Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Return

We open Return of Ulisses tonight at the Harris Theater at 7:30, and while I am excited, I am also exhausted. These past few weeks have been a very intense birthing-process, so to speak, mostly because the piece is so bloody difficult. Part of what makes it so difficult, I find, is how close it is to "regular" theater. The piece is largely recitative, so we don’t have the easy guidance of set music all of the time. As a result, there are a myriad of choices to be made, and it’s taken a lot of rehearsal to be clear on what they are and can be. Of course, this also makes it all the more fun, as it can always be different and a new thing can be discovered every time we visit a scene.

I look forward to our opening tomorrow – it will be fun to put it on its feet and see where it chooses to go in the coming weeks. I have really fallen in love with Monteverdi these past six months, so I am really excited to perform it again. It feels like a dream come true each time I begin a scene with the continuo group in the pit.

My life otherwise? I am trying to find creative ways to pay my taxes and still survive the next few months financially speaking. It’s funny to me how finances take a lot of creativity and discipline – much like music, in a way. We are still trying to iron out where we will be moving in the coming months – the front-runner right now is New York City. I still hold out for Chicago, secretly, but honestly, at this point, the world is our oyster. We are both still in that, “Where to next?” sort of mindset. We should look for a storage unit in the meantime. I am also trying to put the finishing touches on the Bartok that I am trying to work into my voice for my next adventure, which is some concerts with the St. Louis Symphony.

My best wishes to my wonderful and sweet colleagues here in Chicago for a great run of the show.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Opening my inbox the other day, I was greeting with the following message:

So, you haven't updated your blog in over two weeks. What's going on?

I can understand one week, but two? Really? Having a blog is a commitment, Nicky. Your readers depend on you.

I kid, of course. :o) (but only a little....) :o)

I hope you're well and that Chicago is/was fun. I'm back in the country now and am killing time waiting for my connecting flight. I should be back home by tonight.

Take care, and talk to you soon.


It was strangely like this person was giving voice to my artistic consciousness that has been nagging me to put up an entry. I apologize for my apparently inexcusable neglect. I blame it on a busy, rigorous rehearsal schedule and a crappy internet connection in my hotel room.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I worry.

I am prone to it (in case you hadn’t noticed already), and at times I wonder if it is a by-product of American culture – I honestly have no idea, but it seems easier to blame everything on one’s upbringing at times, right?

My manager often says that one cannot count on much in this industry until one is out on-stage, giving the performance. So much changes from the moment one receives an inquiry to the actual performance. People change their minds, companies change their seasons, singers sometimes don’t learn their music or feel that the piece is ultimately not for them, people get sick – any number of things can happen.

I’ve learned this the hard way recently, and, unfortunately, a lot of the lesson has been in regards to next year. A couple of projects have not panned out for next year for various reasons, and right now, I am staring at a large gap in my schedule. I wake up fretting about it daily.

I find myself drifting back to my thoughts about anxiety last fall, and I ponder the power of thought. If thoughts are creative actions, with the power to influence our reality around us, what good is it to worry? Isn’t that just empowering our sense of hopelessness and panic? Of course, my habit is to think, “I don’t have anything in that gap!” That small thought, repeated each morning as I wake up focuses my being on what I don’t have and what is not happening for me, which would explain my anxiety’s firm grip on my psyche. It also casts a pall over all that I have now, preventing me from enjoying the work that I have in the present moment.

While it is a simple question, thinking “I wonder what will happen?” opens up a world of possibility. It focuses on the fact that something will happen, only I just don’t know what yet. And if I think about it, I never really knew what I would be doing anyway. The focus on possibility and realizing that I can’t ever know the future frees me up to enjoy the work that I have now, and all of the sudden, “I wonder what will happen?” becomes a revolution to my reality.

Photo by Jeremy Frank