Monday, November 30, 2009

Central City Opera Auditions

Well, I am back from Chicago once again.  It is quite a beautiful city, but very busy during Thanksgiving weekend.  I made an all day drive up to ChiTown on Saturday and drove back Sunday.  I stayed at the same hotel as I did last time, but I had a surprise visitor - a wasp!  In November, in Chicago, in my hotel room!  I had a pot of hot water I threw at it and killed it, but that was definitely unexpected.  I woke up early again on Sunday, wore a purple tie this time, warmed up and went downtown to my audition.  It was in the building right next to the one I had Santa Fe auditions in.  The building itself was quite old and I had to go to the tenth floor.  They had an elevator guy to work the elevator!  The Kansas State Capitol is the only other place I've been to that has one of those.  Anyway, my audition went well. I sang Questa o quella.  I started off poorly, made some silly mistakes, but by the end I sang very well.  These were the first people to outwardly show that they were interested in me.  They talked quietly, as I was on stage, they were too far away for me to hear them.  But, they looked very interested and happy in my performance, so I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best.  We only had five minutes to sing, and they had a whole day of auditions.  They only invited 6 tenors, so that greatly increases my chances, but the other 5 could be awesome, you never know.  Most of the singers are older than I am, and some significantly older, so in some ways I am fighting an uphill battle.  But it is all about what kind of voice they want and need.  But now it's back to Manhattan for a week of concerts!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Schedule Update

I will soon have a website that will help out with all of this, but I have a schedule update.  My Nov. - 1st Week of Jan. schedule is as follows:

Nov. 26 - Newton - THANKSGIVING
Nov. 28-30 - Chicago - Central City Opera Auditions

*Dec. 1 - New York City - New Jersey Opera Auditions (attempting to reschedule to a later date)
Dec. 2 - Manhattan (All Faiths Chapel 7:30) - Singing on Dr. Thompson's Recital
Dec. 3 - Manhattan (FUMC 7:30) - Department of Music Holiday Concert
Dec. 6 - Manhattan (All Faiths Chapel 3) - Directing Men's Glee on their Holiday Concert
Dec. 12 - Manhattan (Bramlage Colliseum 9) - Singing Natl. Anthem @ DUSTI'S GRADUATION

Dec. 13 - New York City - Chautauqua Opera Auditions
Dec. 14 - New York City - Pine Mountain Opera Auditions
Dec. 24-25 - Salina - CHRISTMAS
Dec. 27 - ? - DUSTI'S BIRTHDAY
Jan. 7 - Atlanta - National Opera Association Opera Scenes Performance

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

St. Louis Auditions

Well, it is really rainy here in STL.  I am very sad that I can't go looking around the town today, especially going to Busch Stadium where the Cardinals play (they are my favorite baseball team) and to see the arch and all the other stuff I should do in St. Louis.

Anyway, I made it into St. Louis last night, and it just freaks me out that the sun goes down so early out here, in Kansas we are closer to the time zone change so it is still light out later than it is here.  With it being overcast, it is pitch black by about 4:45pm!  But, I stayed in a Best Western Hotel, and it is supposedly a non-smoking Hotel, which is what I need because smoke irritates my voice.  Well, at about 10 last night, I started to smell cigarette smoke and it lasted through the night; that was very annoying. At any rate, when I woke up I just had some phlegm problems, mostly from the weather changes, and luckily I didn't have a runny nose from the smoke - I would have been very mad if did.

I woke up about 5 hours before I had to sing, drank some hot water from the coffee pot, hummed for a long time, put on a green tie this time (I wore blue to the last one), and packed up and checked out.  Then I started driving with the Garmin's help to the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.  Well, luckily I'm super early to most anything I do, because this time the Garmin took me to the wrong spot.  Following the Garmin, I found myself winding my way through dirt alleys to a Franciscan Monk Seminary where I parked and asked the reception lady where the Opera Theatre is.  Well both of these are on Hazel Ave. but Hazel Ave. is only a few hundred feet long and there is a gigantic seminary where the theatre should be.  I later found out that there are two completely different Hazel Avenues in St. Louis.  She printed me off a map and I got to my audition - which was running early - just in time to sing a little bit and then it was my turn.

The facilities at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis were awesome.  Everything was brand new and the accoustics of the practice rooms were amazing.  I am not singing any arias from any of the operas they are doing, so I decided to sing Ecco ridente.  I like to brag that if I sing it all the way through like it is written with all the most challenging cadenzas, of the hundreds of notes I would have sang, 67 would be G4 or above (in layman's terms - 67 notes would be really high).  Well, there are so many ways to sing the piece and we had a time limit so I cut out some of the middle so in the end I probably sang between 30-50 notes at G4 or higher, but in any case - that is a lot of high notes.  Well, I sang it really well, one of the best times I have ever sang that aria.  Funny thing was that they were not ever concentrating on me, they were talking and typing the whole time - not loudly, but you could tell that they were thinking about something.  So, I finished my audition and now I am waiting to see if they want me to sing again.  We were given a sheet that said that they may want to hear you again if they still need to hear more to make their decision, and if so they would let us know later today.  So, with that said, all of us auditioning are out of the loop for the moment as to whether or not we're singing again, if we're singing tomorrow, if so what time, when will we find out, etc.  So, for the mean time, I drove to a Borders and am utilizing their free WIFI, so if you get bored, please facebook chat with me!

Anyway, as for who is auditioning and how many.  In short, I don't know.  But most of them are older than I am, and some significantly older than I am, but my young looks count for something I hope, plus I bought some new hair gel, so maybe that'll win someone's vote.  But, in the end, all of that is pretty trivial, it's all about how well you sing in Opera.  Musical Theatre is a little bit different in that aspect; but in Opera the musicality and performance of the music are what matters most.  Hopefully I gave them what they wanted to hear.

I will update again if my situation changes, but for now I will just be relaxing in a book store.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Santa Fe Opera Auditions

Well, one piece of advice for anyone out there that has any more common sense than I do - Don't Drive in Downtown Chicago.  Luckily for me, it was Sunday and the business district wasn't as bad as it could have been, and my dad let me use his Garmin GPS to get around.  I will forever endorse this product; it not only got me to where I needed to go, but also found a hotel for me.  Anyway, I had a lot of fun today.  Chicago is a beautiful city, the public transportation needs an update, but other than that it is a wonderful place. 

So, I stayed at a Super 8 Motel in Aurora, woke up at 5:45 to start warming up.  I drank two coffee pots full of hot water because I was having some phlegm problems.  Anyway, that eventually went away, and I got in the car and started driving to my audition.  Believe it or not, but Chicago is difficult to drive in.  I made it safe everywhere, but you have to think three dimensionally instead of just forward, back, left, and right.  The road I should be on might actually be below the road I'm on, or the next exit I should take actually goes to a road that is two levels of roads above me.  Anyway, I got eventually got to where I needed to go.

My audition was in the middle of Downtown in a very impressive building.  I sort of had to zone out and not let the magestic architecture, size, and beauty of everything get to me so I didn't hype myself up.  If my adrenaline gets going too much, it can really effect my voice, which is a really fickle thing, it can be effected by humidity, food, air temperature, etc.  Well, I got there with plenty of time to spare - which if you know me, I am always sure to be prepared for anything, and usually arrive earlier than I need to just in case.  Well, I got there an hour and a half before my audition and the building wasn't open.  There were several other singers just standing outside as well, but I decided to go around and see if there were any other doors open.  I eventually found a security guard who let me in.  The others left by the time I got back, so for about thirty minutes I had the whole auditorium to myself!  It really was a great thing for me, because I was pretty nervous, I know I don't show it on the outside but on the inside I was shaking a bit. The architecture and all was so overwhelming that it was hard to shut my brain off to that and just focus on what I needed to do.  Being there without anyone, I was just able to look around, sing a bit, look out over the millenium square and lake michigan, and just relax and enjoy where I was and how I got here.

Shortly thereafter, people showed up and the auditions began.  I was the third audition of the day.  I walked in, gave them my headshot and information, walked to the piano, and presented my music.  I selected Dies Bildniss to sing, we only had a very short time to sing, and I chose to sing Dies Bildniss because it is from an Opera that Santa Fe is planning on doing this coming season.  After I sang, they thanked me and asked me to tell Mr. Ganz hello, however I do not know who my auditors were, but at any rate, I will pass the word along.  And, that was it; short and sweet.  Now, I originally thought that they had callbacks, but I got one of the long distance regional auditions and only later Sunday night did I find online that they do not have callbacks for long distance auditions, so I will find out sometime after Nov. 24th what they have decided.  I personally felt that I did just about what I expected myself to do, not the best I have ever sung, but honestly that can only be one time and if I have sung that aria several hundred times, it is pretty long odds to beat your best every time.  But, I thought they had a good representation of how I sound, and now I have to turn my attention to the St. Louis auditions on Tuesday.

Sunday evening, I did some touristy things.  I went to the top of the Sears Tower, Chicago Lyric Opera, went to Millenium Park, met up with one of my friends that lives in Chicago, Mai Shibahara, and went to a hole-in-the-wall Chicago style pizza place.  It was great.  Chicago is a great place - a little cold in November - but otherwise definitely worthy of the Olympics (shame on you IOC).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

AUDITIONS!

Well, I have been very busy lately. This semester has been crazy. I got married on August 8, I have an assistantship with K-State and work for both the Choral and Voice areas, I teach classes and have a private studio, I direct at University United Methodist Church in Salina, I am going to school for a double Master's in Conducting and Performance, and applying for Doctoral Schools, and also applying for professional companies. It is definitely overwhelming.

In short, my Major Events Schedule for the next couple of months is as follows:

Nov. 14-16 - Chicago - Santa Fe Opera Auditions
Nov. 16-18 - St. Louis - St. Louis Opera Auditions
Nov. 26 - Newton - THANKSGIVING
Nov. 28-30 - Chicago - Central City Opera Auditions
Dec. 2 - Manhattan (All Faiths Chapel 7:30) - Singing on Dr. Thompson's Recital
Dec. 3 - Manhattan (FUMC 7:30) - Department of Music Holiday Concert
Dec. 6 - Manhattan (All Faiths Chapel 3) - Directing Men's Glee on their Holiday Concert
*Dec. 10 - New York City - Chautauqua Opera Auditions (attempting to change to a later date)
Dec. 12 - Manhattan (Bramlage Colliseum 9) - Singing Natl. Anthem @ DUSTI'S GRADUATION
Dec. 13-15 - New York City - Pine Mountain Opera Auditions
Dec. 24-25 - Salina - CHRISTMAS
Dec. 27 - ? - DUSTI'S BIRTHDAY
Jan. 7 - Atlanta - National Opera Association Opera Scenes Performance

Well, there is a lot of stuff on the list there, but there will potentially be a lot more. I will hopefully have Doctoral School Auditions in January and February. I will also be applying for competitions so I can raise money to pay for all the trips. K-State Opera is producing "Hotel Casablanca" the first week of March. The choir is going on tour in April. Also in April are several recitals of mine and my conducting recital is in May. I hopefully will be singing for a company from June-August and start my Doctorate in September.

This semester has really been a learning experience in a lot of ways. I have been very productive and that, oddly, has a lot of bad side effects at times - many new stresses. But, this has been a very exciting ride so far. Soon I will be adding more things so people can follow along easier; it is very difficult anymore to keep so many people up to date, including myself and my wife. So, I will be commenting on the upcoming events as they happen and please feel free to comment; I love to hear from you all.

Bryan