Tag Archives: Astoria Music Festival

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.


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!


Astoria 2014: Singing

One of the many aspects of the Vocal Apprentice program I adored this year was the plethora of performance opportunities we took part in. While Così fan tutte was the culmination of our efforts and our growth as performers, the other singing we did was just as important in our self-discovery and learning.


Despina rocking the apron look. Astoria, 2014.

Through a series of Apprentice concerts held at various venues around town, we had the opportunity to share our repertoire with others and put into practice ideas from masterclasses, lessons, and coachings. I mentioned last time that the amount of talent in Astoria was astounding, and I can, without hesitation, include the abilities of the Apprentices in this statement as well. Over the course of the Festival I got to hear beautiful singing from my peers, and they introduced me to new repertoire as well as different interpretations of music I was already familiar with. It’s no wonder we had a group of regular attendees at our concerts!

Many of the pieces I used for these concerts I had performed fairly recently at my recital, and I was surprised at how differently some of them felt just a month later. I am very, very thankful for the coaches and teachers who guided me through these developments: Gustavo Castro and Karen Esquivel, Paul Floyd, Allan Glassman, Marie Plette, Mark Robson, and Richard Zeller.

Continue reading

Astoria Music Festival 2014: Friends and Music

Astoria, OR was just as quiet and friendly as I remembered it, and the Festival was as inspiring and satisfying as I could have hoped. We packed an impressive amount of singing into a short amount of time, and I came away with suggestions that made an immediate impact, ideas that I’m still working through, and words of encouragement that I’ll hold dear to my heart for a long, long time. Just yesterday I had my first voice lesson back in NYC, and my teacher was very pleased with the adjustments I’ve been making.


The historic Liberty Theater. Astoria, 2014.

Continue reading

Chronicles of Despina: the Journey Begins

Less than two months to go before I head to Oregon for the Astoria Music Festival this summer! Which means less than two months to learn the role of Despina in Così fan tutte!

Little did I know after singing Bastienne this past February that Despina would be my next Mozart role! Since this opportunity is a bit of a milestone for me — first full-length Mozart role, staged and with orchestra — I thought I would chronicle my progress and the process of getting to know this character and this opera.

Of course, I was absolutely thrilled when I got the news about Despina — I jumped up and down and hugged Baritone Boy (who didn’t know at the time I would be hijacking his Così Bärenreiter) — but by the next morning, the enormity of what I’d gotten myself into was settling in:

Just a week prior I had committed myself to singing Susanna in selections from Le nozze di Figaro. This concert is scheduled for mid-May, with Cornerstone Chorale’s Mozart Requiem literally the next day and the Musical Merit Auditions three weeks later. A week and half after that, Vocal Apprentices for the Festival are to arrive in Astoria.

A partial role, a requiem, a competition, and my first full-length Mozart role — what have I gotten myself into?!

If I’ve gotten myself into trouble, I suppose this is the best kind of trouble: too much wonderful music to sing.

Within 48 hours of getting the email from Astoria about the casting, I raided the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and started highlighting the Bärenreiter I’d gotten Baritone Boy as a Christmas gift (no time to order one — I’ll make this up to him!):


Stocking up on Mozart and Cosi study materials. NYC, 2014.

I have a lot of work to do, but saying no never crossed my mind. Astoria is too enriching of a festival to pass by, and Despina is too amazing of a role to turn down. I just have to find a way to manage my time and get it all done (and done well).

One of the biggest contributors to the anxiety is that this is the most significant amount of music and recitative I have had to prepare. I don’t actually know how long it will take me, so the big question constantly being asked inside my head is “Can you really do this in less than two months?” With all the other music I’m learning and polishing, while working full-time, taking care of Dante, and trying to fit in yoga and quality time with Baritone Boy, I’m slightly nervous.

I definitely had mild panic attacks every two hours for the first two days. A week later, the panic attacks occur less frequently and — more significantly — I have also memorized the recit and translation for Despina’s first two scenes and have a working knowledge of both arias!

I had such a beautiful and eye-opening experience in Astoria last year, and it is an honored to have the opportunity to participate again. I’m looking forward to the fabulous masterclasses, concerts, and workshops (check out all the events and artists they have lined up!!), not to mention the breath-taking scenery and the new friends I’ll make. I need every minute of the next 49 days to prepare my music, but I also can’t wait for the Festival to get underway…

Stay tuned for more Chronicles of Despina!


Diving into two more Mozart roles in the upcoming months: Susanna with New York Lyric and Despina with Astoria Music Festival! It is going to be a very busy spring and a very rewarding summer. There will be plenty for me to post about… so thank you for coming along on this journey with me! Continue reading

Astoria Music Festival 2013

Just got back from a great experience as an apprentice at the Astoria Music Festival in Astoria, Oregon. What a great 2.5 weeks! I’ve got less than a week to finish packing for my move to NYC, but I hope to post in more detail in the next few days.

For now, some highlights!

Astoria, land of beautiful sunsets:


Sun shining through shifting clouds as seen from a pier along the Columbia


Sunset as we drive across Youngs Bay


Setting sun reflected in windows along the Columbia River


Low tide sunset along Astoria Riverwalk

An incredible range of Festival events:


Masterclass with Ruth Ann Swenson


My view singing in the Otello chorus at the Verdi concert, featuring Ruth Ann Swenson, Allan Glassman, and Richard Zeller.


Baroque opera with a Baroque ensemble led by Gwendolyn Toth


Copland’s Appalachian Spring in the original chamber orchestration performed to a film of Martha Graham dancing her original choreography


Setting up for the Wagner concert at the historic Liberty Theater

I loved being part of a Festival, working on my own repertoire and role while attending language classes, coachings, rehearsals, workshops, masterclasses, and performances. I made wonderful new friends and got to work with amazingly knowledgeable and generous professionals. I was in the same room as Ruth Ann Swenson and Richard Zeller — which I never in my wildest dreams ever thought would happen — and talked to them and hugged them. I experienced music that made me laugh (Gianni Schicchi) and cry (Dido and Aeneas and Appalachian Spring), singing that made me hold my breath (Ruth Ann’s Desdemona) and made my jaw drop (Allan’s Otello and Richard’s Iago). I knew I would learn a lot from the program, but I came away with so much more than I’d expected. At a time of big changes in my life and in my voice, Astoria Music Festival helped me to appreciate where I am now and gave me hope for the things to come.

In the works update (April 22, 2013)

IN THE WORKS @ April 22, 2013

And Open to All with MusicaNova Orchestra, April 2013

  • Zerlina in Act 1 Finale of Don Giovanni
  • Allerseelen (R. Strauss) … with orchestra!
  • concert details here

Shakespeare in the Desert with  Arizona Pro Arte and Solis Camerata, April 2013

  • “V’adoro, pupille” from Giulio Cesare
  • concert details here

Opera Scenes, April 2013

  • La fée in Act 3 of Cendrillon (Massenet)

Vocal Duets Repertoire Class Concert, April 2013

  • Pastorale, soprano-baritone (Saint-Saëns)
  • Sub tuum praesidium, soprano-soprano duet (Mozart)
  • Mother Comfort, soprano-mezzo (Britten)
  • Die Schwestern, soprano-mezzo (Brahms)
  • Abschiedslied der Zugvögel, soprano-mezzo (Mendelssohn)

Shakespeare’s Circle of Love with Solis Camerata, April 2013

  • Where the bee sucks (Robert Johnson)
  • Cleopatra in “Ritorni omai nel nostro core” from Giulio Cesare

Opus with Society of Composers, Inc. and Classical Revolution Phoenix at the Phoenix Art Museum, May 2013

  • Dreams (Bethany Brown, world premiere)

Musical Merit Audition, May 2013

  • “Douce enfant” from Cendrillon (Massenet)
  • “Piangerò la sorte mia” from Giulio Cesare
  • Laurie’s Song from The Tender Land (Copland)
  • Morgen! (R. Strauss)
  • something in Russian (hopefully)
  • “Ich will dir mein Herze schenken” from Matthäus-Passion
  • Last rose of summer (Britten)
  • Pastorale (Copland)

Astoria Music Festival (Astoria, Oregon), June 2013

  • Belinda in Dido and Aeneas
  • Lauretta (study cover) in Gianni Schicchi