Monthly Archives: September 2014

Life so far update (September 2014)

September 2014

What a difference 12 months make! Last year I arrived in NYC with no job, no puppy, and no confidence in navigating the subway system. Now, my job keeps me more than busy, as does Dante the Yorkie, and I only get on the wrong subway train about once a month.

The past few months have been a wonderful time of self-discovery and vocal progress. I traveled, caught-up with old friends, made new ones, performed, indulged in some French Baroque, sang with orchestra, debuted a role, and mulled over feedback and new ideas. All in all, it was a very successful and satisfying summer.

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Così fan tutte sitzprobe. Astoria, 2014.

Fall is here – I’m layering on the sweaters, contemplating scarves, and pulling out the closed-toe shoes.

Application/audition season is underway – I’m sending emails, submitting resumes and headshots, and I’ve sung three auditions in the past two weekends. Hopefully, more is to come.

I have one more performance scheduled for this year, with a few potentials floating in the air as well. I’m excited to wrap this year up and see what’s to come next!

Confessions of a Classical Singer: Les Misérables

Brace yourself – it’s confession time.

Years and years before I even cared at all about opera, I loved musical theater.

And long before I ever dreamed about about singing La Fée, Norina, Sophie (both Strauss’ and Massenet’s), Marie, or Susanna, I fantasized about singing Cosette and Eponine. I listened to the Les Misérables Complete Symphonic Recording non-stop (I had the CD set, but you can find it on YouTube as well). I knew all the words and all the numbers, and I even knew the slightly operatic recitatives (perhaps a hint of the direction I would being moving in?) and found them weirdly fascinating.

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Iconic Playbill and Les Misérables image. Broadway, 2014.

It wasn’t just Les Misérables I dreamed of being in. There was also The Phantom of the Opera (oh yes, I’m one of those opera singers who loves The Phantom of the Opera), Miss Saigon, and Into the Woods, to name a few. But it became apparent early on that I didn’t have that musical theater edge to my sound – no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t figure out how to belt, and my friends got the pop solos in choir while I got the “classical” ones. I battled years of severe belt- and riff- envy, but eventually I got seriously excited about classical singing.  Continue reading

The Fairy Godmother, a Dream Role

About 3 years ago, a fellow soprano-friend and I were in San Francisco and chatting about repertoire and roles when she suggested I look into the fairy godmother in Massenet’s take on the Cinderella story, Cendrillon. Massenet, I knew, but Cendrillon?

Back then, a YouTube search resulted in only about five Cendrillon clips that weren’t French dubs of the Disney movie, one of which was this recording of Esther Heideman singing La Fée’s aria “Ah! douce enfant.”

One listen, and I was in love.

Over the next few years I learned the aria even though it was on the obscure side and, therefore, not a great audition choice — I wanted to learn it just to learn it and to sing it, even if it was just for myself. I even had the opportunity to learn and perform La Fée’s second big scene, in Act 3, when she works a bit of magic to bring Cendrillon and the Prince together after their first encounter at the ball. Annalise Belnap sang Cendrillon, Kristin Roney sang the Prince, and during rehearsals the three of us would melt into puddles over the way Massenet spun these soaring, pleading lines.

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La Fée with her Cendrillon, Annalise Belnap. ASU Lyric Opera Scenes, 2013.

Continue reading