Scouts aren't an urban myth!

Home while it was still light outside! Wheee!


Staying home. Again.

(And trying not to feel guilty about it. )

A weekend full of craziness, quick-twitch muscle fibers, mammoth staircases and ethereal music.

SIGN ME UP. Seriously, let's do the same thing next weekend. You know how to find me.

(seriously? Next week there are two art related performances, a subway busker, some golden oldies, and a kickin' Scenes program. Five primo shows in four days. Clear yer calendar!)

My five:
  1. Lavender.
  2. Tom Waits.
  3. Superhero movies.
  4. Jack Black-elby. (Love the Bobs. Less so Johnny's sneakers.)
  5. Decompression.


Symphony. Party of one.

Somedays my job is the coolest EVER.

Take today for example. I spent about a half hour in the office, trying (vainly) to get through my email inbox. And then I hopped in the car, drove to the Kennedy Center to meet some of our singers for a rehearsal with the National Symphony.

It was a short rehearsal - four songs and a duet.

But in the audience? Moi.


(Okay, okay...our coach MB was there, too.)

But being the only person sitting in the KC concert hall? Listening to some fandamtastic singing and playing?

Bliss, my friends. Sheer bliss.

If you don't mind seeing it with several thousand friends, I'd invite you to come and hear for yourself... I would guess, with the breeze and the birdsong, that tomorrow night's performance might actually be more lovely than my private concert this morning.


Posting will be light until next week, as we have 3 performances in as many days. Whew!  Wish us luck and bring us chocolate. We'll need both.

My five:
  1. Not needing to speak.
  2. Avocados.
  3. Lisbeth Salander. I loved those darn books way more than I expected to!
  4. Private concerts.
  5. Snuggly pets.


it's the summer...

...and some days are, in equal parts, luscious and brittle.

Luscious in the fact that we get to roll around in this crazy art form...the voices, the orchestra. Small, intimate art song...bombastic, multi-part choral finales. Delectable, lascivious musical goodness.

Luscious in the ways that all of the artists grow and change throughout the rehearsal process. And, in watching that cycle, the build-up of trust and confidence and skill, we remember why we fell in love with the art... we also grow.

Luscious in the small ways that we build each other up...that we anticipate what might be needed and take that extra step to make the day "just so" for those we care about...whether it's a constant smile, a well-timed joke, a tasty treat, or a shared moment of trust.

Brittle in the way we crumble at a pointed, unkind word.

Brittle in the ways the details undo the best plans.

Brittle in the ways we're unable to make the rough places smooth. (Does anyone have some karmic WD-40?)

Made brittle by the simple facts that we will never have enough time, enough money, or quite enough good will to do everything that we try to do quite as well as we envision. (It's by no means a talent thing or performance thing - we're pretty freakin' awesome at that stuff, IMHO. But in other ways.) Made brittle by trying to do right, and being wrongly used. Made brittle by lack of rest, by lack of mirth, by lack of trust. Made brittle because, no matter how noble our intentions? Sometimes they're just not enough.

(And by we? I mean me. Although I do totally suck at the whole "well-timed joke" thing.)

Evidently, I cannot hide the "brittle" part of this equation, as I have been, oh so generously, released from work for a day. And, in true Stockholm syndrome fashion, I feel totally guilty about it, and will no doubt spend way more time checking email and texting "you need anything? i'm running errands..." to everyone I work with.

Because, even though my reserves are low, I do still want to be generous. I want to be helpful.

My five:
  1. Earnest, clear leadership. 
  2. Shared histories.
  3. Honest conversation.
  4. Chocolate. (I feel like I should have a "Special Thanks" section devoted to all things cacao.)
  5. Hoochie shoes.
And, because I do want to be helpful and generous? Videos and music, of the non-operatic sort. Songs and voices that I find generous, in some way.

(i LOVE this song, but my true favorite part is the peeper cameo at the very beginning...it's made for summer)

Paolo Conte...I thought of this tune every time I looked at the Turco set.

and this? is how i'll likely feel after a day on the porch.


Today's bullet points

So, we've hit that time of the summer where the ADD is in overdrive, and meetings dissolve at a minute's notice. Among the topics that were addressed today?

  • Tickets. (You know you want to visit and see what I'm constantly blabbing about!)
  • How to talk to donors.
  • Onstage gangb*ngs at Santa Fe.
  • The deliciousness of chicken salad with walnuts.
  • Mallets for wood blocks.
  • Wigs with built-in fiber optics.
  • Orchestral issues.
  • Fed Ex issues.
  • Handicapped accessible vans.
  • Performing while pantsless.
  • San Francisco audition spaces.
  • Earl Grey tea.
  • Frustrations, in meeting format.
  • Dance class, and picnics. (And how the two should never be in close proximity.)
  • People who take their jobs too seriously.
  • Eagerness vs. anxiety.
  • Unadvised windmill-tilting.
...and that's just the stuff that came up in conversation. It's officially the season on "You snooze, you lose," as 30 seconds of daydreaming will place you squarely on the wrong side of any conversation...and, at worst, several degrees removed from the answers you hoped to acquire. It's an exciting, anxiety-inducing, crazy-busy, highly fun few weeks that we're staring down! And one that demands more quick-firing muscle fibers (of both the muscular and mental varieties) than any other time of the year.

Quick translation: I love you. I miss you. Please, my beloved friends and family, send me as many emails and voice mails and text messages as you want. Facebook the living bejeezus outa me. I LOVE to hear from you! But please don't be sad if I don't respond immediately...or at all. I'm using all my synapses at the office, and when I come home I'm staring at a particularly comforting spot on the wall and rocking myself gently back and forth.


ok, I'm back. But only long enough for my five:
  1. Rainy summer days.
  2. Chilled rose. Who created this stuff? 
  3. Work-sanctioned ADD.
  4. Heart-to-hearts.
  5. Blueberries.


I swear it's been seven years since that last post. Seriously.

We've done a metric ton of work.

We started prepping for the National Symphony's July residencies.

We started rehearsals for the Studio Scenes program.

We welcomed an old friend back to work with the Studio.

We opened (and sold out!) Turk.

We made a trek to Castleton to hear this lady and this lady in this show. (If I had a nickel for every audition resume that switched the placement of the u and o? I've have at least a buck.)

(We may have stopped here on the way to Castleton. And may've also stopped here on the way home. And, had we taken a car larger than my roller skate? We would've undoubtedly brought home waaaay more loot.)

And I'm totally enjoying finally sitting still. It was a beautiful day, full of fun things and gorgeous weather. (And a little bit of directed tree climbing, as the cat decided to see how high he could get. He's such a punk. Good thing I'm in touch with my inner ten-year-old!)

Early to bed tonight...Turk #2 tomorrow.

My five:
  1. Low humidity. Hallelujah!
  2. Climbing trees.
  3. Long drives and good conversation.
  4. Sleepy boys.
  5. Great singing.


R&R, the Aftermath

The weekend was lovely. Two days off in July? An unprecedented gift. Time to hang with the Uncles, to meet their fabulous new neighbors, to eat and drink waaaaaay more than I should've, to lay on the beach with this book and bask in the sun like a lizard on a rock. More good stuff than I could ask for.

Sadly, while marginally cold-blooded, I am no lizard. I know this because lizards don't get sunburns OR sun poisoning. And Rahree? Well, she is evidently susceptible to both. In a fairly large-scale manner. And is quite seriously considering buying stock in McNeil PPC. (They make Benadryl. THANK. GOODNESS.)

(You know how, in my header it says something about never being too old, too fat, too stupid to fry yourself to a crisp on a Delaware beach? (Or something like that?) Yep, that's true, and I am sad, itchy proof.)

Luckily, I have some seriously incredible musical balm to bask in. This show opens on Friday, and it is seriously fabuloso. And our Audition Tour Compadre, CameraMan, is shaping some gorgeous sounds from both the stage and the pit. Oftentimes I find voices that negotiate this rep to be cold, if amazingly technically proficient. This group? Sweeeeeeet voices. (And men in drag. And gypsies. And a bunny puppet. But that's all beside the point. The singing is crazy good.) I'd encourage you to come, but alas, I don't think there are any seats left.

(It's a great problem to have.) :)

11 hour turnaround before hitting the office tomorrow, so here's a quick five:
  1. Air conditioning (please don't jinx it!). It's hot as hell in Virginny.
  2. Benadryl. 
  3. Engrossing stories.
  4. My former students - they're a formidable group of women, for sure. And I miss them so very much.
  5. Laughter. Even though we're busy, there's a whole LOT of it floating around our offices. 
P.S. I wore my old sandals to work today...the ones with the HUGE wooden platforms, the ones that I bought in college, the first pair of truly ridiculous shoes I owned. SO, in tribute, here's a dose of some of my most favorite retro for you. 


R&R part two

GeoTagged, [N38.71727, E75.07714]

It's a damn shame that we've had to fit beach week into two days. Good thing we're committed, because cramming that much fun into that small a time period is EXHAUSTING.

(By the way, no patting Rahree on the back this week, unless it's of the figurative sort. Forgetting sunblock is most certainly unwise...)

My five:
1. Stolen time that coincides with a holiday weekend.
2. The generosity of the Uncles.
3. Homemade crepes for breakfast.
4. Eavesdropping at the beach.
5. Recharging.



GeoTagged, [N38.71541, E75.07898]

Hoping you get a little time to relax over this holiday weekend. Happy 4th!