Tag Archives: NYC

New Year, New York

By calling upon my West Coast roots and operating on Pacific Time tonight, I have about half an hour before January 2015 comes to a close. Things have been quite busy since the new year began, and I want to reflect on it and savor it before February starts and the new year isn’t quite so new anymore.

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New Year’s with the family. San Jose, 2015.

I had such a wonderful time with my family in California that leaving was quite difficult. I think it’s because we become closer each time. My mom likes to point out that we’re just a quick phone call and a short plane ride apart — as she likes to remind me, staying in touch is much easier and far less expensive now than it was in her day. Still, saying goodbye to my family is not easy, and re-adjusting to real life seems to get harder each time I leave California.

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Flying back into NYC. NYC, 2015.

I felt pretty subdued and even sad during my flight, but I perked up as we approached JFK. Looking down on the lights, I felt a wave of excitement for what 2015 might hold. Seeing how vast the city is, imagining the 8 million plus people down there, I felt united with them in not knowing exactly what the future had in store for us.

Unfortunately, that feeling of unity didn’t last long once I was on the ground. Waiting alongside masses of impatient New Yorkers for our bags to glide by on the carousel, I was firmly back in the reality of NYC — cold, crowded, ruthless. I really missed the comfort and support of my parents and brother. The nicer strangers. And the warmer temperatures.

The next day, I was riding the subway when a man come on board with his drum and his music. Up until that point, the ride had been a typical New York public transit experience: crowded but silent, each person minding their own business, mostly tired, few smiles. I was personally exhausted and feeling pretty down about being back in New York without Dante and Baritone Boy (both of whom were staying in California for a few days longer), but this gentleman brought a smile to my face and to the faces of many others. He said:

“When you wake up and go outside, don’t be afraid to be you, the unique you that only you can be, the you the world so desperately needs. As long as you are part of the solution and not the problem, don’t let anyone distract you from what you’re doing.”

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And with that, I felt united in the unknown, the excitement, the adventure that awaits us all this new year.  New York, you really know how to get a girl back on her feet and ready to take on whatever you throw at her. Here’s to 2015 and what it might bring!

A Washington DC Weekend

Being a singer is a huge part of my identity, something I work on and think about daily, but I was reminded this Thanksgiving that life is — and should be — more than singing. To remind myself of that, I’m looking back on happy moments from this past year that were not centered around being a singer.

In July, my brother, who lives in California, was in Washington, DC, for a work conference. The distance between us was going from 2,900 miles down to 226, so there was no way we were going to miss this opportunity to see each other. As a bonus, his birthday fell right in the middle of the trip and I wanted to be there to celebrate with him.

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Outside the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress. DC, 2014.

It was my first visit to DC since the 1st grade. The weather was good. And I hadn’t seen my brother in about six months. We walked until our feet were about to fall off, took pictures until the batteries ran out, and enjoyed being tourists. Continue reading

Enjoying Fall in NYC

If there’s one season I’ve consistently written off, it’s Fall. With its dull browns and gloomy grays, Fall is unremarkable and pales in comparison to the two seasons it is awkwardly sandwiched between, seasons that are a lot more fun.

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Dante in one of his sweaters. Fort Tryon Park. NYC, 2014.

At least that was the opinion I had before I moved to NYC, before I experienced the humid stuffiness of Summer and the biting, slippery danger of Winter. Now my eyes are opened and I celebrate this fantastic opportunity to wear boots and sweaters (and to dress Dante up) without my fingers and toes freezing off. The change in weather seemed to happen overnight — one day we were strolling along in short-sleeves and sandals, and the next morning the sidewalks were filled with hats, scarves, and long coats. Continue reading

A Thankful and Full Thanksgiving

This year’s Thanksgiving was perfectly timed. Coming right after our big Strauss concert and right before rehearsals for Don Giovanni begin, this holiday and the long weekend are  just what I needed to recharge and then gear-up for the last month of 2014.

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Thanksgiving family portrait. NYC, 2014.

Thanksgiving was never my favorite holiday as a child (Halloween was more fun, Christmas was far more exciting, and turkey was not that big of a deal). I have personal qualms about the historic basis of the celebration, but as I find more to be thankful for each year, I have grown fond of the idea of reflecting and giving thanks.

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A Strauss Celebration: 150 Years

The last two months of 2014 are turning out to be exciting and overwhelming. Things were supposed to wind down after Cendrillon, but after just a few weeks of quiet it picked back up with auditions, new repertoire, and the news that I was cast to sing Zerlina in Don Giovanni this December.

Another project just around the corner is one I am especially proud of, a concert celebrating Richard Strauss’s 150th birthday.

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Even if you don’t care much for birthdays, you’ve go to admit that 150 years is a big deal. This one was celebrated all over the world, most noticeably with performances of his works. Statistics from Operabase.com show how Strauss-mania kicked in for 2014:

  • In 2013: 364 performances of 85 productions, in 57 cities
  • In 2014: 625 performances of 153 productions, in 92 cities

The idea of putting on a Strauss concert had been on my mind all year, and after summer came and went I knew I was running out of time. It’s taken plenty of sweat and a bit of stress (but thankfully, no blood), and everything has come together beautifully.

I’m thrilled and honored to be making this music with eight fabulous women, the majority of whom are old friends and a handful of whom are new ones. Our concert is this Saturday at 3 PM in Washington Heights, NYC. We’ll be performing at the same church I had my recital at earlier this year, Holyrood Church. If you’re in the neighborhood, please come by to hear some Strauss!

 

 

 

The Holds-Everything, Goes-With-Everything Fall Satchel for Singers

Being a singer is hard work. One of my biggest peeves about singing is the amount of stuff we have to lug around. Whenever I see someone strolling around with a cute little purse, I get a bit envious. Singers rarely, if ever, get to indulge in small handbags. At minimum, we need water and our music – neither of which would fit into a clutch or cross-body. I’ll bring out the old backpack on occasion, but most days I prefer an easy-to-use and easy-on-the-eyes handbag. Here’s my Fall discovery, a satchel that has become my go-to:

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Hanging out at the Lincoln Center Atrium. NYC, 2014.

The structure and detailing give this satchel a dressed-up feeling, but the black and brown color combination – versatile and classic – keeps it from getting stuffy. Continue reading

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