So this month I am fully booked with opera and work... It is a blessing but also thoroughly exhausting. The month started out with a short 3-day trip to Barcelona with my love for his birthday. It was a blast, despite us having failed to prepare at all for it, therefore assuming the main language would be Spanish (it's Catalan), and also assuming that it would be very warm (I had to buy a coat because I was freezing!). We got back to Berlin and I jumped into a busy work schedule, compounded with a lot of music to study and prepare!
It seems all of my nanny families booked me as much as possible for the first few weeks in April. Last week, I was at one home from 8am- 2pm, then had to pick up other kids from their Kindergarten at 3:30 and watch them until 6pm. Other nights I had night duty while the parents went out. It culminated in a cold which had terrible timing since I had my first rehearsal today for Ariadne auf Naxos. Anyone who knows anything about Richard Strauss knows this music is insanely difficult so it's hard enough to do without having congestion and sore throat! Next week, I begin staging rehearsals for L'Elisir d'Amore, by Donizetti, in which I'm singing in the chorus. I did not realize when I initially signed up just how much music the chorus has to learn! We sing in practically every scene in the first act and at least half of the scenes in the second act. We're supposed to be basically memorized already next week. I'm... not. Now that I didn't completely crash and burn with Ariadne, I will be focusing my time on Elisir to get it ready. The performances are in early May so I need to get with it!
Oh, but that's not all!! Also coming up in May, I will be preparing the roles of Sandman and Dew Fairy in Hänsel und Gretel with the Berlin Opera Group. I really enjoy working with this group because it focuses on preparing the role with a full cast, but without a performance. Of course, I want to perform all of these roles eventually, but it starts by learning them, working them with a coach, and singing with the rest of the cast. It's a great opportunity for me to work on building my repertoire and resume but in a more approachable method. I have already done Don Giovanni with them and Ariadne that I'm doing right now is with them as well.
After these projects, I turn my attention to preparing for my young artist program with Music Academy International (MAI) in Mezzano, Italy in July/August. I'll be singing the role of First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, as well as some involvement in an Opera Gala and recitals they do, yet to be decided. I'm super excited as this is my first Young Artist Program and in the opera world, it's kind of like your practicum or internship- not always required, but usually is good at getting you jobs after, and certainly is impressive on your resume. That's a lot of Opera on the horizon and I couldn't be happier!
Aside from that, I'm expecting a visit from my mom for 2 weeks in late May, my Aunt and Uncle the month of June, and Winston is starting back at his second semester of school tomorrow. I think that's about all I can process for now, but hopefully I'll post again soon! Keep making the world beautiful. <3
I live in Berlin, Germany. That still feels weird to say, even after almost 6 months. I think moving here right at the end of fall meant that I missed out on all the life that Berlin has to offer, so life had become, well, rather lackluster. Don't get me wrong, we still love it here, but at least for me, I feel as though I'm just waiting to thaw out and enjoy the city at its best, in the warmth of spring and summer! Luckily those days are fast approaching, but it brings up an interesting thought: What do you do when Inertia sets in?
For me, as much as I always love taking on a new challenge, meeting new people, and travelling, it is always a battle with the small voice in my head telling me 'it's too hard,' I already have enough friends,' or 'it costs too much.' My long term motto, though, to power through, is to say "YES" to everything. Invitation to a party where I will only know 2 people? YES. Audition for an opera program that I know relatively nothing about? YES. Participate in opera sing-throughs every chance I get to become familiar with new works and learn new roles? YES. Go to my German teacher's band's concert? Yes.
... Ok, maybe we didn't end up doing that last one. But we were going to!! We both had a last minute case of exhaustion and anti-socialness.
Anyway, saying yes to everything has paid off!! I've been auditioning more, trying more new things, and I have exciting things on the horizon due to that. Here are a list of some of my upcoming plans:
Learning the role of Najade for the Berlin Opera Collaborative's sing-through of Ariadne auf Naxos in April.
Singing in the chorus of L'Elisir d'Amore with Lyric Opera Berlin/ Opera Vino in May.
And last, but certainly not least, I have been accepted into the Young Artist Program with Music Academy International in Mezzano, Italy this summer!! Casting has not been assigned yet but we are guaranteed a full role in an opera. Operas this summer include Don Giovanni and Cendrillon (Cinderella in French!), so, needless to say, there are some amazing opportunities. For anyone who wants to help me get there, please visit my fundraising page here: https://igg.me/at/noZDI3MOx3Y
I am so excited for whats to come, and for what auditions and opportunities may be ahead. With every audition, I am more confident, and more comfortable. I've had plenty here already that have led to naught, but there are so many more audition opportunities here that I wouldn't be able to accept everything if they all offered them anyway.
Now if I could just get a paying gig... ;)
Well, it's been almost four full weeks since we started moving into our "forever home" in Berlin, and it almost feels real! Although we've been living in Berlin for 4 1/2 months, the first 3 were spent in a sublease we knew would end, and then, due to difficultly getting a lease, we stayed in a Vacation Apartment rental for another 5 weeks before finally landing a lease!
We love our new place: it's ground floor, so easy to let Frank out, it's very close to busses, U-Bahn, S-Bahn and groceries, it's cosy but big enough, it comes with a built-in kitchen, bookshelf/closet, and bed!! For anyone familiar with apartments in Germany, you know this is INSANELY rare. Many apartments don't even come with a kitchen sink! In the U.S., you usually assume that anything you would need power tools to remove would stay in the apartment.
Not so in Germany.
Here, people take the closets, the fitted kitchen cupboards, the appliances (dishwasher, washing machine, fridge...), the light fixtures (and light-bulbs), and sometimes even the oven and kitchen sink. It's ridiculous. We spoke to one apartment company who said they used to be legally required to leave at least a sink and a stove, but now they only have to have HOOKUPS for a sink and stove. I'm surprised they don't take the dang commode with them too, to round it all out. I mean, it gives me a headache just thinking of trying to move all of that extra junk around, or paying movers to haul it for you! And don't get me started on the fact that many apartment buildings still do not have elevators, so you have to haul all of this stuff up however many flights in these narrow, old buildings. Beautiful to look at, but literally the worst to move in and out of.
Anyway, back to our place- we got lucky. We knew we definitely wanted at least a partially built-in kitchen, because we didn't want to deal with the time, hassle, and cost of getting one brand new. This place even has a dishwasher included! We have slowly, but surely, been refurbishing our kitchen supplies. I think that is something I have missed the most- having a fully-stocked kitchen. Back in Des Moines, we had everything you could want besides a waffle maker! Now, I forget we don't have some basics, like a cookie sheet or a whisk.... But, as I said, we're slowly restocking. Last week, I bought us a water boiler and dog bowls from Amazon. This weekend, we got a potato peeler, cookie sheet, roasting pan, and liquid measuring cup from TK Maxx (It's TJ Maxx, but German). YAY! I guess that's the sign of being an adult, when you get excited about such purchases as kitchen supplies or hardware. ;)
I think the last step to feeling all the way moved in will be to get things on the walls. That always seems to come last, doesn't it? We have a kitchen cupboard to hang above the sink (the cupboards that were included are all just waist-height), then a few racks and a coat hook to hang by the door. One of my nanny families offered to let me borrow their drill for these jobs, but apparently they loaned it to another friend who hasn't given it back yet. ;) Hoping they get it back soon so we can use it, so we don't have to buy our own!
Moral of the story, our house is almost a home. We got love, food, and Frank, so all is well. And we even had a visitor already!! My best friend, and Winston's non-relative, Brittany Beck, came and stayed with us for 2 weeks when we first moved in. It was awesome having someone to visit us from the States. Now that she's been the trailblazer, the rest of you have no excuses!! We even have a spare bed you can use... :)