Friday, October 31, 2008


Susan, a fellow opera-blogger, has tagged me in this blog game. Here's what you do:

The rules
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog. Susan tagged me =)
2. Share 7 facts about yourself - some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. If you don't have 7 blog friends, or if one of them has already been tagged, find a random blog.

My bizarre facts:

1. I'm very particular about my socks. I hardly ever walk around the house in stocking feet because I don't like the sock bottoms getting dirty.

2. When I first became involved in theater, I seemed to get cast as boys. I'm a mezzo-soprano now, which means...I get cast as boys. Maybe someday I'll get to play a woman under the age of 50.

3. Green beans are one of a very few foods that I do not like.

4. I've been twice attacked by dogs, which may explain why I'm such a big cat person.

5. I own and can use a spinning wheel. I've spun quite a bit of yarn (the most recent product being a blend of angora mohair and merino wool), and and still learning how to knit.

6. Due to close-up double vision, I now have reading glasses. They're more than just magnifiers, and they help my eyes to focus.

7. I prefer cold temperatures over hot.

And now I'm going to change the rules. I don't know seven people with a blog, and I feel a bit odd about randomly tagging people, so I'll just leave it here. Which means you now know seven bizarre things about me. =) If you want to begin this on your blog, however, go right ahead!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The Love for Three Oranges
Yesterday three other chorus members and myself wiped out while running across the stage. In front of everyone. Thank God people thought it was funny. As one of the tenors told me, "People thought it was funny, or they were worried." Apparently one of the other people running with me slipped on a newspaper, fell, and brought the rest down with us. I was also told it looked like it was in slow motion. Actually, it was kind of cool.
Today, as part of a scene in which we try to make the Prince laugh, I was beat up with giant inflatable swords. While wearing a mask.

Giulio Cesare
At our cast meeting, the director (freaking brilliant man, by the way) told us that as actors we have to believe we can do anything. He turns to me and asked, "Like you, do you think you could ever kill anybody?" I had no idea what kind of a response he was looking for, so, " don't know!", which brought on some laughs. He then asks, "Do you ever plan on having a child?" I said yes and he continued, "Suppose some creep tries to hurt or kill your child. Would you kill him?" I said I definitely would. "See, you can kill. Whenever I do this exercise, I try to find a woman who looks like she wants to have a child and ask her." This once again proves my awkwardness. But I am excited to start coachings in about three weeks, first on diction, then adding the music. =)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Now I can actually talk about this.

It's official! The lists are posted!
I bought my score early this week and am busy learning my role. Nireno does have an aira, but it is often cut, as it will be in this production. Obviously, there are going to be lots of cuts, because Giulio Cesare uncut is almost Wagnerian in length. Since the aria is cut (I actually haven't seen it in any editions of the score), my entire role is recitative, plus the small ensemble at the very end. I've really never done recitative before, so this will be extremely good for me, and will really push me as far as memorization. Nireno is actually a very interesting character; he's an instigator, telling many of the characters, especially Cleopatra, "No, don't do that. Why don't you do this instead?" and working behind the scenes for his favorable outcome. This namely involves getting Cleopatra and Ceasar to hook up and for someone to take down Tolomeo. And these both happen.

Thursday the entire cast met with our conductor. The opera isn't until next semester (last weekend in March, first weekend in February), but learning the stylistic elements and preparation needs to begin as soon as possible. I only knew a few of the other singers going into the production, and a few others I had seen but really never met. I dashed to the basement of the MAC (Musical Arts Center) as soon as our first staging rehearsal for The Love for Three Oranges, of which I am in the chorus, was over. In the basement where all the dressing rooms and such are, I saw two or three guys who appear to be looking for something. I was right in assuming that they were also looking for the same room I was. One of them says to me, "Oh, are you in the cast? How wonderful!" and introduced himself. We finally found the room, which turned out to be the women's chorus dressing room, all ready for The Merry Wives of Windsor, which opens next weekend. My first impression on meeting the entire cast is that I'm very young. When I say young, I mean I'm the only person under 20 in the entire cast. Consequently, I feel like a small child. But I'm excited to learn this role and be a part of this wonderful and beautiful opera!

Here's a closer look at the cast list. I still can't believe my name is actually on it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Breaking News

I found out only a few hours ago that I've been cast as Nireno in IU Opera Theater's production of Giulio Cesare! I'm absolutely beside myself with happiness and cannot believe this has happened!! More updates to come.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

More freak-outs

Here's what my last week or so has been like:

Monday, 22 September: I receive an e-mail that golden age soprano and former Jacobs School Distinguished Professor of Voice Virginia Zeani (who sang with everybody; think Corelli, Simionato, Domingo, Pavarotti, del get the idea) will be giving two masterclasses here in honor of her 60th anniversary of her operatic debut as Violetta, which coincides with IU Opera Theater's 60th anniversary. And we opened this season with La Traviata. I sign up for the Wednesday masterclass, prepared to sing "Parto, ma tu ben mio". This is big stuff, guys.

Wednesday, 24 September: I sing for Miss Zeani in the masterclass. I was very pleased with how I sang, one of those few circumstances where I walk away from a performance feeling very happy. Miss Zeani turns to me and asks, "Tell me, have you ever considered that you might be a soprano?" I told her that I had, but that I feel more comfortable as a mezzo. She said, "Very good. You have a very beautiful voice, very lyric. Your legato is very beautiful, and your diction is excellent. I just thought, 'She has such a beautiful voice, maybe she could sing Mimi, or "Senza Mama" or other Puccini.' But if you feel more comfortable as a mezzo, then stay there. Sing what you love. You can do Mozart, and someday Werther."
Alice, my teacher, who was a student of Miss Zeani and lived with her for 12 years, talked to her afterwords about the soprano/mezzo debate, since this has been an ongoing thing with my voice. They both agreed that I should stay a mezzo for now, but later on I may move into soprano repertoire. Like, 15 years from now.

Thursday, 25 September: Miss Zeani gives a closed masterclass for students of three specific studios, one of which was the one I'm in. I soaked up every word she said in these masterclasses. She's done so much, sung with so many people, and knows so much that its impossible not to. And on top of that, she's a very fun and sweet person, full of stories about everyone you can think of, and has a great sense of humor. Basically, I want to be Virginia Zeani. My parents considered naming me Virginia, you know, but obviously didn't pick it. Zeani's first teacher's name was Lydia though. So there you go.

Friday, 26 September: I see that I have a new voicemail on my phone, and I listen to it. It's a message from Alice; "Hi Lydia, this is Alice. Please call me back as soon as you can. Bye." Of course, my first thought is that someone has died. I don't know why, but that's what I thought. But then I thought, "Why would she be calling me?" So, I called her back promptly. She tole me, "I got a call from the opera casting committee, and they want to you to do a callback for Julius Caesar next Thursday, singing Cornelia's 'Priva son'." I have never been more stunned and surprised in my entire life, and never never never imagined this would or could happen. I kept saying "ohmygod ohmygod" over and over and feeling absolutely and genuinely shocked.

Saturday, 27 September through Wednesday, 1 October: Prepare for callback. Insert embellishments to A section in the da capo. The aria is memorized.

Thursday, 2 October: I skipped my morning classes to get physically and mentally warmed up and prepared for the callback. When I get to the MAC (Musical Arts Center, where we perform all of our operas), I'm, of course, early. But once everyone shows up, I realized that there have been 4 mezzos called back for this role. That's right, 4. Three graduate students and myself. And since everything is double-cast, this means I have a 50% chance of being cast. I'm not hopeful that this will happen, since I'm only a sophomore, but I'm still thrilled I got called back. I was the first to sing, and despite a less-than-perfect beginning few measures, I believe I sang well. I was very nervous for many reasons, but overall I am happy with how I sang. The casting committee is made up of about a third of the voice faculty (it changes every two years, I think), plus conductors and directors. My teacher isn't on the casting committee this year, but I told her to keep my posted if she hears anything about how I sang. So....we'll have to see what happens. As I said before, I don't anticipate being cast, as much as I would love to be.