Today was the next stop on my spring 2016 season- Carnegie Hall- to sing Schubert's Mass in G. This was my third time performing in this most wonderful and legendary concert hall. My first experience at Carnegie was in 2005, when, as an Artist Diploma student at Juilliard, I was chosen as the Soprano Soloist in Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Juilliard Orchestra and the late James DePreist at the Baton. As my luck would have it, the performance was smack-dab in the middle of a blizzard in January and I was devastated that no one could make it to my Carnegie Hall debut! (this, it turns out, wasn't the only major debut of mine to be disrupted by snow- more
on that another time) Thankfully, my family, who are there for everything, made the trek and stayed at a hotel down the street. After the performance, I took a cab uptown back to my apartment and it got stuck in a snowbank. Needless to say, this was definitely something I needed a bit of a "re-do" on.....and that chance came in 2013 when I was chosen to perform at the hall again as the Soprano Soloist in Fauré's Requiem with the New England Symphonic Ensemble. That was a really lovely experience! Today, however, I feel was my most satisfying experience on this famous stage to date! I think it was a combination of the piece (Schubert's Mass, incidentally written when he was only 18 years old, is a charming, delicate piece that seems to be just the right combination of everything in my humble opinion), our gracious and singer-friendly conductor, David Thye (pronounced "tee"), and my two partners in crime- Nickoli Strommer, Bass, and Peter Drackley, Tenor. I would also like to acknowledge the superb musicianship and singing of the nearly all high-school aged choir and the always fantastic New England Symphonic Ensemble. Combine all of that with a gorgeous spring New York day, and we have a recipe for success!
I started my day in New Jersey at home. I warmed up a bit, but I've been singing nearly every day this past week, so my voice hardly needs to warm up when I'm singing that much. It was perfect driving weather on my way into NYC.
Upon my arrival at Carnegie Hall, I entered my dressing room and I had about 30 minutes to relax and unpack my gown, jewelry, etc. I looked over my score, sang a few phrases, and it was off to our stage rehearsal!
Hello from the Office! (see below) It's a nice view, isn't it? Whenever I am on this stage, I sit for a few seconds and just try to take it in. A life in music is not an easy one by any means, but views like this on a Sunday morning make me forget all of the hardship and sacrifice for a few moments at least. After my brief moment of absorbing my surroundings, Maestro Thye walked out to greet us and we were ready to rehearse! I love singing by myself, but there is something EXTRA special when you have a giant chorus and orchestra swelling behind you on a stage. You feel like you've got support: friends and comrades in music. All of that sound gives you something to sing "into" and you suddenly don't feel alone. It's a wonderful feeling.
After an hour on stage, we had a little over an hour till "show time." I ate a few bites of a sandwich back stage and got ready. I listened to a recording I took of my solos from the rehearsal, which helped me focus prior to the performance. I also handed my backstage list (of names) to the house management. At about 5 minutes till curtain, I was summoned to the stage. I spent a few moments backstage talking to my colleagues about our entrance, exit and our bows, and we were off!
Our performance was, in my opinion, spectacular! There was a wonderful energy in the room and in the air. It went by very quickly and was finished in just under 30 minutes!
Afterwards, I returned to my dressing room to begin gathering my belongings and I was greeted backstage by some wonderful friends and family! It is always fantastic to have friends and family in the audience and the best part is greeting them afterwards in your dressing room and chatting for a few minutes. In the last few years, so many of my friends have actually met each other IN my dressing rooms! (at the Metropolitan Opera and at other regional companies)
In true singer fashion, we get HUNGRY up on that stage. So after my friends left, my family helped me finish gathering my belongings and we left the hall on a mission to EAT :)
After exiting the stage door, I had the chance to connect one last time with my colleagues Peter and Nickoli! We got to pose for this "selfie". It was truly a pleasure working with both of them! Fantastic people and musicians! Nickoli and I are both Manhattan School of Music alumni and Peter and I both study with the wonderful Diana Soviero. It's such a small world in opera- you always seem to have something in common with a colleague and always many mutual friends. This was my first time singing with these two gentlemen, but certainly not my last!
Bravi tutti and can't wait till my next Carnegie Hall appearance!