Friday, February 26, 2010

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY AUDITIONS

My first audition to get in to a Doctoral Program and an assistantship for that matter, was Florida State University.   I flew into Charlotte and found out that my flight to Tallahassee was canceled because they had tornado warnings near the Tallahassee airport. I sat for ten hours or so until I was able to catch another flight but when I got to Tallahassee, the weather was perfect. 72 degrees, sunny, perfect humidity. I was able to talk to the driver of the taxi on my way to the hotel. He was very nice, very similar to the people in Kansas, and definitely had a passion for football, so we talked a lot about what we expected next year in the college game.  My hotel, was, well, a building. The door wouldn't close all the way, almost if someone put a car door of a Taurus on an Audi....totally different doors; they obviously do not go together, however the hotel must have had a different perspective.  It definitely had bugs and mold and 60's decor, but it had cable and a color TV so I was set to go.


The next day was the day of my audition. I took a cab to the music building and looked around and went to the practice rooms. The campus is very similar to K-State in a lot of ways, very compact and uniform. The music department was in two different buildings and probably needed more space even. Florida State has a very large music school...3rd largest in the nation. I saw Valerie Trujillo, a great friend, and amazing musician, who has helped me so much this past year. It was great to see her, and I was able to see some friends from my New York trip last summer, so we had fun getting back in touch.


The audition itself was in a small theater...similar to a black box theater most schools have, which was less than ideal because it was not live at all (meaning, it had very little reverberation). The professors were very professional, cordial, and stoic, they showed little emotion, little favoritism. They sat in front of me as I sang a Strauss lieder "Ich trage meine Minne", and they chose "Here I Stand" from the Rake's Progress and the end of "Dies Bildniss". The requirements for the audition were pretty unique and I wasn't able to put some of my favorite repertoire on it. "Here I Stand" is a very unique piece, but not so much a piece to exhibit much of what I can do, however I needed to sing a 20th century aria and a secco recitative...so, I put that down. It was a little shocking that they would ask me to sing the end of "Dies Bildniss" just because no one had asked that before, but it is a very difficult part to sing, not necessarily crazy high, but technically very very difficult. I felt fine with the audition, my voice was doing well all day, but I had some technical things, some slight breaks, that were nearly uncontrollable, that you just have to sing through and hope the voice holds up. After singing they asked me to recite poetry in Italian and German (they did not warn of this beforehand, so this was just on-the-spot testing), which was a piece of cake.


After the audition the tenor professor, Stanford Olsen asked to talk to me. We went to his office and I asked him all kinds of questions and he had many things to encourage me on. He was a great person, and definitely one of the greatest singers in the world. Just in case you didn't know, he sings at the Met and many of the other most prestigious Opera houses in the world. We talked for nearly an hour and a half before I left.  Afterward, I wanted to find a place to get on the internet, but FSU is not wireless friendly for non-students. I walked for more than an hour before I found a Burger King to use the free wifi.  Then I walked all the way back to listen to a faculty concert, which was amazing, and finally went back to the hotel. I flew back to Kansas City and had a week before I left again for an audition at the University of North Texas. As far as results from these auditions, I will post them whenever I hear from all of them (probably late March), just because I know a lot of people view my facebook and it would be least troublesome in the end. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

NOA - ATLANTA

So, I'm finally updating my blog. Hopefully, each day I will have an update about any events that have been going on in 2010. I will not write too much about auditions immediately afterward until I heard from them, so if it seems ambiguous, I am sorry, but I will have something for you to read soon.

In January, I went to Atlanta with a group of students to attend and sing at the National Opera Association National Convention. We were part of an Opera Scene in the NOA Opera Scenes Competition. There were 9 scenes from 8 schools selected to participate. Our K-State group performed a scene from L'elisir d'amore. It is a really fun scene, and I thought K-State performed very well. We did not win - a couple from the University of Colorado won, however they were both Doctoral students and significantly older than us. I was the only graduate student in our group and the rest were undergraduates, and age in opera, especially at our age, is key to the maturity of the sound. We can't compete with age, but we were very entertaining and funny, I was very proud of the chorus girls who really stepped up and acted very well, they improved so much! Afterward, Dr. Pittman took me around to talk to many of the most important people in the National Opera Association, all really enjoyed our performance, and I received all kinds of info and requests to audition from Schools to professional programs, so I was very happy in the end to have been able to sing for all of them.

Besides the competition, we did go around the town and see the sights. I'm an Olympic junkie, so we had to go to Centennial Olympic Park. We took a picture of us doing the Willie the Wildcat "KSU" thing in front of the Olympic rings. I have pictures from all over the world of me doing that, it's kind of fun, I'll be sure to post those some time. But, we went to the Atlanta aquarium, the world's largest evidently, and I got to pet a sting ray (or some kind of ray) and all kinds of other animals, but the rays were just like little horses...I mean, I was feeding them, and they felt like a horse eating from your hand (I know, weird analogy). Dusti, who was able to join me on this trip because of some financial blessings, had a great time filming us...perhaps we can post that online too. Then, especially to Dusti's delight, we went to the CNN center and took a tour. Dusti got a picture behind the anchor's desk and we had a good time there as well. It was very very cold in Atlanta, and icy, which made for ridiculous driving. These people literally freak out like no other with icy roads. Timidness kills, that's all I have to say about that.

Later that night, we went to a restaurant called Uncle Julio's. Just in case you didn't know, I am a foody at heart (which means that I love artsy food and trying all kinds of weird things), I secretly want to have Anthony Bourdain's job. And, all the places that I travel to, I really like to try a local place where I can get something good and unique. I had an authentic deep dish pizza in Chicago, the Newman in New York City, and in Atlanta I had frog legs and quail. I was SO excited for this meal. I have never had frog legs, but it is a weird combination like fishy chicken. The meat though was so tender, just fell off the bones, the quail was great as well, I got the whole bird, but the dark meat on the quail was so flavorful, what a wonderful meal!

We left the next day and flew back to Kansas City. I had a week and a half break before my next trip to Tallahassee, Florida, for an audition at Florida State University. We'll pick it up there tomorrow.