Thursday, May 31, 2007

More Relevance and Family

I ran across these two quotes in the margins of Julia Cameron’s latest book while on the train back from Paris yesterday. They make me think back to my musings on relevance a while back.

“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance…And I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.”
– Henry James

“The thing about performance, even if it’s only an illusion, is that it is a celebration of the fact that we do contain within ourselves infinite possibilities.”
– Daniel Day-Lewis

Other than that, I spent most of today with my mother here in Frankfurt before she leaves for Greece tonight. My dad already took off for the states this morning. Now I am off to Heidelberg to see my friend who lives there perform Dover Beach. My days are filling up as my time here draws to a close and I try to pack everything in. I know I have a whole week left here, but time always seems to fold in on itself as my sojourn here begins to draw to a close.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Great Expectations

After my audition today, I descended into the bowels of the Paris Métro and made my way to the Gare du Nord, where I realized that I had two hours to kill before my train left for Germany. I pondered what do, decided to quickly duck into an internet café, made a quick call to my manager in London to give a report on how the audition went, and then settled into a little Brasserie to have a lunch date with myself and a This American Life podcast.

Oddly, the latest podcast in my ipod was a meditation on the theme of road trips. Ira Glass opened the show with a mini-monologue discussing how it is hard for us as Americans to embark upon a trip without some expectations, without a sense of hope for transformation, for epiphany, for personal betterment, for self-discovery.

As I travel for a living, I found it interesting to sit and listen to the various stories about travel, and the play on people’s romanticized ideas about what travel. I actually found that I related to a lot of the stories on the show. Each time I go on the road for work, I expect or hope to realize some goal, to know myself better, to change my life in a way that I have been thinking about for sometime. This is evidenced in the way I over-pack my bags full with books I hope to read, music I hope to learn, the yoga mat I vow to use everyday, the nice clothes that I say that I will wear in an effort to dress more like an adult as opposed to my college wardrobe of t-shirts and jeans. Each time I pack my bags, I do so with the outlook that this trip away from home is going to give me the time, the energy, and the courage to give myself permission to become the wise, balanced, healthy and knowledgeable person I want to be. Each time I set out for the airport, I set out with high expectations for myself.

This is never more true than when I travel for an audition. Audition trips are always full of the hopes of taking more steps towards my dreams and the expectations to sing as well as I can. This trip, thankfully, went mostly as planned. I finished my novel yesterday on the train (chilling stuff), I talked to Jeremy as scheduled in the evening, I woke up roughly on time this morning, did my morning pages, found a gym to work out in without any difficulty, picked up some food for breakfast, did a little bit of yoga back at my hotel, ironed my clothes, and managed not to get lost on my way to the Bastille (and, no, my audition was not for the Bastille – it was simply at the Bastille). The audition went well, and now comes the hard part of waiting. All I can ever do is to do my best to sing well and expressively (and I think that I did well today) – I can’t control what other people think or do. The most challenging part of the whole experience is to trust that the opportunities that I am ready for will come to me when I need them to and when it is time for them – to trust that the universe will take care of me and that it will conspire with me to help me realize my dreams.

In the meantime, I look a little enviously at the people who gather their belongings at each stop on the train and have the sense about them that they have finally returned home. I'm starting to reach the point where I feel like I've been away from Jeremy a bit too long...we'll see each other again soon enough, though.

Many thanks for the good vibes sent for this morning – they obviously helped enough for me to feel good about my audition, and I greatly appreciated them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A little excursion

Ariodante number 2 went quite well last night, minus some drama I had about forgetting my sword in my dressing room. It was minimal drama, though, as the assistant director managed to sneak the sword to me on stage with plenty of time before I needed it, so no one noticed. I really enjoyed myself last night, actually. I really tried to maximize my soft singing - more so than I ever have before on an operatic stage - and it really paid off. The audience really responded, which was a good sign to me that my soft singing could carry over the pit. It was an exciting feeling to be able to play with dynamics so much.

I'm off to Paris today for an audition...I'm back in Frankfurt tomorrow evening. I get to spend a lot of time on the train today, which should be relaxing. I am hoping to finish my book, Seeing, by Jose Saramago. Any good vibes for tomorrow will be appreciated...

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Experimental Beginning

It’s a chilly, rainy day here in Frankfurt today. We have our second show this evening, and the weather change from hot and sunny is actually a bit welcome. I sweat through three t-shirts at Friday night’s performance, because of the heat. I am tired of feeling sticky with sweat, even though the weather was so beautiful last week.

My parents arrived Saturday morning, and they will be at the performance tonight. I actually did something touristy yesterday, since they are in town. We drove to the nearby town of Limburg to see the orange and white 12th century Dom there, and walked around the well-preserved town for the afternoon.

Also, yesterday, I did a short interview with a young woman who is filming a student documentary on American opera singers in Europe. One of the questions she asked me was: what have I learned from my work? I told her that among the many things that I have discovered, I have learned that the world is not black and white, but contains mostly various shades of grey, and that I feel good about myself when I maintain my integrity and honesty. The thing is, I feel like I am constantly discovering something new about myself, life, humanity, and the world around us through my work. It was a difficult question to answer succinctly but completely and comprehensively.

In other news, I discovered this morning that the site of my upcoming performance of Saul in August is the monastery where a lot of the movie, The Name of the Rose, was filmed. For some reason, I find that really exciting.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


In honor of the first year of this blog, I feel like shaking things up a bit, and trying out an experiment. I want to see what will happen if I write an entry everyday until June 8, the day I return to the US. I’m just curious to see what will happen…I always put such pressure on myself to have something profound, eloquent, and perfect to say before I write, and it creates panic and fear. Those feelings prevent me from posting entries as frequently as I could. What happens if I say to myself, write everyday, regardless of whether you feel like you have something to say or not?

Already, I can feel my fear of commitment descending upon me like a wet blanket…I’m not even sure I want to post this, because if I do, I’ll have to follow through.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Birthday and a German Opening

Today, this blog turned 1 year old.

It’s been quite the journey so far, and I am excited about keeping on. So far, I’ve really come to discover how much I love writing and sharing my thoughts through this medium. It is a nice way to reflect on my work and life, and how it all fits together.

I’d like to thank everyone for reading and commenting, and I look forward to sharing more musings with you as more time passes.

In other news, Ariodante, opened last night, and it was a ton of fun. I love Handel – he is my favorite, so any chance to sing him is a privilege and a joy.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fast Transitions

The sun streamed into my room this morning, waking me up entirely too early. The nice thing about having such great windows in my apartment is that I get a lot of light. The annoying thing about having great windows in my apartment is that I get a lot of light. Funny, those double edged swords.

I felt so tired all day today (a day off), and as I pondered my exhaustion, I realized what a whirlwind this past month has been. I’ve been in four different time zones, performed two challenging programs, finished reading a novel, moved into storage, cancelled utilities, decided to move to New York City in September, visited friends in Cologne and Heidelberg, and staged and rehearsed a three and a half hour opera that opens tomorrow. No wonder I’m tired. At the same time, it’s all kind of exciting…the sense of possibility, hope, and accomplishment. I mean, that is an action packed month.

All that, and I have that rubber ducky, to boot. Again, I ask: Who could ask for more?

I am looking forward to a slightly less intense week next week…I hope.

the photo above is a view from the Schloss in Heidelberg...taken on the visit mentioned above.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Rubber Ducky, you're the one...

One thing about travel is that I never know what to expect as a home-base until I get there. In the past, at times I have managed to snag a wonderful place, and at other times, the place is not so satisfactory. Recently, I even had a Craig’s List adventure in which I rented a house that already had some tenants of the rodent variety.

This time I have lucked out – my apartment is fab
ulous. Nice artwork, beautiful windows with a wonderful view, a great kitchen with all of the appliances that I could need. It’s just lovely. That, and when I went into the bathroom, I was greeted by my new little friend below. Who could ask for more?

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Wall

I saw a wall with the following quote painted on it today:

"Without struggle, there is no progress."

Or something like that. If I had had my camera, I would have taken a picture, but I left it in Houston so that Jeremy can take pictures of all of our stuff before it goes into stroage.

Regardless, I liked the quote.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Movin' On Up...

We will be homeless nomads as of a week from Monday. My life lately has exclusively involved boxes, packing peanuts, packing tape, scissors, planes, hotels, and frantically trying to memorize loads of music for the past three weeks. To say I’ve been overwhelmed is an understatement. There is an exciting element to it all, though. The world is our oyster...

The question that I have been asked most frequently in the past two weeks is: “Where are you moving to?” The short answer is: We still don’t know. The long answer: well…long story made short – we’ll know soon.

In the meantime, packing always involves stumbling upon things forgotten as well as the occasional newfound “treasure”. I found out that my boyfriend had "accidentally" purchased two books with horrifying gay animation on the covers – one called Bite Club and another called Hot Sauce. I judged each book by its cover (and titles) and decreed that they were to go to goodwill. Another choice book that I discovered has the title There’s Nothing Wrong With You – obviously one that I should sit down and read as soon as we find a new home and unpack. Among the other fun discoveries were a bottle of Root Beer Schnapps (who drinks that?) and a tape of a Christmas concert I sang in when I was 17 years old…nothing like a trip down memory lane in stereo.

Note: if you look carefully at the pictures above, you will discover that one of my guilty pleasures is reading sci-fi novels (those, unfortunately, are not Jeremy’s contribution to our library). It’s something that I’ve hidden for years – to admit it here so publicly takes a lot. I feel like I am coming out for a second time, in a way.