Thursday, April 16, 2009


In theory, I should have all of my classes scheduled by now. But...there are always problems. This may involve me pleading with the Russian department about letting me be late to a class twice a week. This class conflicts for 10 minutes twice a week, and while my theory professor is ok with it, I have no word yet from the Russian department. In the words of my professor, "Well, you can go and beg on your knees and see what happens." But he said to not cry, because then he'd feel bad.

But in the spring semester next year (if it works out), I'll be working one-on-one with this same theory professor in an independent study course. For my topic, I've chosen to look at Rachmaninoff's songs and see how the poets he chose to set influenced his style. Of course, his later works are hugely different from his earlier ones, and I'm looking to see what the trends of poetry, or the styles of the poets he chose, had to do with that change. This professor is a Rachmaninoff specialist and only here for two years, so I want to take advantage of the opportunity to work with him. I met with him on Tuesday to discuss my topic, and we should be finalizing everything before the end of the semester.

The last weekend of The Most Happy Fella is coming tomorrow, and on Saturday are auditions for the first two operas of the season here! Then two weeks of class, three days of finals, and I'm done!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009

Yesterday marked my second Easter away from home. Normally, I would go home, since it's so close, but I'm currently in the chorus for The Most Happy Fella here, and this past weekend was our opening. So, I was in Bloomington and away from my family, something that has never been easy. But I think the show went very well, and the chorus had lots of fun in the green room with Catchphrase and card games. And I really like my vineyard worker dress.

But, like the Easter I spent at Interlochen, the holiday turned out to be very nice. I go to church here with some wonderful people who really care about the students here, and two of them were kind enough to invite me to their Easter dinner. Alison is a fantastic cook, and makes some of the most wonderful dishes I've ever had. The dinner party was make up of Alison and her husband Helmut, our choir director Jon, his friend Laura, Brandon (a tenor friend of mine and fellow church chorister), and myself. And as usual, Alison's cuisine was just to die for. We had an appetizer of puff pastry filled with a mixture of sauteed mushrooms, feta, basil, onion, and artichoke. The main course consisted of roasted broccoli, a grain called quinoa (the only grain that is by itself a complete protein!), a cucumber dish, and roasted lamb. For dessert, she made a tiramisu-like dish that was just wonderful; I think what made it different was that it was made with brandy, but I'm not sure. But it was so good! And of course, conversation at the Kaisers is always interesting. We talked about everything from Helmut's job at the cyclotron, where he splits atoms and does experiments with neutrons to the piracy in Somalia to our traffic mishaps. As I've said before, I'm so happy that I've found such wonderful, interesting, and caring people here in Bloomington, especially outside of the university.

The second half of my Easter consisted of going to recitals. Jerome, a baritone in my studio, had his senior recital in the evening. He's made so much progress in the past year, and I'm very proud of him. His Schubert set in particular was very good. He's a very good actor as well, and you can tell how much he enjoys performing. The most beautiful point was the pianissimo high note in "Silent Noon", which just blew me away! Unfortunately, I had to leave his recital a bit early to catch another one. Thomas, a bass-baritone that I go to church with, and who sang both Figaro and Nicolai's Falstaff here, gave his master's recital. I can honestly say it was one of the best recitals I've been to here. My favorite pieces were two songs from the cycle A Broken Arch, which tells the story of a man who has been betrayed by his wife, and kills her lover, his best friend, in a duel. The words of these songs were painfully beautiful, and he sang them beautifully. The highlight of the recital, however, was Claggart's aria from Billy Budd. This aria is fairly creepy, but, like most of Britten's music, psychological and insightful. Congrats to Jerome and Thomas!

But my Easter ended with another happy note. I'm participating in a program this summer called The Italian Operatic Experience, in Urbania, Italy. Yesterday, I received word on what I'll be singing during my 5 weeks there. I'll be in the chorus of L'Elisir d'Amore (no mezzo roles), and I will also be participating in the opera scenes program, singing Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte, and Mistress Quickly in Falstaff! Quickly is actually a contralto role, and between that, Cornelia, and the bits of Carmen I've done, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm a pants mezzo, or more of a young dramatic mezzo. Hmm...we'll have to see what happens. =)

Three weeks remain in the semester, and finals week can't come soon enough. This semester has really wiped me out in many ways. I'm very much looking forward to being at home again and having some quiet time to myself. Not much longer!