Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New York Trip Day 5

I am actually pretty drained today, and it kind of ended on a sour note (punny!).

Ok, so today I had a lesson with Thomas Goodhart, a professional baritone here in New York, and has sang at several major opera houses. It was a very interesting lesson to say the least. Some teachers have different techniques, but his was a variety of teaching by example. Well, he is a very tall and large low baritone and I am a skinny high tenor. Obviously, there is some dissimilarity between the two of us, which made the "teach by example" technique very difficult. I have a another lesson with him later, but I would classify the lesson today as shaky.

It got better because the next coaching I had was with Valerie Trujillo. She is the reason why I am here, and just a wonderful person all around. But, we went through "Dies Bildniss" and worked on detailed musicality elements of the piece. We also went through some planning as to where I will go from here, and what literature to study as well. Again, I can't say enough about Valerie, she is just a great musician and great person. Oh, and by the way, she says "hi" to everyone back in Manhattan.

The afternoon I spent listening to singers test out some new repertoire and musicality ideas. I really love some of the arias, and I could hear "Ain't it a pretty night" from Susannah a million times and it is always like the first time I hear it. It just makes me melt. Even small art songs were sung like "Gia sole dal gange" and even the great arias of opera like "Nessun dorma". It is just a showcase or exhibition where we can try things out, tweak things, etc. It was just a lot of fun, and the ambiance of the place was great; they sang in the parlor of a New York mansion, really classy, and the sunlight was shining through the curtainless windows, with trees and gardens outside...really a neat place to make art.

I also had a consultation with Scott George, Met auditions winner in '79 I believe, and the president of a talent agency. He was very complimentary and I was left with a very positive response, very similar to that of the other management group last Saturday. He thought, just as the previous group thought, that I needed more performance under my belt, and hopefully I will be able to get that within the next year, but again, he was very interested and I am still a baby, so I feel like it was another great first step.

The final audition recital this evening was great for all of us. We got a closer look into what management looks at when they see singers. The heldentenor here got extra special attention, and I think that they may be interested in him. I wish I could sing the literature he sings, but I will not ever have as big of a voice as he has - he's 37 and maybe 6'3'' and large (Pavarotti size) - so he can pump out some air for sure. But the night ended on a sad note, kind of a reality check on the competitiveness of the profession. I am just very happy to have had this opportunity and to be able to sing well and to love music and most especially, to have the degrees I have, so I don't look like a fool ;)

Tomorrow's Schedule: Wednesday 6/17

Lesson with Deb Birnbaum - Met, NYCO, Chicago Lyric voice teacher - 10

Staging coaching - 11

"The Singer's Body" Seminar - 1:30-5

Luis Burkot Audition Recital - Opera North Music Director and Conductor - 6:45-9


  1. I guess I'm confused about the sour note part.

  2. Me too. Maybe later you can explain. We went to Abilene to the Great Plains Theater and heard "South Pacific". I know it is light worlds away from where you are but we enjoyed it. Maybe some of your performances will be within our "driving range".

    The week is going fast but I'm sure you have many experiences left. Drink it all in.

    Love, grandma

  3. Me three! Were you saying that the sad note was realizing how competitive the field was, or did something else happen? To me, it sounds like you are getting some great reviews and lots of positive feedback regarding the future. I know it won't be an easy road, but great things seldom are. That's what makes this NYC experience that much more meaningful...knowing that it wasn't easy getting there and that you are now among some of the best competitors in your field. Amazing!


    P.S. Here's an interesting "footnote" to our day: We went to Wichita today (sorry we missed your call) for my orthopaedic appointment. Even though you could call that a "footnote", haha, I have an even better "footnote" to tell you about. I had to go to Hobby Lobby for some wedding supplies and dad hates HL. So, he parked the car at the very end of the parking lot so that he could sit there in the shade. That meant I had to trek across the entire large parking lot on my bum leg. Feel sorry for me yet?! Well, don't! About half-way through the parking lot I noticed something on the ground a few yards ahead of me. There it was...a nice, crisp, $50 bill!! Now, how's that for a "footnote"?!

    Yes....I kept it.

  4. Babe,

    Reality checks happen and I know that you will not let that bring down the rest of your trip. It was probably good that everyone heard that the world of opera is competitive so they will continue to practice instead of thinking that everything will be handed to them just because they are good. Continue having fun in New York. It sounds like everyone has been very impressed with you except maybe one person and that person is not even in the same vocal category you are.

    Love ya lots,
    Dusti Jean

  5. Woah, there's a lot of misconception. There was just a little "come to Jesus" talk about the difficulties of the Opera profession, and it was a bad way to end the night. Also, no one has not liked me, so it's not like I'm getting negetive feedback from anyone, just some are not very good teachers. Hope that helps.


  6. Gma here again. As we have talked many times we learn from good and bad examples. I know you have had many things happen in your education that you have said to yourself "I'm not going to do it that way".

    Have a good one.

    love grandma

  7. Bryan, thanks for the clarification. That's kind of what I thought you were referring to.

    Have I told you how much we miss you?!! Seems like you've been gone a lot longer than a few days. I know if I mention Kiah it might make you more homesick, but thought she might add a smile to your day. Here are her "summer statistics" thus far:

    Number of toads killed: 3

    Number of toads who got away: 1 (one nip of their skin and SHE ran away!)

    Number of rodents killed: 1 (outside. Dad couldn't identify what it was but that it was bigger than a mouse and smaller than a rat!)

    Number of June bugs killed: Not sure. She usually just catches them and throws them back on the ground so she can roll on her back and lay on them. Strange dog!

    Number of baby bunnies she basically leaves alone: 3 (she just whines at them like they are some kind of long lost friend. Strange.)

    Number of baby birds who fell from the tree that made her go crazy: 1

    Number of fallen baby birds that survived the fall AND Kiah: 1

    Number of times she jumped up on the out-stretched recliner during a storm and climbed all of the way up to my shoulder to just stand there and pant: 3 (This seems to be something new for her to do. It's really kind of strange, but is hilarious to watch!)


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