What I've been up to

So, for the past week or so, I have sequestered myself at my parent's house upstate to work on recreating my website completely. I created the new website with the help of an existing template (that is to say, I didn't hire a web designer to create it for me) and the work was often painstaking and it took FOREVER, but I am pleased with the result. Check out this link if you would like to see all my blood sweat and tears: www.jenniferrivera.com

Because I've been getting this website up and ready to go, I've been walking down memory lane as I finally collected many of the production photos from the past few years. I hadn't looked through the production photos at City Opera since they were still on slides, so that should give you an idea of how long it's been since I ordered anything from them. It was funny returning to City Opera after this, my longest absence from the company since I began there while I was still crossing the plaza from my Juilliard classes to attend my first City Opera reheaersals. My last performance with the company was in fall of their last season before they closed for renovations, and I haven't had too many opportunities to visit the place since. I was happy that the security guards at the stage door still remembered me, and one of them quipped, "You still singin'?" I replied, "Yep - even though the place is closed I'm still singing - can you believe it?" Of course we were joking, but City Opera was my home away from home for 8 seasons - and some of my greatest artistic achievements and bestest friendships have come out of that place. It's very quiet right now, but everybody I ran into was hopeful and excited about George Steel, and they are all ready to climb the steep mountain and bring the place back. I saw this sign posted - it was a copy of that blue and red toned photo of Barack Obama that says "HOPE", except Obama's image had been replaced with Mr. Steel's. Not only was the suggestion that if Barack can become president, anything's possible, but also, even in the bleakest financial times, with an inspirational leader, we can all have hope that the future will be better. That scrappy company isn't gonna stay down for long, I can feel it.

Of all the photos I collected, one of my favorites has to be this action shot from Agrippina (taken by Carol Rosegg). Singing Nerone in that production of Agrippina has to be one of my favorite things I've ever done at City Opera (although choosing a favorite at NYCO is like Sophie's choice to me because there have been a lot of goodies). In this particular production, Nero is a chain smoking, coke snorting, drunk, sex crazed teenager. The opera starts with him waking up in bed with his mother, and goes downhill from there. In the first scene, I was playing a game of russian roulette that forced me to put a gun to my head and pull the trigger. It freaked me out every single time, even though the gun was fake and there were obviously no bullets inside, putting a gun to your head and even pretending to shoot yourself is totally alarming - but it certainly had the desired effect dramatically:

But my favorite scene in the opera had to be in the second act, when I entered Poppea's bedroom in a drunk, stoned haze and tried to seduce her by yanking off my pants and singing a lot of crazy coloratura. I got to shake my pants right down during a particularly fast lick of coloratura after leaping onto the bed, and that's what's going on here:

And finally I got to sing one of the coolest arias ever written, "Come nube che fugge dal vento" which happens at the end of the opera when Nero really starts to have a psychotic break. I do look pretty psycho in these photos:

After that lovely stroll down memory lane, I'm back to real life and have to go study some crazy 20th century french music. Wish me luck.