Sunday, December 31, 2006


Sitting here in my picture window, looking out at the fountain that bubbles underneath the now-multicolored oak tree in our courtyard, I reflect on 2006 and look forward to 2007. Our lives are such a paradox in a way – it feels like it was just yesterday that I was frantically trying to pack to leave for a ten week tour and trying to plan a New Year’s Eve party, when in fact it was a year ago. And in that year, so much has happened. Life is full of so many moments (both good and bad) that seem like suspended time, but the moments pass by so quickly.

The highlights of my 2006? The stress of performing my first run of L’italiana in Algieri fighting a cold. The thrill of making my New York City Opera debut in Acis & Galatea, one of my favorite operas. The excitement of my European debut in Frankfurt. The scare of my friend Erin’s car accident and the relief of her recovery. A wonderful summer spent with Jeremy and my friends who came through or live in DC. My first vacation ever – split between Montreal and Rehoboth Beach. An unexpected fall reunion in Atlanta with my former roommate and our friend Slater. Getting to experience one of the most special musical moments of my life singing in Poppea and getting to spend so much time with my little brother in Los Angeles. A happy Christmas holiday with my family in Michigan – it was the best time I’ve ever had with my family as an adult. It was a good year, and for that I am grateful.

Looking to 2007, I have some resolutions in mind, I look forward to a few things, and I have one big question. The resolutions? They range from the mundane to the ambitious. I want to up my cardio at the gym. I’d like to maintain the frequency of my blog postings. I’m going to dig into the Artist’s Way again (Julia Cameron has a new book out). I’m going to practice with more regularity while I am on the road. I am going to create better schedules for myself. I want to volunteer somewhere. I want to create a long-term financial plan. I want to save more money. I want to cook more. I want to sleep more.

I look forward to being in Chicago again and singing more Monteverdi. I look forward to tackling L’italiana in Algieri again, hopefully this time in good health. I look forward to keeping my resolutions. I look forward to spending the first two months of 2007 with Jeremy at home. I also look forward to moving away from Houston.

This last item, of course, leads to my aforementioned “one big question”. As Jeremy’s time in the HGO Studio nears an end, my time as a resident of Houston will draw to a close, as well. Houston is a place that I thought I would be in only for a couple of years – I never imagined that I would be in my fifth year here. Houston has come to be a place that I consider home, and I will be sad to leave in many ways. I will miss our wonderful little apartment that is my creative haven and nest where I flee to recuperate, prepare, and be with Jeremy. I will miss our lovely neighbors. I will miss my sweet hairdresser, Amanda. I will miss the beautiful, clear, mild days of Houston “winters”. I will miss the many friends that Jeremy and I have made during our time here. Still, the time to move on to the next step in our lives approaches, and this begs the question – where to next? We have some options that we are seriously considering, but we are married to none yet – only that we will be leaving here. As I often write as a catch phrase when I can think of nothing else to write in my morning pages – we will see.

Photo by Jeremy Frank

Monday, December 25, 2006

Holiday Cheer

My fall travels ended last week, as soon as I dragged myself home after the final performance of Poppea. The flight home was short and uneventful, minus my hangover. The first morning at home, I dicovered that my body had crashed, and I was sick with a cold. I had two days at home in Houston, before Jeremy and I flew up to Ann Arbor to visit my family, which has been quite pleasant. All of this is basically an excuse for my extended absence, but I do want to wish the world peace, joy, health, and happiness this holiday season and all the best for a happy, healthy, and fruitful 2007.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Presence on the Web

So my official website is finished, and it was launched today, much to my excitement and relief. It has been an interesting process to put a website together. I shied away from it for a long time, because I always felt that personal websites were sort of masturbatory, in a way. I also delayed putting it up, because I wanted to save up the money to do it properly – I really wanted it to be done the right way. I figured better to have no website at all than to have something that looks like I did it at home with construction paper and glue (I simply lack the technical savvy and patience to do something like this on my own). I realize now that it is an important tool for publicity purposes and to have a decent sound clip or two online.

Still, in line with Kim Witman’s insights on singer’s materials recently, I have found that putting so much energy into selling yourself is exhausting, and it is really distracting from the primary task – making music. I am so grateful that I had a designer to do the bulk of the work. The little that I had to do I found exhausting and mind-numbing. Constantly looking at, listening to, and reading about myself was toxic after awhile. I know that being a singer and artist requires a lot of alone time and concern with oneself, but there is an introspective quality to that time that is productive and fruitful. Spending time immersed in headshots, sound clips, and other publicity materials is not introspective – in fact it is quite the opposite. During the times that I was trying to assemble materials for the site, I found myself more concerned with what other people were doing, and I felt myself getting a competitive edge. Doubts began to creep in and jealousy started to rear its ugly, green head. Oddly, even though I was immersed in materials all about me, my focus shifted from me and my work to what other people think – a very precarious place for an artist’s focus to drift.

As a result, I’ve decided to keep this blog a separate entity from the website. This blog is a very introspective exercise for me, and its purpose is not to market myself or push my career ahead. It is my effort to understand my life and the world around me and to not feel quite so alone as I travel.

I am so excited about the website – I am really pleased with the way it looks, and I am happy that I have a professional presence on the web now. I am also immensely relieved that the process of designing it is over, and all I have to do for now is simply update it from time to time.

The photo above is one of my new publicity shots - they were taken by Balance Photography.