Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Countdown Begins

26 days to go!
Sochi Olympic Stadium construction Dec. 20
Sochi Olympic Stadium construction Dec. 20

The smell of diesel exhaust is in the air, stern faces zoom past, and I am looking for restaurants underneath any scaffolding - as they are always the least crowded.  I am in one of my favorite places in the world, New York City, and have spent the last several days at the National Opera Association Convention.

My token Times Square photo...
Grand Central Station, NYC
New York City often has street performers all over the place - I took a picture of this one from last summer, a Theremin performer! That's a first for me - if you don't know what a theremin is CLICK HERE 

I actually highly recommend NOA to any loud colleagues of mine out there.  The people are wonderful, and I have had an unmistakably fantastic time celebrating K-State's own Dr. Reginald Pittman, who was elected as the NOA President-elect, and mingling with opera singers, professors, and conductors young and old, from Harvard, Yale, the Met, and Juilliard, to small schools in Georgia, South Dakota, and all over the place.  I stayed at the immaculate Roosevelt Hotel, which is right next to Grand Central Station if you are familiar with the area.

Roosevelt Hotel NYC
Roosevelt Hotel NYC
The sessions at the conference were centered on performing skills and developing programs for teachers.  The highlights for me were hearing Stephanie Blythe evangelically invigorate our passion for opera during the opening banquet, listening to the NOA competition winners, taking a tour through the brand new National Opera Center, and sessions on English Diction and acting techniques for young singer/actors.  I also attended a choral techniques seminar, out of pure curiosity.  In my opinion, some opera folks tend to become too...  ...  ...well, let's just say they can be too passionate about operatic techniques to speak about some choral traditions in a positive light.  I have experience in both worlds, so it has always intrigued me.  I would love to talk to some ACDA folks about it, if they were ever interested.

Famous operatic mezzo-soprano, Stephanie Blythe
From left to right: Me (Bryan Pinkall), Reg Pittman, Stephanie Blythe, Cheryl Richt
K-State voice faculty with Stephanie Blythe
The new National Opera Center tour
Recital Hall - praise the opera gods, opera singers don't have to cram into Nola Studios any more!!  No more warm-ups in elevators or stairwells, no more living in bathroom stalls, no more claiming a seat in a hallway more crowded than the subway at rush hour.  It's a beautiful and much needed facility!
Costume exhibit at the National Opera Center

A tour guide shows a rehearsal room - it is nearly impossible to reserve rooms of this size in NYC.  But now you can very inexpensively at the National Opera Center - amazing!
This was one of only 5 posters on display in the performers' lounge.  This is a poster for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City's inaugural season at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Library at the National Opera Center
Library at the National Opera Center
I have many more stories to share, but I'll save them for tomorrow.  Tonight, I am hoping to possibly have a karaoke night with a couple of my good friends and a certain Pulitzer Prize winner.  I will also see one of my other friends perform the music for a mass at the gigantic St. Patrick's Cathedral.  And all of this reminds me, I have the best friends in the world!  Then tomorrow I will observe some (relatively secret) recording sessions for the games before I leave on Wednesday!

From here on out, I will keep everyone up to date on my travels.  So check back every day (if I can get to wifi).

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