Monday, March 24, 2008

"Can I try your shoes on?"

"A girl's night at the opera"

This was one of the most special events I've experienced backstage at a theater: Alison and her family made an 8 hour trip to see the "Barber of Seville" in Chicago, because 6-yr old Alison has been bit by the Opera Bug (as has her whole family, if I'm not mistaken!) It was a true joy to watch her take in everything that the theater has to offer, and an even BIGGER joy to watch her nearly pass out of embarrassment describing her favorite part of the show afterwards: "the part when Figaro sticks his hand down his underwear and sings the high note!" I guess you had to be there.....

Welcome to the wonderful world of opera, Alison!

Gratitude - Day 92

After settling on a recital program nearly a year ago, and after working separately on all our music, and after a brief meeting in Barcelona (mmm....Barcelona!), David and I finally were able to compile all our work and get down to serious business before our first recital tomorrow evening, followed by 3 more before the week is out. It has made for a very intensive few days, and after our 4-hour marathon today, we both were starting to feel quite excited about the program.

Perhaps it wasn't the most traditional way to spend Easter Sunday, but it was full of beautiful music and oodles of gratitude!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gratitude - Day 91

I'm grateful for fabulous colleagues! Our 12-performance run of "Barbiere" in Chicago came to an end last night, and it was a marvelous group of people with which to spend 2 months of my life! From the enthusiastic backstage crew, to the remarkable rehearsal department gang (no request too obscure for them!), to the wonderful cast. I count my blessings that I'm an opera singer today when many colleagues have learned to listen on the stage! For example, the Rosina-Figaro duet in Act 1 was a blast to play with the immensely talented Nathan Gunn - each night the scene played out slightly differently, because we were listening and reacting, making it possible to PLAY the scene as if it were ... a play! The time (almost!) always flies on a production, and while most folks are usually ready to move onto the next project, a run like this is always hard to say goodbye to.

Me? I have a 4 hour rehearsal today with my accompanist for our first recital tomorrow - preparing for a week with 4 recitals in 7 rest for the weary!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Gratitude - Day 90

Gratitude - Day 90
I'm grateful for the rare chance to read a bedtime story to my amazing, curious nephew, reminding me that imagination is SUCH an astonishing gift, and that we should fight madly to keep that spirit alive in children - and then maybe, just maybe, keep it alive for ourselves as well!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gratitude - Day 89

Gratitude - Day 89
I'm grateful for things that take one's breath away: for being reminded of the joy of discovery, for being taught how to stay young at heart, and for being shown how to live completely and totally in the moment.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Gratitude - Day 88

I'm grateful for a beautiful evening with friends (old and new alike), that included a wonderful meal (halibut, vegetables and couscous), stories of "how we met" (serendipity galore!), bubbling champagne, genuine laughs, and a healthy dose of the amazing stylings of Art Tatum! A lovely way to kick off my last week here in Chicago.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gratitude - Day 87

I'm grateful for family: in this case, Mother-in-Law meeting Goddaughter for the first time. Match made in heaven, no?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gratitude - Day 86

I'm grateful for Richard Stilwell, the extraordinaire. We met in the summer of 2006 during the production of "Cendrillon", and the chemistry of the father and daughter relationship in the story was immediate and quickly took flight off stage as well. "Cendrillon" was the last show my father saw me perform, and somehow it was more than fitting that I was able to introduce the two of them after the show that night; it goes without saying the both took to each other immediately, as well. He has not only been a gift to the opera world, but is now a tremendous asset to students as a wonderful, supportive teacher as well - but to me, he is a tremendous presence in my life, and the word "gratitude" hardly does justice to how lucky we are all to have him in the world!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gratitude - Day 85

I'm grateful for moments of reflection. Tonight I participated in a Q&A session at the Center on Halsted (a wonderful local gay/lesbian community center) sponsored by the Lyric Opera of Chicago, hosted by the dashing Roger Pines, and attended by a lovely crowd who so kindly obliged me in my request to take a group photo! Because Roger had put so much thought into the questions, and the audience was so attentive, I had the opportunity to reflect and express various elements of why I do what I do, what it means to me, and why I love it so much. Being given an opportunity to do this (in a public forum, no less!), reminds me that music is something that unites people, empowers them, and lifts them up - and how lovely to be given the chance to celebrate that! Thank you to everyone who attended and making me feel so much at home!

PS - Some folks are asking how to see the photo larger. As is the case with nearly all the photos here, if you click on it, it will take you to my "flickr" photo page, and you can click on that photo; then you can click on "all sizes" above the photo, and there you have the option to view the photo larger! Happy surfing!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gratitude - Day 84

I'm grateful to be in a city with such strong civic pride, and such a STRONG affinity with my holiday: St. Patrick's Day! Everywhere you turn shamrocks are chasing you, (this one pasted on the window of Enterprise Rental Car's downtown store), and everyone is waiting for the river to be dyed green! It's an exciting time to be in such a vibrant, chilly city!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gratitude - Day 83

I'm grateful for Daylight Saving's Time. It means spring and summer are nearly here. It means longer days. It means WARMER WEATHER! (Even though, come July in Madrid I'll surely be begging for sub-zero havens!) It was a gift to walk home after the matinee yesterday and be surprised to find the sun setting an hour later - instantly my mood elevated, and I was already dreaming of summer watermelon!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Gratitude - Day 82

I'm grateful for dramatic skies. This stunning sunset surprised me as we had a day (AGAIN) of overcast skies and periods of immense snowfall. (From the 50th floor, where we are staying, you saw the blizzard-like snow, but it wasn't 'falling' - it was being blown wildly horizontally by the wind, perfectly parallel to the earth. It was beautiful.

(Anyone else see the alien face in the middle of the shot? Beautiful blue eyes - slightly creepy!!!!)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gratitude - Day 81

Attention: Shameless, unsolicited product placement ahead:

I'm grateful for my new camera bag! Since purchasing my new camera gear, I've been toting around something akin to a construction worker's lunchbox, practical but oh so dreary. So when I happened accidentally across the designer, Jill E's bags - designed for us FEMALE photographers, I jumped at it - and it's adorable.

If anyone wants to pass my name on to her to be a spokesperson, I'm ready!!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gratitude - Day 80

Gratitude - Day 80
I'm grateful for the empty canvas that is the open stage, where magic can be created, lessons learned, and lives touched.

Photo: The stage of the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Click to enlarge)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Gratitude - Day 79

I'm grateful for beautiful flowers, (gerber daisies being a particular favorite), for being the lucky recipient of said beautiful flowers (in this case, from my "Friends at AVA" - thank you!), and for my NEW portrait lens which I'm just becoming acquainted with!!! Bring on the faces!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gratitude - Day 78

I'm grateful for gorgeous costumes - which are dependent on brilliant designers who want to show the performers off to their very best, talented drapers and stitchers who bring his/her creation to life, and the fitters who are able to make a costume designed for someone else fit the new singer's body. In this case, the designer was Michael Stennett, designing for the original Rosina, Frederica von Stade, following the theme of the production: paintings by Magritte, hence the blue material with clouds!