Friday, October 31, 2008

Has God been sending me really exceptional street musicians on audition days on purpose?

When I'm on my way to an audition I generally don't want to be. I never want to be on the way. I'd rather be there just doing it. It's the on the way that gets me.

On the way I start to think about "mapping" my arias technically and dramatically, I try to give myself 3 vital check points in each where I will not cry or get carried away but will instead think of technical things like "placement" or "registers" or all of those other nice technical words that singers are wont to use....

Anyway, this morning I rushed into the subway late and tied in knots wondering if I should have brought the hairspray, since Tribeca is very windy... and there was a man singing spanish songs with a guitar in my stop. He had the most beautiful voice I've heard in a while. Not trained, but just a beautiful high tenor, so sweet. He was just sitting there singing quietly. No one asked him to, no one gave him permission to, no one paid him to, he was just offering it.

Is this starting to sound like a homily? I feel like some times priests/ministers have a book of touching anecdotes that they use.. And I feel like I just wrote one... sorry. BUT it was true! I was so moved! I seriously just stood there and cried and thought what has this come to in my life?? I am ridiculously obsessed with producing this "product" and it's ruining everything that I love about performing.

The funny thing is that this is not the first time I've realized it. I realized it when 3 drummers rode with me to my last audition too, and they got all in everyone's faces and they were like "there are alot of y'all who leave your soul at the door every morning and it's killing you! don't leave it at the door! Take it with you where you go! Don't let this City steal your soul, ladies and gentlemen...." (again, preachy.... but true!) They walked up and down the aisle looking everyone in the eye, and it didn't feel contrived. Of course it might have felt contrived if I were not TOTALLY smelling what they were stepping in, as it were.

So are they always there, and I only notice them when I'm on my way to an audition? I'm starting to think that maybe I ought to take note.
Or that I ought to bring my opera karaoke to the subway and enjoy my job....
On my way to another audition...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I have given myself a horrible headache from singing

This is the first time that this has happened to me. I was singing my 5-a-day just as the Doctor prescribed (my teacher told me to sing 5 high B-flats every day until my next lesson) and I *literally* had to sit down after every single one until my head stopped pounding.

Is this what you high-voiced people go through every day? How miserable!! It happened on A's as well, but it wasn't the same kind of awful throbbing. No wonder why I've always instinctively avoided these notes. self-protection.

I literally make a little hatch mark in my calendar for every high Bb so that I can honestly say that I've sung five that day. I almost couldn't get up off the bench for number 5 today, but you know how the 5th one is the cross-hatch and finishes the group. I like to finish things.

I am also starting to love some of the lyric arias I sing. I think I might like to try this out, singing the heroines instead of the mothers (or pirates)....

Sock progress report

As you can see, it's coming along. The tragedy of this is that I feel that it does not adequately represent the hard labor that I've invested in it so far. No wonder you can't find handmade wool socks anywhere these days! (a thunderous protest cry rends the air from the literally 10's of people with an interest in such things who cannot knit them for themselves)

I have spent at least 4 hours on this sock. Of course these are hours tallied from the minutes I steal on the subway and at other odd times when it's wholly inappropriate to wield five double pointed sticks. Also TV time. Thank God for TV in the knitting cause. I'm estimating that a full pair will take 24 hours of work so I'm looking for a new series to watch on Hulu. Drake wants me to watch Heroes. Any suggestions?

This weekend I'm going to visit my friend Prabha (hi Prabha!) in New Jersey. I am very much looking forward to it, and to playing with her cute son and baking cookies (or a pie, depending entirely on the severity of post-Haloween candy overload.) I should get in some good knitting time on the train... I'm aiming for one complete sock (at least!) by the end of the weekend. The heel turn will probably occur today or tomorrow. Don't worry, faithful reader(s?) I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Pie Face!
Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
It's been a while since I spent a full fall season up North, and I am loving it. I find that all I want to do is sit at home and knit. Today I stood in the subway and knitted, and I think that I scared another (seated) passenger as I careened toward the empty seat beside him with my double pointed needles in hand...

I verbally assured him that I would not impale him. I then thought about the book that I read that was about Dracula... what the heck was the name of it. You know, that popular book that had a whole lot about impaling in it. Help me out, Kate.

I went on my lunch break to practice today, and am thrilled that I did. I've been wanting to practice more and more, and I thikn lunch is the perfect time to do it. I always have trouble practicing at home. I'm either really tired from a long day away, or I feel self conscious about screaming at the top of my lungs while neighbors are trying to enjoy their dinner.

I live in an Italian neighborhood (flags strung across the street, fire hydrants painted red white and green) so you would think that I'd assume they like it. I assume no such thing. Even though sometimes when Drake is singing, I can hear the man next door sing back through the wall. Even though one day when I was taking out the trash the boy next door made opera noises at me, and I told him he had great promise...

When I rent a practice room at the music school, I feel like I can make all the noise I want because I'm paying for the space/right to do so. Even then I sometimes feel like someone will come downstairs and ask me to stop. I think that's why I enjoy photography so much lately-- I don't feel as self-conscious about it. I never think that I'm bothering anyone with it.

In the next couple of weeks I'm going to make a recording and update my website. It's about time that my singing website catch up a bit in style slick-ness to my photography one. Or to the blogs for that matter. I may as well have animated emoticons it's so old...

Noro Kureyon #185

Noro Kureyon #185
Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
Bought this yesterday as well-- how deliciously autumnal does it look? I cannot wait for it's stripeyness on my secret project.

Again, purchased at Knit New York which may soon become my official local yarn store....

Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn # 226

I stopped at Knit New York [] on the way home from work yesterday and bought my first skein of Noro for my first pair of socks.

I took it out of the bag on the subway and literally beamed at it all the way home. This is the first time that I've busted out all of my equipment to photograph yarn. I've never photographed un-worked yarn before! I cannot wait to make my socks.

Last night I started the toe, and I finished it this morning on the way to work. It is much more delicate work than I'm accustomed to. I have avoided socks for a very long time, finding no need for what seems like very fussy work to me. Recently, though I've felt the pull... I think it's because I cut the tops of all of my socks with scissors because they're always so tight. I'll post some progress pics soon.

Hat for husband

Turn a Square
Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
I hope it fits him. He's in Florida right now (where he has positively no need for a hat)

I could have asked him to measure his head, but he never has a tape measure handy while traveling.

I did this in Paton SWS Soy/Wool blend. Alternating in "navy" (which I swear looks black, but I'm sure that Drake with his crazy color sensing will insist that of course it's navy) and a self striping gold/blue.

I'm a big fan of this yarn! it's very soft and easy to work with. Pleased all around. I think it's funny that it's soy. What a versatile bean....

Snail Hat

Snail Hat
Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
Ummm... did I just figure out a way to blog from work? If so, then I think that you all (two) will be hearing a whooooole lot more from me.

I've been knitting up a storm, it being football season and all. So far this knitting season I have made:
several cork elves (more on that later)
2 hats (this one and the one I'll write about next if this works)

In the works:
1. man sweater
2. sweater for me
3. socks. I have avoided socks for years, but all of a sudden I need to make them. I am very thrilled, in fact to make my first pair!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

For the ones that got away

Two years ago I bought cashmere yarn and I started to knit "Fetching" from Knitty. I bought two pairs of circular knitting needles that were sooo smooth and wonderful and I was so glad when I finally finished the pair on a flight to visit Drake somewhere or other. Then, tragedy struck.

It wasn't until I packed up after the visit that I realized I had left my freshly finished project AND my new needles in my seat back pocket. TRAGEDY!!! all you knitters know what I'm talking about. I (naturally) called the airline, but to no avail. Someone somewhere has a pair of cashmere fingerless gloves and 2 sets of super smooth circular knitting needles, and I have nought but a wistful memory....

It took me two years to re-knit the pair, but I finally did it. They're not cashmere. I couldn't suffer that kind of loss in this economy...

Enid's Apple Pie contest!

Today Joey (my brother) and I entered an apple pie in Enid's apple pie contest. It was a super busy day and we had to take the pie directly out of the oven and run it over there in time for the 6:00 deadline. The whole time, I imagined tripping and falling face first into a steaming hot pie on the sidewalk. I didn't.They were featuring "foods-on-a-stick" so we had corndogs and caramel apples. Then we waited while they judged the pies.... It was so crowded that we didn't get to see who won :(
I sent Joey into the fray to retrieve the pie, but it was pretty well gutted by the time he got it back. Then on the way out the door we were shanghaied by more people with forks. It was fun :)

Joey said my pie should've at least won "Best Personality"This was my favorite! not sure whether or not it won anything, because it was too crowded to see the winners.

Amol and Sarah's wedding

Amol and Sarah live here in Brooklyn and we're so glad. We've had many lovely meals together! Their wedding was gorgeous, and made me homesick-- it was in MA and the fall leaves were perfect. Everyone was so joyful and there was tons of dancing! Such a celebratory event.
It's a long time since Worcester Academy!

Courtney and Brian's Wedding

Courtney and I met at "German Camp" 10 years ago. We went up to Middlebury and took a pledge to speak only German for 7 weeks. At the end of the session Courtney won a prize and I knew how to say "smarty-pants" :) I met Brian at UT when he was singing Onegin with Drake, and got to know him more when I joined them at Texas the next year.

They are so great together, and they live in Philly now which means that we still will get to see them! Their wedding was beautiful-- an outdoor ceremony, and indoors at the reception there were 1,000 paper cranes that Courtney and her family and friends had folded. It was really beautiful and we were so glad to be there.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I have been so busy during the month of October, and loving it! So many weddings, and headshots and a pie baking contest, and voice lessons and Purcell!

Also found out that I'll be performing in Babes in Toyland (Victor Herbert) at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. Can't wait. So happy when I found out that I get to sing a bit of the title song, which I didn't know I knew until I heard it and was overwhelmed with nostalgia :) Operetta is like that... so familiar and strange!

OK let's get to the pics.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Doctor Atomic Rush

In case you haven't heard: Met's prime orchestra tickets (usually $175 - $220) for Doctor Atomic will be made available to the public at $30.

The special Doctor Atomic Rush Ticket program will offer an additional
minimum of 200 seats for each of the nine performances of the John Adams
work. All Doctor Atomic Rush Tickets will be available at the Box
Office, as follows:

12 noon day of performance for weekdays
10 a.m. day of performance for matinees
2 p.m. day of performance for Saturday evenings


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Shotgun wedding

We went down to Texas a couple weeks ago for Josh and Erin's wedding. We met Josh while at UT. He and his roomate Joseph (Drake's friend from Vandy) kept a scythe at the fireplace, a bowl of empty Smint boxes on the coffee table and one time he and Drake threw our couch off of the third story balcony (but didn't TAPE IT! fools....) He and Joseph co-wrote the law school musical revue for several years. We ate many burritos, and much queso. We miss them alot. We met Erin and got to spend more time with her while we were in Dallas for a spell last year. We went to the State Fair of Texas together and ate a bunch of things that you can only get at the State Fair of Texas. (like chicken-fried bacon. WHAT?!?)

Anyway. SO glad that we could make it down there for their wedding. We had so much fun. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the weekend. (And yes, they are cutting the cake with a sword)more....


We know Jonathan from long ago and upstate (not too far away)
Jonathan and Drake and I were all Sweeney Todd together my last year at Eastman. Really good times. The photo shoot was really good times too....
hee-hee... no but seriously. Here's his first pick:

Jonathan is in a new production of a musical version of Pride & Prejudice which was co-written by a great friend (from Eastman and Ohio Light Opera) Lindsay Baker. I can't wait to see it on Broadway! (It is going to Broadway!)
more to come...