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Showing posts from 2011

The Mysterious World of Exclusivity in Classical Music

Recently, I had the opportunity to see a YouTube video of Renee Fleming singing this great aria written by Erich Korngold found here, and I remembered that a while ago there was an often-whispered-about Masterclass given by Ms. Fleming (her first ever!) at The Juilliard School.  And, I remember hearing that only Juilliard students were invited to attend this Masterclass.

That got me to wondering, why couldn't any old person attend this hugely-touted event?  Apart from the fact that there wouldn't be enough room for everyone who wanted to attend, why didn't they at least sell overpriced tickets?  And then I realized the reason: this was just another manifestation of a phenomenon I have noticed over the years of being "in the biz" of opera singing: the hushed-up mysteriousness and only-for-certain-people attitude that is encouraged among opera teachers/students/professionals, and heck, even the more staunch fans themselves!  It's as if the singers (pros and no…

The Answer to All the World's Problems!

(This post is unrelated to opera, but it has incredible relevance for everyone, so please read!)

Nowadays with all of the technology that we have at our disposal, we are used to getting results almost instantaneously. When we need to get somewhere we can hop on the highway (specifically built to avoid the delays that are caused by traffic within cities) and get there faster. We can check ourselves out at the grocery store to avoid long lines. We can order on the internet nearly anything we can imagine, and depending on how much we are willing to pay for shipping, it is delivered to our doorstep possibly within less than 24 hours. We are a world full of people (in the developed countries, at least) who are used to not having to wait for anything at all.

Therefore, it is no wonder that we as a people, are also disposed to getting angry quickly when things don't go our way. Perhaps the reason that in the past 10 years terrorism and hate crimes have been steadily increasing is be…

Julia's New Headshots = Check out this Photographer!

In May of 2011 I had the good fortune to meet a wonderful photographer through organizing a solo recital in Reading, PA.  Don Carrick, a Berks County Resident of 15 years and originally a native of Washington D.C., is also an experienced photographer, and explained that he'd been interested in expanding his clientele for Headshot Photography for a long time now as he enjoys working with people in the Performing Arts and he likes to take pictures that accentuate a person's individuality.  Therefore, Don and I worked out a plan where he'd take some great photos for me, and I'd show them off.

So, as all artists know, a  person's work normally speaks for itself, and by this same token, I believe it's easy to see Don's ability by looking at the photos he took of me.

(You should take into account that I am really NOT photogenic at all and Don was patient enough to go through at least 600 photos before I finally started not looking terrible.  So, for those of you …

My Audition for a REAL Opera House in Germany!

This past Tuesday I had my first German Opera House audition!  I was asked at the last minute by a colleague who worked there to audition for a role they're looking to cast next season and which I sing, and have sung for this colleague in an audition before.  (Sorry, I can't be any more specific with names because I don't want to jinx it.)  Honestly, I was really lucky to have been asked to audition since normally these sorts of things don't happen unless you have an agent who knows about the vacancy which the theater is looking to fill, and then sends you there, and actually, all of the other singers who were there to audition had agencies.  So, I was quite overjoyed to have been invited, to say the least.

However, sticking to the point- I'd like to relate what the experience was like.

I heard of the audition on a Friday and the audition itself was taking place on Tuesday of the following week, so in four days.  That really didn't give me a whole lot of time t…

St. Martinstag Festival in Dortmund's Westfalenpark

This past Saturday night (November 12th) I attended an interesting festival that is an historically important Catholic tradition, based on the life's work of St. Martin (Martin of Tours), and one particular event in his life, specifically.

This festival takes place to commemorate St. Martin (a knight in the Middle Ages, and then later on a monk) who met a beggar on his travels who was on the verge of freezing to death on a particularly cold night.  The back story to the beggar is that he had been robbed shortly before he meets up with St. Martin, and that he was previously a middle-class citizen who was on the way home to his family when the night grew colder and he decided he'd never make it with his heavy cart full of his master's goods to sell the next day at market, all the way home on dark roads with the potential danger of getting lost or getting robbed.  Therefore, the man decides to camp outside the city gates of where he came from, and then gets accosted by two ba…

My first German Opera House CHORUS Audition

I recently auditioned for a medium-sized Opera house here in Germany for a position in the chorus (simply because I thought- well, at least then during my search for some professional solo work, I could have some money, and perhaps also an introduction to important people in the Opera house, e.g. the Stage Director, Conductor, etc...).  Contrary to my perceptions about chorus auditions, it seemed like the theater had made many preparations and considered this audition just as important as any solo auditions would be (as they organized everything really effectively and kept strict tabs on whether or not everyone was able to meet with the pianist to rehearse and also had private time to warm-up).  Therefore, I felt confident that I would be chosen (to put it honestly) because I figured, well if you're working on a solo career, then you'd certainly be good enough for the opera chorus (don't hate me Opera chorus members!) just by sheer technical skill and experience.

I arrived…

2011 Opernakademie Bad Orb:What A Barber of Sevilla Normal Rehearsal Schedule Was Like

I think that it's about time that I get to the nitty-gritty of what things were like for me in terms of rehearsal schedule and working environment for the 5 weeks that I spent in Bad Orb, don't you?  And for those of you who have insatiable curiosity about these sorts of things, if I haven't answered all of your questions by the end of this post, feel free to leave your questions below in the comments section.  Therefore, on to the crux of the matter!

The rehearsal schedule that I experienced in Bad Orb, Germany while I was working on the role of Rosine in Der Barbier von Sevilla was quite unlike anything that I had heretofore experienced in America.  Of course we did the same sorts of things during rehearsals (staging, musical rehearsing, tightening up ensemble singing, acting, etc..) but we did it at totally different times than what I am used to from the programs in which I had previously take part in the states.  To be more specific, here was a normal day's schedul…

Gelnhausen Concert Coverage and Town Photos from last Saturday!

This past weekend my colleagues and I sang in a concert located in the neighboring town of Gelnhausen  The concert served to promote the upcoming Opernakademie performance of Rossini's Barber of Seville, and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Opernakademie Bad Orb, and all the hard work and dedication that has gone into producing successful summer Opera performances year after year.  Since 1986 in July and August international emerging artists come to Bad Orb specifically because of its wonderful reputation for putting on quality performances, allowing younger singers to sing important roles for future use in developing their career, and its well-known capacity for acting as a platform from which these emerging artists receive opportunities to take on larger projects at important opera houses in Germany and internationally.

Therefore, there was quite a lot to celebrate at this past Saturday's concert, and we all had a wonderful time, however, as is now …

Barber of Seville in Bad Orb, Germany: First Two Weeks' Update!

This particular entry is meant to provide an insight into my first two weeks here in Bad Orb thus far while working on the role of Rosina in Rossini's opera, The Barber of Seville, or in German "Der Barbier von Sevilla".

The photos below are included to be a sort of progressive explanation of my experiences during these two weeks, almost like a photo journal.

IVAI Virginia Wrap-Up: Photos!!

Since I didn't get a chance to post these photos on here while I was actually in Blacksburg, VA at IVAI, I will post them on here now, so that you guys can see after the fact what things were like there.  I honestly should and would have taken more photos of more people and places in VA while I was there, but you know, as you can see from my photos here- the majority of my time was spent in this lovely little practice room (which amounted to something like 3 hours a day) and then the rest of my time was spent in lessons (something like 4-5 hours a day) and then the rest of my time was spent sleeping, eating, or some other uneventful but necessary thing like that.  However, I do resolve to take more photos when I am in Bad Orb (and have done so already - yahoo!) because I do realize that I am sorely in need of photos with people in them from my time at IVAI.