Rollin', rollin', rollin'

(This was the view from my New York hotel room. Fitting somehow that it overlooked the DKNY studios...)

Writing just a quick bit on the train to Philadelphia. It's been a long, lovely week full of all kinds of operatic goodness. And while I treasure the singing, the highlights of this week have been about communicating...I was so lucky to have some great one-on-one time with friends that I haven't seen in the last 4-15 years. We ate, we laughed, we remembered silly stories, we comforted each other and talked about happiness and love and life and the kinds of big, exciting ideas that come from good reunions. I feel lighter and more energized having spent time with them.

Tomorrow is Halloween, and we're hearing auditions all day. Wonder if anyone will be coming in costume?! I will be questing for candy prior to the auditions...if I'm successful, everyone may have a slightly sweeter day tomorrow.

My five:
  1. Challenging, exciting conversations.
  2. New York food...I'd be two-ton Tessie if I lived here. Holy moly there's good eatin'!
  3. Hugs from old friends...balm for the soul.
  4. Quiet time.
  5. Getting out of Times Square. Whew!


...aaaaand it's Friday. How did that happen?
Time flies here in New York differently than anywhere else on the planet, I swear... as an occassional visitor, I find the urge to see, do, try to be unrelenting...and the opportunities are so vast. So yes, I'm happily burning the candle at both ends...reuniting with old friends when I can, seeing shows, having good, deep conversations...and not sleeping very much. Shocker.

Oh, and I've been listening to auditions! Right! The reason we're here! I find that my ears are weirdly taxed during this trip - trying to listen so closely to so many voices, listening both for potential and for potential problems, and feeling a little more responsible for my choices this year. We've had some lovely, lovely musical auditions, but we've also had some that have totally shot my eardrums with unrelenting, all-one-color volume. Whew. I'm not naming names, but some teachers are doing SO well by their students, and some of y'all should get off campus and listen to the wider world more often. And some singers would benefit from having more than one or two colors in your crayola box to use.

(My ears are feeling a little tender still - can you tell?)

Two of the highlights of the trip, (aside from seeing EZ and AlohaDude - HUGE highlights!) so far were seeing City Opera's production of Bernstein's A Quiet Place and getting together with some Alums at the Delta Grill. The opera was challenging and gorgeous and totally devastating in turns...a great evening of theater, even if I don't so much want to spend an evening with that f*ed up family again any time soon. And reconnecting with some alums? Priceless....love to hear how they're doing!

On the docket for today? A quick zip down to B&H. Loads o' auditions. Packing. (checking out tomorrow! Ack! I'm a wee bit too comfortable in my rented room.) Seeing two fabulous Ellisians! And the dress rehearsal of Intermezzo, directed by my favorite Dirty Old Man.

I'd say that it's going to be another fabulously full day. :)

My five:
  1. Fried food. (My body HATES me for eating like this, but my soul is so, so happy.)
  2. Sunrise on city skylines.
  3. Great, thoughtful conversation.
  4. Easy, fun colleagues.
  5. Permission to dream big.


Day Two!

I was a good doobie this morning and set my alarm to give me enough time to get a little exercise in before plunking my butt into a chair for several opera-filled hours. (And there's the fact that there are few bad eating experiences in the beeeg ceeety. And I am weak.) Let me tell you, friends, that the quietest place in all of Times Square happens to be the exercise room in our hotel. I spent a good half-hour totally, completely alone before a few random business-type dudes wandered in.

Need a little peace of mind? An escape fro the rat race? Go sit in the gym. I'll let you borrow my entry card. :)

Today there are several things that I need to take care of back at the Foundation from long-distance, so the challenge will be connecting with folks in between all of these auditions. Wish me luck!

My five:
  1. Waking up to iTunes.
  2. Deep, dreamless sleep.
  3. Lavender.
  4. Laughter.
  5. Full days.


Day One.

Auditions. Boy, they're a weird thing.  We had some really great singing today! But we also had a touch of "crazy eye" syndrome (i.e. acting creepy to convey a character. Here's the thing - almost no one really thinks, IRL, that they're creepy or the bad guy or the villain of the story. We're all the heroes in our own, personal stories - it's the circumstances that the person - or, in this case - character finds themselves in that makes for the crazy. Find the humanity, and leave the crazy to the set and costume designer.), and more than a little oversinging in our lovely, yet live, little room. And the nerves...oh, lordy, my heart goes out to all of you folks who are brave enough to do this for a living! Just know that we really do want you to have fun - when you do, we do too.

One of today's biggest surprises? Hearing a lovely young woman audition...and realizing that the last time I heard her sing was when she was a middle school student. That makes me old, sure, but that makes her pretty cool.

However, I am still waiting to spot my first pair of OMG audition shoes. EG sang in a lovely pair of black pumps with a slight ruffle that were classy...they're my favorite pair as of right now. But they were very conservative...I'm watching... somebody rock my world! (please!)

We spent the evening in Morningside Heights on a working session (and following tasty dinner) with our favorite (living) composer. And now? To bed, to bed, to bed.

My five:
  1.  Doodling. I love this blogger (and also her blog), and am making this part of my 30-day routine...a doodle a day. Nothing worth sharing with you yet, but when I make one I'll certainly share it here.
  2. Quiche. Comfort food to the max. 
  3. Mushy text messages.
  4. Reunions.
  5. City skylines from quiet rooms.


...aaaaaaand GO.

I'm writing this, thanks to Apple's tethering technology, from a comfortable seat on a northbound train. Auditions for the 2011 summer season (! wow, that seems far away.) start tomorrow, and because we're high, masochistic, or both, we have 633 auditions to hear over the next several weeks.

Over. Six. Hundred. Auditions.

(Makes me a little tired just thinking about it.)

But today is a totally civilized travel day...train ride to NYC, checking in at a new-to-us hotel (in Times Square. I'm a little sad...I reeeeeally like the UWS.), a stop at B&H to procure a fancy-schmancy new video camera, and some meetings with prospective directors. Add to that totally GORGEOUS weather and the possibility of reconnecting with old friends, and it makes leaving my boys almost OK. :)

My five:
  1. Sun-filled autumn days.
  2. Train travel. Infinitely more civilized than airplanes.
  3. New songs.
  4. A change of scenery.
  5. My fabulous hubster.


radio silence

I promise that I'll be back soon...a weekend of neighborhood (bonfire!) festivities and personal (anniversary!) festivities has grudgingly given way to a week full of audition tour prep, Inspector-related events and chamber music performances. (!) (?) Lots to do, and correspondingly little time to write about it.

You'll hear from me shortly, from the road. Cheers!

My five:
  1. Early morning walks.
  2. Hats.
  3. Coffee...aaaaahhhh...
  4. Tights.
  5. Reconnecting.


The weirdest interview process...

funny pictures
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I'm in the thick of the Studio application process...reading applications, resumes, teacher recommendations. And this post is subsequently 50% vent, 50% constructive criticism...because there are some folks who look incredibly put together at this tender age, and many who do not. And, when you are only able to hear a third to a fifth of the people who apply for a particular site, the details tend to become more important when you're making those screening decisions.

(And by you? I mean me. Help me out, my friends.)

Here's my advice, with the caveat that I know you've heard it all before...but the fact that you're not actually doing it means that the mistakes do count against you.
  • Resume: ONE PAGE. As an undergrad or first year grad, I promise you that you do not have enough relevant info to put on more than one page. And if you feel that you do? Ask a professor or administrator at your school what info you should cut. Because the longer the resume? The more difficult it is for me to figure out what's really important. I'd rather have relevance and white space than the list of part-time summer beach jobs you've held. (We do surprisingly little professional ice-cream scooping during the opera season... tragic, I know.) Full disclosure? My mother was an English teacher with a killer eye and a penchant for red pens. Find yourself a friend who loves to find mistakes. If you don't have one? I'll give you my mom's email...she'll help you out.
  • Resume: SPELLING. If you have performed the lead in Tosca, but have it spelled Toska on your resume, I'm going to doubt the legitimacy of your experience. If you misspell a conductor/teacher/coach's name? That's disrespectful...especially if you've asked those folks to speak on your behalf. Also, make sure that your headings are spelled correctly: nothing will make you feel dumber than finally noticing that your resume says "Educaion"after you've handed it out to several professional companies. (Thanks SL for the example!) And if you don't think this applies to you? Send me your resume...I dare you.
  • Headshots. I'm a happily married 30-something woman with NO intention of sleeping with any of the people I hire, ever. Don't try to seduce me with your photo: it won't work. Wife beaters, too much cleavage, scary-intense gazes, unhappy photos? Not my thing...I'm trying to hire singers that I can support with time, resources and money; not cable TV stars/fitness models/psychics. Your headshot should telegraph that you're responsible, creative, intelligent, and approachable. (And while environmental shots are awesome, please make sure that the tree branch doesn't look like it's growing out of your head.)
  • Applications: please don't fill every field with "See resume." I know it tempting with the amount of applications you're filling out. But it's a shortcut. Moreover, my database makes it hard for me to say yes to you in my first pass if there's no information to parse through...and the second tier is full of good singers who have very similar qualifications. Make it easy for me to say yes to you!
  • Recommendations: They are a huge pain in the wazoo, sure. And you likely have to ask for them for multiple projects...some guidelines:
    • Ask for a rec from someone who knows your work well and likes it and you (both as an artist and as a person. they're not the same thing).
    • Ask your recommender well in advance of the deadline. No one feels charitable when under the gun.
    • Provide your recommender with the correct address and addressee for each program AND provide an addressed, stamped envelope.
    • If your recommender sends you a generic letter, make sure it's dated, and doesn't address a specific program. Don't recycle it years later in the hope that it'll get you in the door, especially if it's addressed or refers to a competing program...
 If you've sent in a Studio application but haven't heard from us yet, I promise you will soon. If you've won an audition (and, let's face it...with the gauntlet that we make you go through, 'won' is an appropriate word!), congratulations! I'm excited to meet and hear you! (And please don't forget that there's a monologue requirement...if you do, we'll be able to sense it, and will most certainly ask for it...) If you've not garnered an audition, write to us for feedback on your application, and take a hard look at your resume...it'll show you the areas in which you need additional experience.

Industry friends - any additional advice?

Thanks for the vent, all.
My five:
  1. Spice-scented candles.
  2. Duck confit pizza at Chef Geoffs. AMAZING.
  3. Velour jammie pants. These things are so overworn, but dang I love 'em.
  4. Bath fizzies from Lush.
  5. Hub's return. Can't WAIT!
And, because was one of the rare days when the universe didn't give me the melodic support that I needed, I'm including two tunes that helped me fake a happy mood.




momma woke up in a weird state of mind this morning.

not quite enough sleep. good memories of a fun evening reconnecting with a friend twisting together with some tragic news. there's not enough space in my brain to reconcile the two extremes.

hubs being out of town. more dream-crushing on today's work to-do list.

i'm feeling unsettled, and impotent...there's not any way to avoid these things or make the rough ones better for the other folks involved.


so that my mental state doesn't rage across Teh Interwebs? Good links.
  • i need an armload of these STAT.
  • but if you bring them to me? this is what will happen.
  • boy, i wish i had thought of this seven years ago!
  • fellow shoe-whores: would you wear these?
  • Boo's homework...i expect to be able to play this when i get back at Thanksgiving!
  • this would make that starbucks order WAY easier to carry...
  • and now? name that Police tune...
and since I'll be humming that tune all day? well, you should too. i hate to be alone.

My five:
  1. health. 
  2. quiet mornings.
  3. catching up with friends.
  4. hazelnut coffee.
  5. cold fingertips.


i did it!

I actually ran a 10k.

Hubs drove me down to the tidal basin this morning (and didn't even grumble as i got us sooo turned around. Good man!) as the sun was coming up, and took the dog to play some frisbee as I walked to the starting line. The weather was gorgeous - sunny, cloudless, and cool - and the course followed the banks of the Potomac river...which meant that it was lovely and flat. :)

I certainly didn't set any land speed records, but I maintained a pace under 11 minutes per mile. I didn't stop to walk. And I enjoyed it....really enjoyed it.

There's a correlation between running and singing for me. Last night and this morning I could feel the old nervous thoughts inserting themselves into my routine. The upset stomach, the irritability, the "what if"s jumping around my head. It was my old pre-performance narrative, adapted for running..."you're going to finish last." "you're going to twist an ankle and then you'll be SCREWED for the audition tour." "children and grandparents are going to smoke you, TurtleGirl." But once I got to the line, heard the music and the announcer, and passed through the gates? It mostly went away. I knew how to do it...had rehearsed enough with shorter distances, with running to a certain playlist, that it had become second nature. I could enjoy the scenery, snap my fingers along to the music (and yes, I may have sung a few bars), and pace myself in a way that felt, well, good.

I told myself that the 2 things that I wanted out of this morning's run was to complete the course without walking, and to pace myself in a way that would make that possible. And I have to say that even though I totally wanted to rabbit at the beginning (Because passing people? Is AWESOME.), keeping myself in check, my breath underneath me,  and my steps steady for the first half of the run really made a difference. I even had enough steam at the end to pass a poor bloke.
(Who knew I was a wee bit competitive??)

I'm crossing Run a 10k off of my imaginary life list.

My five:
  1. Supportive hubster. He's the best.
  2. Cookies for breakfast.
  3. Rising to a challenge.
  4. Advil.
  5. Looking for the next challenge.


house arrest

Well, we're about 2.5 weeks away from the yearly audition tour. I'm equal parts excited and reticent. Excited because, well, it's exciting! Seeing old friends, hearing new voices, making eeeevil plans for next summer...really, what's NOT to love?

Oh, that's right. My hubs and my pets and my little house and my sweet neighborhood (and my beloved hoochie shoe collection) can't come along. Sad face. :(

I'll miss my small town's Halloween parade. (And I LOVE those Shriners in the teeny tiny cars!) I'll be walking in the autumn weather, but with no hand to hold. (I guess I could hold the Boss Lady's hand in a pinch, but that'd be pretty weird...) And all those pals that I finally started to get caught up with after the summer? Yep - they're back on the back burner, yet again. Sorry, my lovelies.

So I'm enjoying being home. I'm taking every opportunity to hang out at the house. I'm cooking more than I should, and skipping the gym in favor of jogs around the 'hood. And it's suiting me quite well, I have to say. Please join me on the porch in the next few weeks - I promise I won't be far away!

And, speaking of the audition tour, a word of advice to those of you who've not applied yet? Your resume should be NO LONGER THAN ONE PAGE. ESPECIALLY if you're applying to the Studio program. You may be an exceptionally gifted, experienced 20-something, but you're not 2-pages experienced. I promise. Edit, edit, edit, my babies...leave the most important stuff.

(And if you don't want to edit? I recommend writing a blog. Lord knows I do blather on...)

Speaking of blathering? Some links! To cool places around the interwebs!
  • Made this for dinner, after being inspired by JBW's facebook status.
  • I could've been this woman - a serious case of "there but for the grace of God go I." Judy B, I neeeed you to get that law degree!
  • I wore these to work today. Granted, I may be crippled tomorrow, but damn, I looked cute today!
  • Worth watching. I hear they cover George Michael and Sade, which makes me so happy. Also, the fact that the singer looks like Joaquin Phoenix is a bonus.
  • Can Farmville really be that large???
  • Stopped me in my tracks. (from Jess at bravissimi. You should visit her. She's super cool.)
  • Cool, but I probably wouldn't wear them unless I was going to be surrounded by kids. Or tripping adults. That'd be fun.
  • Everyone needs a Whenwolf.
  • The picture is ridic, but the quote is sound.
And my five:
  1. Scarves.
  2. Roasted squash.
  3. Quiet evenings. 
  4. Fleece-lined slippers.
  5. Pinot noir.


big run day

Today our house was up before dawn, and Hubs and the pup jumped into the truck shortly after sunup for a quick trip to Pennsylvania.

On my agenda today? A long run. Because honestly, that 10k next weekend is scaring the pants off of me...and doing the miles on my own is a necessary step to doing it with faster, stronger runners.

So, 7:30am. Sneakers on, iPod charged. Chuggachuggachugga.
And I did it.
My thoughts about it:
  • Holy CRAP I'm tired.
  • And my muscles are reeeeeally tight. I'm walking like an old lady.
  • There were two women who were running together for part of my route. They took every spoke they could, crossing and recrossing the main trail. They were FAST. And they often looked like little girls playing tag on the schoolyard... when I stopped hating them for being so skinny and fast, I started really enjoying the playground-quality of their run.
  • I have a teeny-tiny competitive streak...and it comes out when people pass me. But I'm not at a fitness level that I can maintain a kick-ass pace. Enter Beck... and the song that saved my life. I must've listened to it 8 times...every time I started to push too hard and lose my breath.
  • I ran (I use that word a lot...please substitute "shuffle." It's more accurate.) through the folks setting up for Oktoberfest, past a park that I didn't know existed, through the heavenly aroma of cinnamon rolls next to Whole Foods. I saw a jillion dogs, one recumbent bike, lots of cyclists and runners. And shufflers....I'm not alone.
  • I may not run the race next weekend. I know, I know. I'm psyched to have actually done 6.3 (!) miles, but it was a real struggle...and I hurt. I might, realistically, need more training to do it well, more comfortably, and without hurting myself. We'll see how I feel in a few days...if I'm achy, I'll listen to my body. If I'm feeling good, I'll try it. 
  • (Either way? I'll be signing up for another one. For. Sure.)
  • (I can't believe that the girl who was in Bobo Gym Class in high school, who never played a sport, who hated to sweat, just ran 10k. Of her own volition. And - mostly - enjoyed it.)
To celebrate my accomplishment? Heartfelt kudos from the hubs - he's my inspiration. Add to that a new laptop (YESSS!!!) and a day spent with one of my besties? An INCREDIBLE day on the books!!

(Hell, if this is what every day post-run is like? I'll HAVE to do it more often!)

My five:
  1. A healthy body.
  2. Burning enough calories to eat WHATEVER I WANT ALL DAY.
  3. Wool sweaters and flip flops.
  4. A lap full of sleeping cat.
  5. Precious time with Rach.