Tag Archives: photos by sopranos

Don Giovanni at the Met, Plus a Stage Door Stake-Out

One of the perks of my day job at a major NYC institution is getting discount tickets to various shows and events. When I saw “The Metropolitan Opera,” “Don Giovanni,” and “Luca Pisaroni,” listed, I actually put it in my calendar to buy tickets as soon as they went on sale. After singing my first Zerlina last December, I was even more eager to see a full production of Don Giovanni live. Plus, I’ve been a big fan of Luca’s for a while now and really wanted to see him in one of his signature roles: Leporello (I dare you to watch this rendition of the Catalog Aria, “Madamina, il catalogo è questo,” and not be charmed).

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Settling in for Don Giovanni. NYC, 2015.

It had been a while since my last visit to the Met and I was going to see Don Giovanni, so it was with great anticipation and excitement that I made my way to Lincoln Center after work on Friday. Fellow soprano Jen and I met up for a coffee and catch-up session before the show, and Baritone Boy joined us a little later.

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Lincoln Center at twilight. NYC, 2015.

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Baritone Boy and I in the cold. NYC, 2015.

It was a great performance, with all the characters well-portrayed and fully-embodied. We were sitting up in Family Circle, and more so than any other time I’ve been to the Met, I wished for opera glasses to really see and get the full effect of facial expressions and nuanced moments. It’s really the intricate relationships between the characters (combined with the magical music, of course) that makes this opera so interesting and so well-loved. Continue reading

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New Year, New Audition Outlook

Happy New Year again! The lunar new year was just last week on February 19th, and Baritone Boy and I enjoyed a wonderful if not-quite-traditional celebration at home after a long day of work for both of us. I lack the culinary skills to create a real Chinese New Year feast, but I did stop by Chinatown on the way home for groceries and successfully cobbled together a meal inspired by the foods that remind me most of home and family: noodle soup, potstickers, zongzi (sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), and nian gao (sticky new year’s cake). Each course brings to mind very specific family memories, so this meal made me feel close to my family despite being separated by the width of the North American continent.

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A family-memories inspired New Year’s dinner. NYC, 2015.

It has been years since I spent Chinese New Year with my parents and brother, but I loved sharing this holiday with Baritone Boy and Dante and indulging in some delicious dishes. This New Year marked not only the start of the Year of the Sheep but also wrapped up what has been a very busy seven weeks since January 1st.

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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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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

A Cinderella Comeback

This past weekend I had the thrill of singing La Fée with soprano Laura Mitchell as my Cendrillon. We both did our undergraduate degrees in San Diego, and it was such a pleasure to be reunited and to sing together.

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Reunited with soprano Laura Mitchell. NYC, 2014.

Having the opportunity to learn the rest of the role and revisit La Fée’s coloratura-filled aria and eyebrow-raising Act 3 scene was immensely rewarding and validating. After getting through the initial bumps in the note-learning and muscle-coordinating processes, I found that the less I stressed about the hard parts, the more easily and cleanly they came. A year and a half ago the vocal demands of La Fée had left me feeling a bit beat-up, but this year I came away from the performance feeling confident and quite happy. Continue reading