Remember me?

2012 has been a bizarre year for blogging. First I was all gung-ho about it because I entered that blogging competition and it got my creative writing juices flowing. But the week I won that competition was also the week I found out I was pregnant. And when you first find out you're pregnant, you're just waiting around to see if everything will be okay with the pregnancy, and you can't tell anybody that you're pregnant, so you almost don't feel like telling anybody anything (if you're me anyway - I tend to say everything or nothing, that's just my style). And then I went off to Innsbruck, and managed to eek out one measly blog post, which really only happened, I admit, because Innsbruck asked me to write something for their newsletter, which I also repurposed as a blog entry. And then I came back from Innsbruck and I got married (!!!). And now I'm about to start rehearsals for a fundraiser production for the Gotham Chamber Opera which will perform next week at Le Poisson Rouge here in New York, before heading off to Nashville to perform a modern opera called "The Difficulty of Crossing a Field.". And here we are. 

I've gone through periods where I literally blogged every day, and then we have 2012, where I wrote 4 blog posts that I worked very carefully on, a few after that, and then basically nada. It's partially because I sort of tend to become fascinated with one thing at at time, and everything else falls by the wayside. I think I talked about this tendency of mine before in another blog post, but it's been so long, I can't even remember. And the thing I'm pretty fascinated with these days is the fact that my personal life has been changing at warp speed, and how that is affecting the life I've known for all these years previous. It's funny how being pregnant is one of those things that happens to other people, and you think "Oh wow, how fun - good for them!" but when it happens to you it's like "OOOOOOHHHHHH MMMMMMYYYYYY GOOOODDDDDDD THIS IS THE MOST ENORMOUS THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ANY HUMAN ON EARTH!!" And that's before the baby is even born! Or again, maybe that's just me. But regardless, I've been focused on this REALLY BIG DEAL, to the peril, I'm afraid, of my writing hobby. 

But yesterday my father-in-law (oh yes, I have one of those now (BIG DEAL BIG DEAL BIG DEAL!!!)) asked me when I was going to start blogging again and I had that realization that I've written about 7 blog posts this whole year, and it's really not adequate. So since my new husband is going back to recording his podcast OperaNow! tonight, after a summer hiatus, I figured today would be a good day to get back to my old friend, The Blog, and say hello to all of you and tell you what's been going on. 

Innsbruck actually came and went so quickly! I thought a lot about what it would be like to do such a large and demanding role while I had this BIG DEAL going on inside my belly, but in the end, it was actually no big deal. I mean, the show was a fantastic experience, a terrific production and a chance to learn a score that has been totally ignored, but should be heard by a lot more people. I had really nothing but good feelings about the entire experience, and aside from the costume team, who managed some remarkable feats of completely hiding my baby bump without putting me in mumus, it was just not a big deal that I was pregnant. I mean, people were nice to me about it, making sure I wasn't getting too tired, and doing thoughtful things like bringing me chocolate bars, but it really didn't affect my singing at all, nor did I have to modify any of my staging. And then I read this blog post by Susanne Mentzer (which I believe was inspired by her learning that I was pregnant) and realized that while I was sitting around contemplating what a big deal this all was, she had, in her 9 months of pregnancy, quietly been singing a gazillion operas at every major opera house around the world - and this was at a time before the internet, when she couldn't even call her mother on skype every day to ask her things like "is it normal that I fell asleep on a set piece today in the middle of rehearsal while there was a tenor singing 3 feet from me?" So in the end maybe it is just me that makes this all into a REALLY BIG DEAL, when actually, it's just a part of life. 

Michael, my husband (yup, I got to work calling him that into the blog post not once, but twice) says that my voice actually sounds better than ever since I've been pregnant. I talked to a good friend of mine who is also a voice teacher, and he told me that especially for skinny girls, he often sees a nice increase in vocal heft or a richness of tone when they get pregnant because the baby actually gives them the same feeling that a layer of fat can give other singers and allows them to support better. He told me that as long as I pay attention to why it's different I should have no trouble keeping that feeling even after the baby has made his escape and I don't have him to push on my diaphram any longer. I also think that for me personally, because I'm such an energetic (read; hyper) person, having the baby in my belly keeps me grounded in a way that is also very good for my support and my singing. So I've been enjoying the fact that I have had reasons to keep singing through my pregnancy. However, I had an audition the other day, and finding a dress that still fit me is starting to become a bit of a challenge. Plus my natural tendency to make bad jokes in odd situations came flying out when I entered the audition room and tapped my belly, saying "just ignore this and pretend I'm a boy." I think the guy listening to me was far enough away from me that he probably couldn't even see what I was pointing at and thought I was asking him to ignore the fact that I'd had a big lunch or something. He just looked perplexed. 

So the baby is due in the end of December, and then I have about two and a half months before I go back to work. And my first gig back is in, of all places, Berlin. And I'm singing, of all roles, Nerone in Agrippina, so I have to fit into those skin tight Christian LaCroix leggings that make up one of my beautiful costumes in that production. All this while caring for a 3 month old infant, who may or may not decide he enjoys sleeping at night. And again, I find myself contemplating what a BIG DEAL this is going to be. But I should probably just take a page out of Susanne Mentzer's book, and realize that a LOT of women before me and around me have done this and are doing this and somehow, no one has keeled over from the shock of what a BIG DEAL it all is. They just go from breast pumps to downbeats and get on with it. And so shall I.

I just may be the person looking over my shoulder and saying "I'm DOING it!! Can you believe I'm DOING THIS!!!??" I mean you can't un-become a drama queen overnight, right?

Photo credit: Jennifer Strader