Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hitting the ground running

Since November... WOW! I have been a little MIA!

December I had a very successful performance of the Impresario with Westminster Players. I got through audition season alive, but broke and with nothing to show for it. I will admit, I did not fully think through the repertoire in my package this year, not to mention I really spread out these applications to different activities. (Also, I refused to audition for any program that required tuition. It is too difficult to raise the money for a pay-to-sing, when student loans are going to be wanting repayment in a few more months). For next year, my aria choices will, ideally, be more congruent with one fach (voice type). As usual, my feedback is centered around the idea that I'm really not reflecting any one type of soprano. Sadly, I do not have anything on the books for this Summer or Fall, and I'm very okay with that. I have a wedding to plan, permanent work to begin looking for, and hopefully I can really dig in and apply to doctoral programs for 2015.

On a more positive note - two weeks ago I returned to my Alma Mater, San Francisco State University, to perform in an alumni concert for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Frank V. deBellis Collection at the J. Paul Leonard Library at SFSU. This collection houses rare musical artifacts bridging Italian Culture with the Bay Area. In the collection is a wonderful oratorio manuscript by Alessandro Scarlatti. This oratorio features six soloists: Cain, Abel, God, the Devil, and Adam and Eve. I played Abel in the story of the First Homicide, opposite the lovely and talented Buffy Baggot ( Other members of the cast included Erin Neff as the Voice of God, Jose Hernandez and Angela Cadelago as Adam and Eve, and the gracious Paul Thompson stepped in the night before the show to sing the ominous Lucifer.  The show featured all CSU Alumni in the orchestra, mostly members of the American Bach Soloists, as well as historical instruments such as the theorbo (a large lute with the neck extended to carry several long bass strings, used for accompaniment in 17th- and early 18th-century music) and naturally, the harpsichord - played by John Chen, an old friend I hadn't seen in maybe 8 years...

The incredibly welcoming museum staff gave my dad and me a private tour of the collection the next day. When I found out my flight was delayed for several hours, I decided it was an opportunity to go see what exactly I had been singing for. Getting to see the original manuscript in the handwriting of the composer right after singing it is a pretty cool experience.

Now for my headline - Hitting the ground running:
Made it back to Princeton, giving me exactly 10 days to prepare and memorize the remaining music for my graduate recital (nothing was completely new, but had not really been the focus of my time)! Thinking this was plenty of time to prepare, I naturally didn't account for the exhaustion and dehydration of jet lag, the concerts that Drew had planned on attending that week, nor the amount of homework I needed to catch up with, since I underestimated my schedule. Despite all this, the recital work was finished and I passed my recital hearing with no significant issues. Now on to performing this thing.

Mark your calendars for April 6th. I hope that I will be able to live-stream or at least record this performance for the public and all my friends and family back in California who can't make it to New Jersey. My performance will be a celebration of the life of Shakespeare, as this year marks his 450th Birthday. I will include compositions of Henry Purcell, Camille Saint-Saƫns, Richard Strauss, David Ashley White, and Bellini, to name a few. The music is centered around the 19th century revivals of Shakespeare's work - the re-tellings of his plays through opera, the French fascination with Ophelia and feminine death - as well as 20th century interpretations including musical theater, and the setting of English Madrigal texts to contemporary song, by composer David Ashley White of Moore's School of Music in Houston, TX.

Please check back for all the juicy details after my dress rehearsal and recital!

A Busy Singer is a Happy Singer

The days tick on, and although it's January, Springtime is rolling in! Not just green trees and wild flowers, but the spring opera seaso...

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