Thursday, June 29, 2006

Remember That Bad Dance Audition???

Yeah, well, that lovely lady is staging a fair portion of Kate. Last night was our first staging rehearsal. Man, that woman is high strung!! And she's difficult to understand. She might be looking right at you but she's actually talking to someone else. So you think she's giving you stage direction when she's really giving it to someone two people over from you. Ugh. Hopefully, I'll get to where I have a clue what she's talking about. And I thought her dance instructions in the auditions were bad!

All in all, rehearsals are going well. Musically, I think this will be a fantastic show--the ensemble is great. As usual, the guys are a little weak. But this group has picked up quicker than some I've worked with. The second sops are a little weak, as well. But I'm sure they'll improve with time. The first sops kick butt, if I do say so myself. And I'm not just saying that b/c I'm one of them! Really, I'm not!

We've only gotten to hear a few of the principals. I reserve judgment at this point. It's still early and some just got music on Monday.

I can already tell this show is going to be exhausting, but I think it's going to be tons of fun. And, hey, I might even learn to dance!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Another Op'nin of Another Show

All in all, Figaro was a huge success. We completely sold out Sunday afternoon and were very close to a sell-out on Saturday evening. It was a tremendous experience, and I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to play Barbarina. I am very proud of myself for four near-flawless performances, and the director was proud of me, as well. I do hope this means many more roles for me with this company! {Photos to come}

No rest for the weary though. I began Kiss Me, Kate rehearsals last night. It was all music, which is actually much more challenging than I anticipated it would be. But everyone is super-nice, and I can already tell I'm really going to enjoy this new company. We're off tonite, thankfully, so I can catch up on some rest and much-needed house cleaning. I even have plans to cook dinner for my sweet husband, who is so supportive of my time away from home.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Opening Nights Both Successes

We've now completed the opening nights of Figaro with both casts. Both performances went amazingly well. Voices were strong, the set is amazing (finally), and the audiences were participatory. More importantly for me, I didn't have any mistakes & I can finally hear the harpsichord for my recits!

My parents, grandmother, and several church friends came on Thursday. And last night, I had several friends in attendance. Everyone was pleased with the production and more importantly were very proud of me. Tonight and tomorrow, I'll have Derek attending, along with my voice teacher, several others from church, and friends. I'm just as nervous as I was on the first night, but it's nice to have two solid performances out of the way.

Thanks to all of you for coming to support me in this endeavor--it means so much to have you in the audience!!!

Sweeney Todd

I've been so consumed with the opera this week that I completely forgot to let all of you know that I heard from Lyric Stage--I'm singing Sweeney Todd in September! I still think that was the strangest audition ever, but I'm glad to know that my nerves didn't keep me out of the show. I'll be singing in the ensemble in this production, as well, and while I'm a little disappointed, it gets my foot in the door of yet another area theatre. So perhaps somewhere down the road, I'll start landing roles.

LS's Sweeney Todd will be a one-show concert production at the Meyerson Symphony Center in downtown Dallas. I've never sung a concert production of a musical, so this will be an interesting adventure. I'm supposed to get my score & further instructions sometime in late July. I can't wait!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Opening Night

Well, it's finally here--opening night no. 1. To say the least, this has been an interesting week. Tech week is always stressful and always involves long rehearsals & late nights. But this week has been even more so.

Load in on Monday spelled the demolition of the set. Most of the pieces fell from a piece of loading equipment and shattered. This meant a total rethink on set pieces & how we would recover from such a disaster. In the end, I think we have a better set. We've gone minimalist, and really, I think it works 100 times better. But this re-set means that, even on opening night, nothing is yet concrete. We probably won't be finished tweaking until the weekend, perhaps even the last performance. It makes us all very nervous. Every day we've had new set pieces & configurations, so blocking has changed, entrances have changed. It's act-on-your-feet 101.

On top of all that, our orchestra is...well, not exactly up to snuff. They're missing notes, not following the conductor, and just altogether screwing us up in places. They are improving each rehearsal, but tonight is opening night! The harpsichord is a piece. It's next to impossible to hear no matter how close you are to it. This makes the recits very difficult b/c we end up with no tonal center. The conductor acknowledged that the harpsichord is a piece & he has someone coming to work on it today. So we hope that it actually makes it worth its weight.

While I'd like to think that a bad rehearsal makes an excellent performance, I'm petrified of this one. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sleep Deprivation 101

So, have you ever wondered how to learn how to function on 5 hrs of sleep or less? You become a singer! Seriously, I'm quickly learning that professional singers don't sleep much...or, more likely, they don't have dayjobs. Well, for those of us who don't yet make enough singing, losing the dayjob is out of the question...thus, I have now been indoctrinated into the world of singer's sleep deprivation or SSD.

Honestly, I thought I had already been indoctrinated into SSD until I got contracted for these two shows this summer. I mean, I keep a pretty tight singing schedule during the fall & spring with several late nights a week. (Keep in mind, late for me is anything that lasts beyond 8:30 p.m. Yeah, go ahead & say it, I'm old!!!) But I had no idea it would be like this. Getting home at 10:30 p.m. is early these days!! I'm one of those girls you hear about who really needs her "beauty sleep." While I would like to say it's because I'm vain & don't want dark circles under my eyes or wrinkles or whatever, I have to say that I'm an 8-hr-minimum girl out of consideration for the safety of others! You might say I'm a bit on the crabby side when I don't get enough sleep. So after two weeks on 5 hrs or less, you can imagine what Derek must be dealing with.

I'm very much looking forward to the next few weeks. I'll be taking some time off to catch up on some rest. Mostly, it's show week next week so I want to be sure I'm well-rested for that. After Figaro, I march straight into Kiss Me, Kate, so extra rest is not an option but a requirement as that rehearsal schedule is even crazier than the current one!

But I'm whining. Really...I'm having a terrific time. The cast members are all excellent & a real pleasure to work with. I've learned a lot from them--either directly or indirectly. I do hope that I have more opportunities like this. In the event you're free next weekend & live in the Dallas area, please come to the Eisemann & check out Le Nozze di Figaro.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Well, That's a New One

Yesterday's audition went. I'm not really sure how well. Once again, I had an accompanist who couldn't play my music. I was really shocked at this b/c he only had to play "Out of My Dreams" and "Summertime." I mean, come on!!! But despite the horrendous accompaniment, I think I did alright on my two pieces. I began with OMD b/c it's a simple, straight-forward piece. Nothing too high or too low, so it's a good nerve-getter-outer. Then, they asked for parts of S. I sang the first few measures and then the end of the piece. Whew, fine despite having less air than usual--darn those ozone days! Then...came the vocalization. Warm-up guy says,

WUG: So I'd like to vocalize you now. Is that alright?
SF: Sure.
WUG: I see that your resume says you're a coloratura. Would it be alright if we did some appropriate exercises?
SF: {Gulp.} Sure. {I'll bet we're going to work runs. Deep breath.}
So WUG starts on the high B natural that I've just ended S with and asks for arpeggios up from there. I believe I sang a high G or so. I was so nervous. I had not warmed up appropriately for the exercises he had me sing. Generally, for those notes to be clear and relatively lovely, you need to do appropriate warm-ups, i.e. light exercises that go at least a whole step above where you intend to sing. So, I didn't feel that I did these as well as I could have. Plus, we were in a ballet rehearsal hall, so it was exceedingly live. So much so that I made my own ears ring & had to stop for a few seconds after one of the scales in order to be able to hear anything. I apologized profusely for my nerves when we were finished. I generally hold it together pretty well in auditions, but those vocal exercises really unnerved me. WUG was very complimentary & said he "heard everything [he] needed to hear." Today is the last day of auditions for them, so I hope to hear something by the end of the week. I'll keep you posted.

I also heard from Dallas Opera yesterday. At this point, I do not have a contract for any of their shows. The lady was very nice & said it remains possible that they might call at the last minute in the event of cancellations or conflicts. I won't hold my breath. Honestly, I'm glad to know one way or the other. I can now pursue other things, like Sweeney Todd a lot more seriously. I'm already planning my DO audition for next year. I hope to make a better impression.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Another Audition

It was a nice weekend, albeit very hot and dry. I didn't have opera all weekend. Instead, I had to attend a rehearsal at church for a performance on Sunday. Surprisingly, the Haydn Te Deum went very well. I was a little skeptical after the last few rehearsals I had attended. I knew that I myself didn't know the music as well as I would have liked. But after Saturday's rehearsal, I felt better as things seemed to come together. Sunday went beautifully, and the congregation was very complimentary. They're sometimes difficult to please, particularly when we sing such "high church" music.

This afternoon I'm at home resting. I have an audition for Lyric Stage at 6 across town in Irving. I'm about to practice a little and then take a nap. I'll be going straight to opera rehearsal from there (for 7-11) so it will be a long night. I'm taking two of my good ol' standby pieces that I feel confident singing no matter how little time I've had to rehearse them. LS needs a large chorus for their production, so I feel confident that I will at least be able to land a chorus spot. I'll keep you posted.

Still no word from Dallas Opera. They're supposed to have mailed out all of the contracts by June 15th. I called and left a message last week, hoping to find out whether a contract would arrive in my mailbox. No return phone call yet. I'm going to try again this afternoon. I would really like to know before I hear anything from LS...DO is not a company to which you say no!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Falling Closets

So this has been an eventful week in our household, and my daily rehearsals don't count. Tuesday morning, we awoke to a closet in shambles. The "quality craftsmanship" in our almost-three-year-old home is astonishing. About six months ago, we noticed the shelving units in the master closet had begun pulling away from the wall, so we set about repairing them. To no one's surprise, the braces had not been screwed into the wall studs but had rather haphazardly been slapped on the wall with some itty-bitty screws & then affixed with a wing, a prayer, and lots of paint & caulk. We added screws, appropriately placed in the studs this time, in hopes of holding everything together for another year or so. All of those things finally gave way and everything on the top shelf and hanging on the rod was in the floor. Lovely. So the closet company that put in our garage storage came out, suggested a design, and gave a quote. The installation will occur in a few weeks (before & after photos then). Just what we wanted to do with our tax refund!

Also on Tuesday, Dori went to the vet. I've put off her overdue bordatella booster until her pet insurance was in place. Aside from needing her booster shot, the last several weeks her ears have been bothering her and finally got to the point where she wouldn't let us touch them. She's been sneezing & has had red, bloodshot eyes (like I do). All classic symptoms of allergies. So we were pretty sure the ears were probably related to the allergy symptoms. So she got a check-up on Tuesday, along with her booster shot. Her teeth really needed cleaning and she wouldn't let the vet get near her ears. So we scheduled her for a teeth cleaning on Thursday. While under anesthesia, they could check her ears & trim her toenails without her fussing. Her teeth are sparkling clean, and her ear is fine. There was lots of debris & wax in there but no infection or critter. So the vet deduced, as we did, that given her other symptoms the ear issues were related to nasal allergies. So she's now on antihistamines & has some ear drops to reduce the inflammation in her ears. We hope all is short-lived (i.e. seasonal). We'll know in a few months.

Aside from that, I have a reprieve from Figaro until Monday. But I have a Te Deum rehearsal on Saturday afternoon and pieces to polish for the Lyric Stage audition on Monday. I'm also going to pick up my Kiss Me, Kate score on Saturday. No rest for the weary...but I do get to go to bed early & sleep late. Whoo-hoo!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Success! crazy am I? On my last free weekend, I decide to play hostess for Derek's neighborhood birthday party....for 30 of our closest friends! Yeah...crazy. We had a fish fry. Easy, right? Yeah, well, it's not easy planning for that many people. But, as usual, I had way more food than needed. A great time was had by all. And when everyone left around 11:30, I cleaned house. Go figure! Actually, my neighbor helped me clean the kitchen, which took the brunt of the partying. I scrubbed floors. Still managed to be in bed before 12:30. Not too bad. I spent yesterday recovering. Playing hostess is stressful/tiring!

Had another Italian coaching session today. I'm pleased to say that my coach said she wouldn't need to see me anymore. She thought I was doing well & had really mastered all of my trouble spots. Granted, I still have lots of practicing to do to get them right every time I sing them. But I've come a long way in a few weeks. Now I can really start adding my character back in. Yeah for me! Only 16 days until the first show....but who's counting?!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rest Needed / Birthday

Who knew this role would be as tiring as it is. I am so glad I had today off. Surprisingly, I slept until 9:30, despite getting to bed at a relatively decent hour last night. Had lots of things to do today, so the extra rest was nice. If I am tired, I cannot imagine how the leads must feel. They must be exhausted! Then again, not all of them have day jobs. Still, becoming a character requires a lot of physical energy.

Today's coaching went really well. I'm doing much better than I thought I was. Though I've gotten several negative comments from the stage director, my coach felt I was making lots of progress and helped me tweak some things that might have led to the negative comments from the honcho. We'll see if those corrections will make a difference. Have much studying to do, but I feel greatly encouraged.

Had a great lesson today, as well. I'm beginning to prepare pieces for a joint recital with a mezzo in my studio. We looked at some duets today and talked more about the general theme and direction we wanted the recital to take. Think we made great strides in planning. I went over a few audition pieces since I'm planning to audition for Sweeney Todd in a week. I hope I can have those pieces ready by then. I do have some old standbys, just in case.

I actually took today off to spend time with my sweetie who is turning 32 today. We got up late, so we didn't get to share breakfast as we planned (though we were both appreciative of the extra rest). We did get to share lunch with Derek's mom, so that was very nice. Then we dashed off in opposite directions--he to work & I to rehearsals. So much for our day off together. But right now, we're planning to share a nice dinner--just the two of us.