Sunday, August 31, 2008

Opera Karaoke: Thinking outside the box!

YES! --- It's true!

So... I was invited to sing at a local church, 
however I did not have time to connect with the pianist ahead of time!
I was slightly concerned because I was planning on singing
Puccini's "Donde Lieta," from the third act of La Boheme.
I had no idea if the church pianist was familiar with opera 
or with Puccini and we couldn't meet until 30 minutes before the service.

So, I began to brainstorm about how to make this work.
I was then asked - 
"Is there such a thing as karaoke for opera?"
I laughed and figured no - 
AND that even of there was, it probably wouldn't be any good.

Ma! (But!)  I was wrong!

Through an internet search, I found several options for 
Opera Karaoke or "Opera Minus Voices."
I found both piano and orchestral accompaniments.
Within just 5 minutes time I found an acceptable orchestral accompaniment
not only of "Donde Lieta," but several other well-known arias.

For less than a buck, I purchased this track and I was on my way!
So, after uploading this to my iPod, 
I grabbed my friend's iPod Sound Dock 
and pressed play!

I was so surprised to hear this beautiful orchestral sound 
bellowing forth from such small speakers!
I began to sing and knew all was golden!

Today I showed up, technology in hand, and sang!
The balance was perfect and while the tempo of the accompaniment
was a little faster than what I would prefer,
it worked out GREAT!

Now I know that I can sing anywhere!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

From Italian to Russian

I am still in full Italian-mode - however for just a moment I want to talk Russian music!  Last semester, I took a wonderful class about the Kuchka (the mighty handful).  The Kuchka are a group of 5 leading Russian composers who were instrumental in the development of "Russian" music.  They are Moussorgsky, Balakirev, Cui, Borodin, & Rimsky-Korsakov.  I loved this class in part because I learned so many wonderful things about Russian music that I never knew.  For instance, Russian music was greatly influenced by Italian opera - namely the work of Rossini and the like.  Italian and French opera were huge in the development of Russian music.

So, recently I purchased a fairly new recording by Russian Soprano, Anna Netrebko entitled "Russian Album"  This is a fantastic album!  Her voice is equisit and soars with ease up to the high range.  It is just magical to listen to her sing this repertoire.  She has teamed up with longtime mentor Valery Gergiev.  The album was recorded at the historical Mariinsky Theatre.  If you have any interest in Russian music or simply in GREAT SINGING - pick this up.  It is worth it!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

YES! I am still here!

Hello dear friends!

Sorry it seemed as if I dropped off the side of the earth!  I haven't!  After all that singing and performing - my body needed a rest!  SO - rest it is getting!

My latest challenge has been coming down off such a mountain-top experience.  As performers, we work feverishly toward a big performance and then it comes and goes with the blink of an eye.  Then what?  The life of a performer is such that you are then off to the next gig.  I am sure over the course of my life and my career there will be many gig's and people to accompany those gig's however - this was a truly special group of people and an experience that I am sure will be unparalleled to anything else in my life.  I will carry it with me always and it has forever changed me.  I am so thankful.  

Music is like that - but people make all the difference.  Singing Puccini in Italy is magical however meeting a befriending the people of Piobbico and those within The Professional Advantage was life changing.  We are impacted and influenced by people and relationships.  The people I met and befriended this summer gave so much to me both as an artist and as a person.  It was as if we knew each other for years.  And while that was not the case - it will be now.  These relationships will last far beyond Piobbico and cross way beyond language barriers.  I think part of why this happened had to do with timing and place in life, but also because of who these individuals actually are as people.  I have been so blessed to know them and they have deposited so much into my life.  

Grazie mi nuove amici e grazie Piobbico!

As for me and what's next... I am off to the next gig as they say.  It is time to start learning new music and thinking about the fall audition season.  There is always more to learn!  I also plan to join some type of Italian conversation group so I can continue with my language development!  I will keep you all posted as well!  Thanks for reading about my trip to Italy!  I hope you learned something and had fun alongside me!  Keep coming back - you never know where the adventure of music will take you!

Saturday, July 12, 2008



What a contrast from Piobbico! Everyone speaks English, for one. I was in a cab and the driver kept speaking to me in English even though I was speaking to him in Italian. 
I finally asked him if we could speak “solo Italiano…” 
He agreed. 
Rome is a hugely historical city. 
The coliseum, the bathhouses, the ruins. 
WOW! It is HOT too! Of course there is the Vatican as well.  
It is amazing to be looking at something you’ve read about your entire life!

There are a bunch of singers from ASU 
at the Rome Festival this summer! Rome is the hot spot I guess. 
Everyone in Rome wants to talk about America. 
It is so interesting! Trying to see everything in Rome 
in one trip is impossible, 
however there are a lot of things you can see. 
It is a very cool and very touristy city in the summer!

Today is a new day!

Friday, July 11, 2008

More pictures of Venice

Other Pics

Wrapping up Piobbico

Well, I must say that Piobbico, Italy is one of the most wonderful places I have ever been to in my life.  If you are ever thinking of going to Italy - consider visiting it!  Piobbico is 20-30 minutes from Urbino and Urbania.  It is a small city with lots of love and heart to give.  

Some highlights and recommendations:

Where to stay!
- My parents stayed in a beautiful "agriturismo," called "Perbacco."  Perbacco is a property that has three vacation apartments on the grounds.  The apartments are like homes.   They are spacious, clean, cutely-decorated, and complete with all the kitchen and bathroom items one would need.  Mom stayed in the first apartment, Infernaccio.  This place has two bedrooms, a huge bathroom and a loft.  The home is located right in front of Monte Nerone (the Nerone Mountain) and has a gorgeous hill-top view of Piobbico.  You are a 5 minutes walk from everything in Piobbico.  The owner, Luisa, is a kind, hard-working woman who even baked us a fresh tart with the fruits from her garden!

- I stayed in another vacation apartment right at the base of the Castello Brancaleoni.  My address was

1 Via Brancaleoni
Piobbico, IT

- OR - you could stay the the "Albergo Montenerone" (Montenerone hotel).  This hotel is quaint, clean, newly-renovated and located in the heart of Piobbico.  It is awesome!

Where to eat!
The food and wine in Piobbico are absolutely PERFECT!  You cannot do wrong, but here are some recommendations.

Il Burchio:  cucina e vino
61046 Piobbico (PU)
tel: 0722 986517

*This restaurant is the very best in Piobbico!!!!!!!!

Everything on the menu is excellent!  Brothers Andrea & Marcelo Paiardini are the owners and they will treat you like family!  This restaurant is tucked away in an alley, and that allows it to be both romantic and quiet and fantastic!  After your meal ask for their signature "Crema di Lemoncello"  You will never be the same!

Another great place to eat is

Ristorante Montenerone Da Carletto
61046 Piobbico (PU)
tel: 0722 986282

Fantastic location in the heart of Piobbico!  Excellent food!  Carletto is the owner.  Ask for either him or Dino and they will take care of you!  I often allowed them to order for me - just whatever was good that day!

Finally - one of my favorite places to get a cappuccino and check my e-mail was the wonderful, family-owned cafe:  Caffe del Corso.  They are located right next to the Albergo Montenerone on Via Roma.  This wonderful cafe is owned and operated by 4 generations of one family.  They are always open and serve the best gelato in Piobbico!  You must go by!

I do hope many of you will consider taking a trip to Piobbico.  You can take a bus from Pesaro in just about an hour.  It is a glorious place!!!!!!

More thoughts and reflections to come...

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Well, as I said I plan to take a pausa and reflect on my time in Piobbico. However – in the meantime, I am in Venezia (Venice). Wow! Totally different than Piobbico! It is like a movie with all the Gondolas and the water on the canal. I love it! Today we went to Piazza San Marco, the Museo Correr and the Palazzo Ducale. We went sightseeing up and down the Grand Canal on a Vaporetto (water bus). We ended up in Lido, which is a separate little island near Venezia and we got rained on at the Rialto Bridge Marketplace. FUN TIMES! P.S. It is so hard to find your way around Venice. The city is like a maze and the maps are impossible to read. We got lost for over an hour twice today!

It has been interesting to notice the differences between Le Marche Region and Venezia. First of all, everyone here speaks English – even when you try to speak to them in Italian! I actually don’t like it (except when I am lost). I am trying to work on my Italian people! Plus, there are tons of tourists here (Americans, Europeans and Chinese mainly). There is also a LOT of seafood here because we are right on the Adriatic Sea. AND SERIOUSLY – there is Gelato on every corner (yum!) and of course lots of great wine! Mom, Dave & I had a very full day! It was fun to be tourists!

I slept so good last night! I think my month in Italy is catching up with me! I am pooped! After Venice, I will be heading to Milan and then taking some R&R around Europe with friends. Mom and Dave go back to Rome on Wednesday. I met a lot of really wonderful people in Piobbico and some of us are going to travel around Europe and see some sights before heading back to the states! Maybe Germany, France – who knows! The world is our oyster! I think this will be great for debriefing and reflection.

I’ll blog as much as I can. Thank goodness for Internet cafĂ©’s!


Il Concerto a Urbania

WE DID IT! We had two glorious nights of Il Trittico by Giacomo Puccini. It was glorious. First, we had cast B present Il Trittico with piano accompaniment in the courtyard of the Castello Brancaleoni in Piobbico. I sang in the chorus of Suor Angelica and enjoyed watching my friends sing to the people of Piobbico. So many more people came than expected! It was standing room only! It was so special and personal because the majority of the audience was made up of members from the Scuola Italia and our friends and neighbors from town.

Next, on Friday night, we presented Il Trittico at the Teatro Bramante in Urbania with orchestra. I had the blessed privilege of singing Suor Angelica. It was a glorious and all encompassing experience. As a confessed perfectionist, my goal for myself was to do my best and just BE Angelica rather than get caught up in vocal technique and so forth. I can honestly say that I did it! I was so blessed to have the wonderful opportunity to enter into the life and pain and joy of a character such as Angelica. Through many months of reflection and many years of life experience and soul searching, I was able to find a very deep, real connection with Angelica and felt very much like I was Angelica throughout the entire production. It is so fulfilling to see growth and progress in yourself and your music. I received many compliments, most of which had to do with my acting and ability to convey the emotion of the character. This blessed me profusely because it was my very deep desire to do just that. I enjoyed every moment of the opera, which climaxed at the end with a small Italian child being brought out onto the stage to play the part of my son. When I looked over and saw this beautiful little one reaching out to me, I just lost it; I embraced the child and cradled him in my arms as the chorus finished and the curtain closed. My heart soured with thanks to God, both as Angelica and as Lindsay.

In the coming days and weeks I desire to reflect more on my experience in Piobbico, however for today I want to share my deep felt heart of appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity given to me on Friday night. Some incredibly talented and dedicated artists and now dear friends, who all collectively and individually gave of themselves way beyond the point of full capacity, surrounded me. I was so emotional Friday night, I could hardly stand up. I sobbed and sobbed throughout the evening as I reflected back over this month with my new friends and prepared to say good-bye. I have been so deeply touched and stirred and changed by this experience.

As I mentioned, I plan to reflect on this month a lot more and share many more wonderful stories here on my blog, but for now what I can say is that the production was a tremendous success and the opportunity of a lifetime. I am FULL!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dress Rehearsal

Dress Rehearsal --- well - it happened! What can I say? I need to go back and listen to the recording before saying too much, however it was both exciting and scary working with the orchestra! Cast B performs tomorrow night and then we sing on Friday. My days in Piobbico are winding down and yet the memories will last forever!

Last night the mayor of Piobbico and several locals hosted a wonderful dinner for all of us at Il Burchio - which by the way is a FABUOLOUS resturant. It was a polenta party! They made polenta from scratch and we all enjoyed an authentic and scrumptious Italian dinner! My parents joined us and they just took in the beauty and the people.

Singing on the stage with the orchestra was a wonderful gift to me and I can only hope that Friday night will be even better once we have an audience! I am SUPER busy over the next few days, so if my blog seems slow - hang in there with me! I will share all my stories and photos in due time.

Cioa and Buona notte!