Wednesday, May 28, 2008

2008; the year of Russian hawtness

In addition to beginning my study of the Russian language in 2008, singing in Russian, meeting our favorite Russian baritone, and possibly preparing to study in Russia next year, I'm also reading Tolstoy's War and Peace, on highest recommendation by my friend Mary. My reaction so far?
oh. my. lord.
I'm not sure what I was expecting out of this novel, but I've been blown away. I was familiar with the story, having read the synopsis of the Prokofiev opera, but I'm more than glad I'm taking the time to read the whole novel. I actually have three copies of it; the Maud translation, which unfortunately anglicizes some of the names, changing Andrey to Andrew and things like that. Idiots. I have another from my great-grandmother's house, which is abridged, so I bought a third, the good old Constance Garnett translation. Mary is proud of me. And we both have an extremely nerdy crush on Prince Andrey Bolkonsky. He's about as hawt as a literary character can be. If you don't believe me, read the book. If you do believe me, read the book. If you don't care about the attractiveness of a fictional person, read the book. It's well worth your time.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I wish I was in Europe...

The title of this post really has nothing to do with the actual post. I just really wish I was in Europe right now, as part of an ongoing battle of figuring out my place in the music world...

I was up at Interlochen last weekend for graduation. While it was wonderful to see my friends and teachers again, but it also felt very strange to be back. Mostly everything was the same; the Concourse and Rotundas still had gritty sandy floors, TJ House still had that aweful disgusting smell that I lived with for a year, the lake was still beautiful, and you still saw a lot of blue. Lots of blue. It didn't seem true that I could have been away from the pines for a year, as if everything had stayed exactly the same until that day.
While at Interlochen, I was able to reconnect with some friends and teachers from my year there. I briefly went to the bonfire Andrew set up across the street at the state park campsite (word to the wise; flashlights in a dark woods are a good idea, and cell phones just don't do the same thing). I finally met Pei-Ting's mom and sister who came all the way from Taiwan for her graduation. Her mom speaks no English, and I speak no Chinese, but I feel like we could still understand each other, proving one again that language is not necessarily needed to communicate with another person. I talked with Mr. Norris, my voice teacher at IAA, as well as my IAA accompanist, Mr. Larson, who found out about the Facebook fanclub I created for him.

After our excursion to the American Siberia, mom and I went to Chicago for annual Girl's Weekend. We explored the downtown area just north of Michigan Avenue we hadn't seen much of before. We came across a delightful tea shop called TeaGeschwender, a German-based tea merchant that sold every imaginable sort of tea. Our cute clerk showed us several sorts of teas from the over 70 selections, and we finally settled on a Darjeeling and a Russian Samovar tea. Both taste wonderful. We also walked past several of the beautiful (and freaking expensive) houses in that area, and of course I'd like to live in one of them. But....well, that probably won't happen. Oh, but we can dream, can't we?

I want a samovar.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The war on dough and my bizzare dreams

Last night's dream: I'm at a gas station on highway 37 near Bloomington filling up my car (which I don't have at school), and I'm surprised, yet not, to see gas at $4.50 a gallon. I then realize that it's Sunday and that Filippa will be picking me up any minute, and I'm nowhere near my dorm. Did I mention I'm still in my pajamas? So I start freaking out, thinking she'll be waiting to pick me up and I won't be there. I look at my car clock and see that its 6:30 a.m., an hour before she'll be there...but then I realize that I didn't switch my clock when Daylight Savings Time kicked in! And then I woke up.

The night before's dream: I'm hanging out with baritone Nathan Gunn and his family. I think we're at one of his kid's birthday parties, or I might be their nanny or something. But the whole time I'm thinking, "Oh lordy I'm hanging out with Nathan Gunn!!" And I freak out, but in a good way. So when I come back home (but all my college friends are there), I'm talking about how fun it was, and that Nathan Gunn is good-looking. And none of my friends agree with me in regards to his looks, and think I'm a nutter. Some people...Then I'm driving down Bloomington's Kirkwood Avenue, but it doesn't look quite like Kirkwood. I'm amazed at how many pizza places there are in B-town...

Lessons I learned while making palmeni today:
1. It's 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup water, not 2 cups of each. It makes for very gooey, unkneedable dough.
2. That gooey unkneedable dough is hard to get out of your hair.
3. Let the meat defrost longer. Its much easier to work with when its mostly unfrozen.
4. I can rip frozen meat apart with my hands. Arggg!!
5. I'm a palmeni champion!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Semester Wrap-up

Finally the semester has ended. Finally. Despite the fact that it was one heck of a semester, I'm very glad its finished. 19 credit hours keep a person busy, and can drive that same person insane. Do I still have my sanity....I have no idea. So, we'll wrap up my second semester at the Jacobs School of Music in this way. Photos!! Bloomington in winter. I think I took this photo in February... Pei-Ting, my roommate from Interlochen, came to Bloomington in February to audition for IU.Joshua Bell and I after his recital with Jeremy Denk at IU on February 10. Yeah, he's awesome. And dang...I'm short. And I was wearing heels.Dmitri Hvorostovsky and I after a performance of Eugene Onegin at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, March 14. He's also awesome. And I'm still short. And still wearing heels.
omg eye contact!!Soprano Mary Cloud, myself, and soprano Jessica Skiba after our recitals in April. I'm a mezzo-soprano, although I sang "The trees on the mountains" from Susannah, a soprano aria, on my program. We're staying in mezzo territory for now, and I'm so glad. Opera Workshop!! Picnics during finals week.
Bloomington in the spring...