Saying No – Guest Post

Hey everyone- Today’s post is from a blogger that is pretty amazing at everything, Lori O., aka In Pursuit of It All.

(Note: this is super late in being posted. Again, life got super hectic for me. But better late than never, right? 🙂 )

It’s not like I could say no.

When Mitch asked if I’d share a blog post to celebrate his blogoversary, how could I refuse? He is, after all, the official Sassy Gay Friend of the Court.

We monarchs must offer the occasional boon to the courtiers.

Here, the not-saying-no thing is great. It means I get to write something fun.

But there are other times when my inability to say No gets me in trouble.

The set-up with my best friend’s date’s older brother? Shoulda said no. Shoulda run away screaming, but ‘no’ would have been a good start.

Taking the health class I didn’t need because my friend didn’t want to be friendless? Should have said no. The teacher used a diaphragm as a Frisbee.

I could have said No to the smoking roommate in college. Although to be fair, it wasn’t the smoking that was the bad part, it was the tantrums and the live-in boyfriend in the 10X10 dorm room.

Then there was the time I was asked to supervise the new intern. The one who then showed me his medical marijuana clearance. In a hospital. I’ve got no problem with people who need to medicate, I’ve got no problem with doing it herbally. I don’t want the patients left in the elevator because the intern needed a Twinkie. Becoming a little more intimate with No then would have been a damned good idea.

I could have said No when the saleswoman said, “That orange sets of your complexion.” Or when the cosmetics girl said, “Dark gray eyeshadow is good for evenings AND the office!”  Or when the shoe salesguy said, “You just need to get used to the feel of walking in stilettos.” I should have made No my buddy then. I’d be richer and have fewer back problems.

I need to be a little less afraid of No. Because if I could just be a little bolder, I might find myself with a few extra dollars, a couple extra hours and with a few less bruises from hitting my head against the wall while saying, “Why on earth did I agree to this?”

Which then means less spackling and painting.  I’d say that’s all good.

A Jubilant Song (coming soon to ears near you)!

Hey everyone – I apologize for the time between posts, life has been a little hectic recently. However, I am super happy to announce that I am in the process of commissioning a new piece (by NYC composer Clint Borzoni) for an international recital I am putting together for 2013, and I need your help in doing so.

After hearing some of Clint’s songs, I decided that I wanted to commission a new setting of Walt Whitman‘s A Jubilant Song, and have the world premiere of this piece on my upcoming international recital tour that will occur in 2013.

I first heard Clint’s music last year, when bass-baritone Tim Hill was commissioning a set of Walt Whitman songs (that are quite lovely). What attracts me to Clint’s music is the way that he uses harmonies in new and unusual ways, but still keeping the vocal line stunningly beautiful. To find out more about Clint, google “Clint Borzoni” or go to Do both…Clint does not “toot his own horn” as much as he should on his personal website (another reason to like this guy and his writing!)

The money that I am raising goes towards the cost of Clint’s commission fee, the recording studio’s fee & the pianist’s fee for playing the recording session. The catch with kickstart is that I must raise my goal, or I get none of the pledges. So, it is imperative that I raise at least $550.

If you are interested in helping Clint & I create new repertoire for the amazing art that is song, and I hope you are(!), it is all documented


Any and all donations will be gladly accepted! Thank you for any help you may be giving us!


Hey, it's me!

So, about a month ago, I had my second Temple Square recital. It is the most wonderful space in which to sing. The acoustics are beautiful, the people that are the semi-MC’s are always kind and ever helpful and, pending you getting it approved, they will give you a recording of the recital, free of charge. Also, it is a beautiful venue.

Exhibits A, B & C*

the organ, up close...kinda

front of the organ from the front of the stage

fun shot of the trompettes

The lead up to this recital is the stuff of which movies are made: My original pianist’s father was having heart problems, and was on the list for a new heart. She had seen him about 2 weeks prior to the recital. The following week, she got a call saying that something had happened, so I was told to find someone who would be on standby, should things take a turn for the worse. Now 1.5 weeks before the recital, I got the dreaded text saying that she would not be there, as they (the family) signed a DNR for her father, and she would be leaving immediately. Now came the real fun part of trying to find an accompanist who would be able to handle the music I had programmed. I tried everyone that I had asked to be standby if they were willing, and no fruit came of that tree; I broadened my search to friends who knew other pianists, to no avail. Finally, I called my handler at Temple Square Performances to let her know of the situation. At this point, I was ready to call it off and had made my peace with that fact. She, however, was not ready to throw in the towel. She gave me names to contact, and still nothing was coming together. Lots of people were willing, but none were available, either for the performance or to rehearse, which was paramount for the music I had. Week of, on Wednesday night, I was really willing to cancel, as nothing was working, and I thought we were out of options. Thursday morning, I get a call, and she has found someone, I should call her and coordinate. So, I did, and it turns out she could do the performance, but only have 1 rehearsal, and on the day of, a couple of hours prior. Also, it was her anniversary. And she was slightly concerned with the repertoire. So, she was out. I get a call about an hour later, saying she had found someone else who will definitely work, and will be available that night AND Friday to rehearse. So, I call her, and it everything is hunky dory. This pianist, Shelley Astle, was wonderful and deserves a special place in heaven: she had less than 48 hours from receiving the music to the end of the performance. All in all, I would give my performance an 8/10, because, like most times, there are things I’d like to fix or do over again, but Shelley was definitely a 10/10 given the time constraints she was given.

When I arrived, they still had the choir risers set up from the prior night. Despite sometimes playing a big ol’ high maintenance singer, I am pretty low key. As such, this wasn’t a big deal to me, but my handlers were making this a much larger issue than it really needed to be, and because the risers were all behind the piano they were not effecting me in the slightest. So, they are all flustered and get someone to move everything (about an hour before the performance), and then they come talk to me again in the green room while I’m practicing, informing me that there was no one there to record my concert, despite all other parties being told otherwise. So, they call the person in charge of AV, and she didn’t even know that there was a concert that night (whoops). So, they go someone who was mostly aware of what to do in this venue, but, since they weren’t uber familiar with it, they would be unable to use the mics that were already there, and would have to use mics on stands. Again, doesn’t matter to me how it gets done-these kinds of details are largely unimportant to me (what a singer, right?) When I went upstairs to the stage, I was slightly alarmed to see a mic no more than 3 feet from my mouth. The tech assured me that it was turned down so it wouldn’t buzz and such. In addition to this mic, the piano got one, which made me feel much better about the outcome of this recital, so each mic could be adjusted separately in the final mix. Anyway, the recording turned out wonderful, and I’m happy with how I sound(most of the time), which, as a singer, doesn’t always happen. 🙂

Below are some pictures from other friends*:

Blah, blah, blah

Bowing at the end

more bowing

For those that are interested, the program was:

I hear an army, Op. 10, No. 3 – Samuel Barber

Misero! O sogno…Aura, che intorno spiri, K. 431 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Three Songs by Browning, Op. 44 – Amy Beach

  1. Ah, love, but a day!
  2. I send my heart up to thee
  3. The year’s at the spring

Comfort ye, my people…Ev’ry valley shall be exalted from Messiah, HWV 25 – Georg Friderich Händel

Comment, disaient-ils, S. 276 – Franz Liszt

Enfant, si j’étais roi, S. 283

Oh! quand je dors, S. 282

Dover Beach – Richard Faith


ENCORE: Blah, blah, blah – George Gershwin

For those of you that would like to listen, here is a link that will let you download the whole recital:

If you’d like notes/translations, just send me an email, and I’ll be happy to send you a copy. Hope you enjoy it!

*All of the pictures here were taken on cell phones, as everyone, including myself, forgot to bring a camera. Whoops!

The Local Girl – Guest Post

Hey everyone- Today’s post is from a blogger that is full of the awesome, Susan Fujiki, aka KungFuPussy. Enjoy this wonderful post about the juxtaposition of a young generation X’er & opera.

Shod in beaten up Doc Marten 8-ups and flannel, I may have appeared less than open-minded to many people as a teenager. Always searching for something to believe in and something to fight for I was the stereotypical Gen-X’r.  I was anti-animal testing, pro- Body Shop and anti- Kate Moss. I listened to loud music, hung out with the wrong crowd and sometimes got into trouble.  As a group, we thought we were different; different from what had come before us and the authority figures currently in front of us. We were going to change the world – but please just wait until we finished our cigarettes and listened to the latest Soundgarden album. As a group I guess Gen-X was different from other groups but as a member of the group we were all one and the same.

Ripped jeans? Yes. Play guitar? Yes. Write angry poetry? Yes. Want to die before you get old? Yes.

Yet, behind my uniform scowl I was a girl with a secret love. A hidden admiration for someone long gone and someone her friends would ridicule her for if they found out. To find what I was looking for I had to be the strange kid who hung out in a cemetery to focus and I hid in a museum to do the same thing. I would listen and smile on the inside as the world continued around me.

No one ever knew, but I loved to lose myself in the voice of Dame Nellie Melba.

I spent the first twenty-two years of my life in a town called Lilydale in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.  If you were looking for action and adventure, Lilydale was not the place to find it. For most people, the most exciting thing about the place was the annual agricultural show. Every November you could eat corn dogs, make out with the ride operators and get drunk as you watched fireworks explode overhead.  For some of us though, there was something else that was more exciting. We shared our home with the memory of opera star Dame Nellie Melba and from an early age her voice intrigued me.

As a child I learnt about Dame Nellie Melba in primary school.  If you lived in the area you couldn’t help knowing who she was. She was an opera singer and also the most important, world famous export the town had ever had. Her Australian home was in Coldstream, the next town over from Lilydale, and was called Coombe Cottage. It was built in the 1800’s and a monumental part of local history. Every time we drove past my parents would say “oh that’s where Dame Nellie Melba used to live”. As a child I wondered what was over the hedges as they were too high to see over. I used to even dream about it, like it was some kind of a secret garden and I had the key to get in.  I dreamt about parties and high society and all sorts of amazing things that may have happened over the walls back in the day.

As I got older and was able to wander about town by myself, I used to visit her grave at the local cemetery. People assumed I was just some crazy Goth kid hanging out amongst the dead but I wasn’t in the cemetery for that. It was local legend that you could hear Dame Nellie Melba sing at her grave so I would sit for hours and do just that. Listen. I’d hear the trees rustling in the wind and the magpies and cockatoos screeching but I’d just focus and concentrate and try to hear her voice. I figured it was all a matter of letting your imagination run wild. And, yes I heard her. I heard her sing to me.

When I was older still I volunteered to work at the historical society after visiting there with school. There was an entire room dedicated to Dame Nellie Melba. It was dusty and antiquated and full of everyday things: plates, menus, gowns, chairs, and sashes – all sorts of stuff. But there was something else; the room played her records.  This was before the internet so it wasn’t as easy to listen to music like hers for the secret fan like me, so I loved to just stand there and listen. When people would ask me why I was working there I would tell them it was because I wanted to work in a museum. That was only partly true. Yes, I did plan on being a curator that was in fact true, but there was also another reason.  I worked there to listen to her sing.

Dame Nellie Melba was talented, famous and lived all over the world, in the end but she chose to be buried in Lilydale with “Addio senza rancore, Farewell without bitterness” etched into her grave. Now, more than 100 years later, I too am a woman who left Lilydale. I left more than ten years ago and I now live in a whole other hemisphere. My life is now so different from that I had as a flannel clad teenager, it feels like I’ve had two separate lives. She chose to go back. I wonder when it’s my time if I will choose to do the same.

It was on this day, 25 years heretofore…

You will have to forgive me, as this entry is a little lot indulgent, and I think, on this day I am allowed to be. So, if this isn’t your thing, or you don’t like photoblogs, which we are today, you may want to come back next week, when we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, today is my 25th birthday! In the process of looking for pictures of my great-aunt for her memorial service this weekend, I came across a lot of pictures of my childhood. Turns out, I was one pretty adorable kid. I originally took these pictures to show the Boif and thought, in honor of my birthday, I would do a post highlighting the good and bad pics from the past. So… ENJOY!

Brotherly love
The pictures below are from the early years of Jason & I. Pretty much, we’re cute together.

enjoying our time in the Redwood forest

this must have been before he dropped me...


the picture that mom says is her favorite of the two of us

brother and I, probably around 3rd grade. aren't we adorable?

Sleepy time!

Even now, I have this tendency to fall asleep very easily, whether it be on a short car ride or just watching tv on the couch. Things were not much different back when I was a little one.

sleeping in front of the gorilla statue at the Berlin zoo

sleepy time!

Sleeping again...

The early years


these pictures span the months right after birth through right before pre-school. I was a toddler that was full of the awesome.

< 1 yr"

an early showing of my love for soccer

after my first haircut

Bitch, please

workin hard for the money

Hey you guyyys!

for what person does a playground not bring joy?

a habit that would not quit for a while...

I am SO happy, I can't contain myself!

my best NY gangsta face

happy baby!

gettin some water in my short shorts & farmer tan

Mom & Dad + me

looking cute as a sailor (obviously)

Don't cry for me, Argintina (if you don't see this, we may need to re-evaluate our friendship)

Time to get all learned

All of these pictures are my school years, with a few missing.


Pre-school, from the class picture

Gotta love this one (unknown age)

unknown age

1st grade

What a delightful picture...We have no idea what it was for

1st grade

4th grade (in my favorite Lion King shirt)

4th grade

4th grade class picture

5th grade (I don't know what's going on with that shirt or my chipmunk smile...

5th grade (love the hair, right?)

6th grade class photo

6th grade (looking like a powdered Ethiopian, weighing in at a whopping 59 lbs)

7th grade

8th grade

Unfortunately, that is where our stroll down memory lane ends. Thanks for joining me on this pleasant journey. Sad for you (but great for me), there weren’t many bad pictures; only the 5th grade sticks out in my mind…


Your favorite 25 y/o tenor

London – My première

In August, I had the wonderful opportunity to perform in London at the famed church, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and it was WONDERFUL!

Giving some back story:

Using the recording from my first Temple Square recital in May ’09 (second is Feb 19 (or this),  for those of you in SLC), I applied for this program. I figured it was a long shot, as it was freaking St. Martin-in-the-Fields, a music center known round the world for great music. So, I sent off my materials the middle of June and heard nothing until the middle of September –  a very long time for someone like me who wants to know, either way, in a short time line. To say that I was happy or even excited was the understatement of the year. I was so giddy, I’m sure I was unbearable for at least a week.  I submitted an all 20th century American art song program (probably something that tipped the balance in my favor, and in my opinion, was absolutely wonderful) that was slightly heady for those who enjoy that sort of thing, but still very approachable and enjoyable, featuring Celius Dougherty, Amy Beach, George Crumb, John Duke, Jake Heggie & an encore by everyone’s friend, George Gershwin. The next issue to tackle was to find someone who would play (accompany, collaborate, etc. [choose your verb]) for me in London. I had lots of pianist friends say that they would love the opportunity as well, but I would have to pay for their ticket. To which I replied: HA! It’s not that I don’t love my pianist friends, it’s just that I am poor. Getting to London was hard enough; paying for someone else would have been impossible. So, I let this issue marinade for a while, as it wasn’t an issue that needed immediate attention. I figured the universe would just send me someone or get me in touch with someone who “knew a person”. While visiting the Boif in Tucson (U of Arizona) for Valentines’/President’s Day last year, I asked his song lit professor, Paula Fan, who visits the UK due to her formerly being married to a Brit, if she knew of anyone over there that would be willing to play for someone like me, thus eliminating the issue of an additional plane ticket. She said she’d think about it get back to me the next day. The following day, she sent Boif an email on FB (because she’s cool like that) offering to do it herself, as she is usually in London around that time, and would I be open to such an arrangement? Boy howdy, was I surprised. Pretty much, Paula is a big deal (as her bio will reveal). That she was willing to play for lil old me was amazing, but now that I know her better, not very shocking, as she is a wonderfully kind woman. Anyway, fast-forwarding to April, when I went to see Boif’s Master’s recital, we had 2 long rehearsals during my visit, and we had so much fun just going through the rep and exploring it together. It was at that point that we decided that another set of rehearsals & a pre-performance run would be a good idea, and thus planned to have the  preview in Salt Lake the weekend before our departures after a blitz-rehearsal the night before.

Now, if you will remember from my last traveling post, I was without my passport at the beginning of July. This held true for most of the month. About 2 weeks before I was to leave, I had made the decision to just get a new passport and declare the old one lost. I found an website that would get you your passport via courier for some ungodly amount, but you could get it in 5 business days. I had some problems getting the cash flow to do this, but eventually got it, and this was then the Thursday prior to my leaving. I went to the post office down the street to get the passport stuff signed and all so I could FedEx it that morning, and was told that they don’t do passport stuff until later, but I could go to a city north and get it done, or, go to Salt Lake, and there was a company in the same building as a different passport office that could do the whole thing for me for a little bit more. I eventually decide to go with the service that was based here, as I felt a little more comfy with that prospect. Despite getting my paperwork to them by about 10am, it would not get sent until the next day, and then taken into the regional office in LA until Monday (note: MONDAY! I was really about to freak out, but what good would that do me, really?) and I would get it back on Wednesday (WEDNESDAY?!?!?! the day before I was to leave). I get a call on Tuesday afternoon from the agency and they said that there was a problem at the center (not with my passport, thankfully), but that it would not be in until Thursday (THE DAY I LEAVE), unless they overnighted(and I payed for) it to SLC. Since my flight wasn’t leaving until nearly 2, I said it was OK, and I would pick it up that morning, on my way to the airport. [Side-note: Flying [internationally] middle of the week in the middle of the day is AMAZING! You can sleep in and not worry about running around like a chicken with your head cut off.] Of course that’s not quite how my morning played out-it never is. I woke up a little later than I would have preferred, and was a little manic, but the endearing amount, not a high level. We get to the agency at 10:30 and I get that infernal little bit of paper and finally head for the airport, where Delta’s Sky Club is waiting for me (you know I took advantage of that Groupon when I saw it… ) Once I get on my flights, I continue my wonderful ability to get free booze from the flight attendants, who seem to like me quite a bit. I think we can all agree free booze on flights = the awesome, so, I never discourage it.

Wow. When I started out this back story, I never thought it would take this long just to do that portion of the story. Mi dispiace.

Yay! We’re finally to the London part! (FRIDAY) So, I arrive in London and our family friends pick me up and we go to their place in Chorleywood (totes cute, right?), about an hour NW outside of London by train. We get some food, and, in an effort to battle my seemingly non-existent travel exhaustion (can you get jet lag going east?), we go on a walk around the common, which is actually quite nice, despite being somewhat chilly. Later that night, we went out clubbing in a nearby city where I felt so very old, as a lot of the people that frequent clubs in this town, at least, are 18-21, but still had quite a bit of fun, as the people I went with were rather entertaining. That, and the booze was cheap (UK 1, USA 0), so there’s that. Next day (SATURDAY), I was meeting Paula for our first & only real rehearsal, and mutual friend Robyn (then a student at U of A, now at ASU in Phoenix, who had done a YAP in Oxford the 2 weeks before) who was turning for Paula for the rehearsal & performance at the Schott music studios. I was a touch late due to my train having some detours and my getting a little turned around after getting out of the tube. Rehearsal went well, and when looking for lunch, Paula then did the greatest thing ever, and suggested we go to Pret a Manger (they have some in NYC, Chicago & DC currently). This is such a great restaurant-I really don’t have any words for how great it is. What makes them so great is everything is made in-house that morning, and is [mostly?] organic and all that good stuff. The best part about them is whatever food is left over at the end of the day is given to shelters so it isn’t being wasted. How great of a policy is that, right?! Whenever possible, I/we ate at one the millions of locations around the city.

The three of us at Pret, eating delicious food

Following this delicious lunch, Robyn & I desperately needed our Starbucks. Her, for her coffee, as the Brits’ coffee is…well, not really great. Me, for my soy chai, as I had done quite a bit of singing and it was going to hit just the right spot. After we had been sufficiently caffeinated, we started walking, taking the long route, to Trafalgar Square to check out St. Martins.  Doing so put us walking through the West End, London’s Broadway, which was a real treat. En route to the square, it had started to rain. As you can tell form the picture above, I wasn’t really in great rain clothes to be walking around, but I ‘manned up’ and went along with the group. Upon arriving at St. Martins, they were closing up in preparation for a concert that evening, but I just wanted to poke my head in to see the space and which I was accommodated to do so. To kill some time waiting for the rain to stop, we went up the street to the Charring Cross train station to have a pint and talk music stuff, which was lots of fun and a great way to not get wet. After getting sufficiently dry, we went out exploring the city more, ending up having some delicious noodles at Wagamamma on the other side of the National Gallery. We ended our day by walking through Piccadilly Circus, Hyde Park and by Kensington Palace en route to our tube stops.

The next day (SUNDAY), Paula was going to be spending the day with her step children and their kids, so Robyn and I were on our own, with plans to hit the British Museum as the main attraction, and the rest of the day had more fluidity to it. I sang in our friends’ church, along with her daughter, for Euchrist, and then RAN to the train stop so I could meet up (already running late) with Robyn. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a number to get in touch with her to let her know. (UK 1 Mitch 0). I finally got to the museum about 2.5 hours late due to the trains running on a Sunday schedule + detours. (UK 2, Mitch 0) I start going through the main floor of the museum trying to find her with no luck. I get to the other side, which is the entrance that most people use (go figure) and don’t see her outside, and I see a pay phone and forget for 1 second that Paula is with her kids all day, but give her cell a call to have her tell me she’s nowhere near the museum, and that she hopes that the two of us connect. On the way back inside, I see her sitting on the steps. (UK 2, Mitch 1) Apologies are just flowing from my mouth, but she is very forgiving, understanding that stuff like this happens, and that all was well. We went in with a general idea of what we wanted to see, with the Rosetta Stone being my main interest and the Elgin Marbles (friezes formerly atop the Parthenon) for Robyn.

Translate this, bitches (aka, the Rosetta Stone)

Elgin Marbles, right

Elgin Marbles, left

So, pretty much, the British Museum rocks, there’s lot of cool stuff, like what I call Venus, 2.0, as it is looks quite similar to the Venus de Milo, housed at the Louvre. (At the end of the post, I will post all of my pictures from the museum in a gallery.)

Venus, 2.0

The entrance that everyone uses... *apparently*

After being all learned from the museum, we went walking about the city, not really doing much, just killing time until we were to go on our ‘spooky London’ walking tour in the early evening. Earlier in the trip, I had mentioned the desire to go see a show, if it would have worked out, and Wicked came quickly to mind, as I had never seen it before (or, come to think of it, ANY professionally produced musical theatre show). We went to the ticket kiosk, where you can supposedly get cheaper tickets than the theatre’s box office, and saw a sign saying that Whoopi Goldberg was going to be playing the Reverend Mother for the first few weeks of the London run of Sister Act, so we asked what those cheap tickets cost, and we were [un]pleasantly surprised that they were £60 for the nosebleed seats! Now, I love me some Whoopi, but not that much. We also asked about Wicked, and was quoted something like £40, which isn’t bad, but, as a student, you can [theoretically] get better day of, so we waited. And went to lunch. At Pret. (Who’s surprised? because I know I am) So, the thing about London is, in business areas (vs tourist areas) everything has limited hours on Sundays, and if you’re in that area on Sunday night, and you’re hungry, you’re SOL. We had to get all the way over by the Tower area to get some food. No Pret this time, but good ol’ American KFC (the ONLY food place open as far as the eye could see). Now don’t get me wrong, I love eating foreign foods, but sometimes eating foods from your home country is nice and refreshing. So, we went on our ‘spooky London’ tour, and it was a lot of fun! Our tour guide was not only knowledgeable about the spooky stuff, but of London’s history as well, also, he was hysterically funny. In addition to telling us historical & funny anecdotes, he was rather informative about some of the architecture we were seeing. After walking around for about 2 hours, which went really quickly btw, we ended at St. Paul’s and I bid Robyn adieu so I could get my beauty rest before my recital the next day.

Tower Bridge

On the right is what I call the 'Faberge' building, because, obviously. The building in the foreground on the left was really cool, as it was built inside out, w/ elevators, HVAC, the whole shebang OUTSIDE. How cool, right?


When you walk through the gates to this church, you're in Heaven. Why? Because it's St. Peter's. *cue groans*

The next day my friends were leaving for the States & to go to a family wedding off the coast of Honduras on the bride’s family’s island. This is of note, to me, at least, because they came back from Nepal about 4 days prior. So, I woke up the first time at 5:30 to say good bye and get any last instructions on what to do when I was leaving. After they left, I promptly went back to bed until about 8:30 to get ready for the day & recital. I get to St. Martin’s, suit and other stuff in hand, about 11:30 so I can get a real feel for how things will go, also I was meeting my sound guy who was recording the recital for me. Paula & Robyn arrive a little after 12 for my sound check/rehearsal. After my sound check, I get shown to my dressing room. This was a big deal for me, as I have never had my own dressing room before; it has always been a group room (which is fine, but your own room totes rocks).


St. Martin-in-the-Fields exterior

St. Martin's interior, facing front

St. Martin's interior, facing back

Their way cool window behind the altar


My pretty awesome dressing room

Once I was all situated in my room, Robyn told me some of the greatest news ever: she found tickets to Wicked last night on the theatre’s website for £14! That got me all sorts of excited, so I convinced the person who was helping me to let me use her computer to send Boif an email saying that we were going to Wicked that night after the recital. Also, I had apparently forgotten to give him directions on how to meet us. *whoops* I had previously told him which stop to get off at, but nothing beyond it. So, I gave more detailed instructions on what we were doing and what to do after arriving in London (from N. Ireland). [Note: In case it isn’t apparent, I am kind of a control freak; I like to have everything in a neat order. So, when he never responded to my email, I thought that he had already left and had not received my email. GRRR (this is important later)] The recital went wonderfully. There were some moments, like there always are, that I wish I could change, but, overall, I am pleased with how it went. And, more importantly, the people there, about 300, really seemed to enjoy my singing & program. After the concert, this Russian woman was waiting to speak with me (or so I thought), and with just one word “beautiful” (pretend it’s in a Russian accent), she gave me a CD of some Russian soprano singing Russian folk & art songs. After this kind gesture, Robyn and I got to meet Paula’s family, who were all wonderful and excited for us as well, re: Wicked. Afterwards, Robyn’s friend from the program she just finished, who came for the recital, and the two of us went to get food, Pret of course, and ate lunch by the river. Once we were done with lunch, we said goodbye to her new friend and went to get our Wicked tickets! Good news/bad news about our tickets. That £14 offer was only good online, but, since we are students, they can give us tickets for £25 ($40) instead of their actual retail value (which was about £90). Boif and I had tickets about 10 rows back from back on the floor, but still way good seats, and Robyn got a front middle section, middle of the row seat, which was AMAZING! While we were getting ready to leave, some woman came up to the box office with a bottle of wine, gave it to the people behind with her name, and they said it’d be ready at the interval (intermission). That is definitely something that doesn’t occur in the States. The Brits do like to entertain themselves during their brakes though. When I was in London after my Italy trip in ’07, I went to Covent Garden, and the scene in the in-house bar was redic. I digress… We finally get back to Robyn’s hotel, so I can drop off my suit and stuff. Let me tell you about how long it takes to get to her hotel. The train station has 2 main exits: one at the street right there and the second a long tunnel walk away. You can guess that the easiest way to get there is to go through the tunnel, which really isn’t that challenging, it’s just that it’s not close (which becomes important later too). In an effort to kill some time before meeting Boif at the train station around 6:30 (his flight came in~5), we went to the Science museum and had a ball learning about sciencey stuff. We are waiting for him to come until 7, when I send Robyn to the theatre, with her hotel card with me, and wait for him all by my lonesome. I think, well, maybe he got past me when I was looking in the other direction, and so I go outside looking and see nothing, but, who should I see when I turn around, on the other side of the exit! There was much happiness in the land at that moment. I was totes excited that he was here, he was all of that plus the fact that he actually found me, as since he had never been to London before, there was some trepidation about using the tube for the first time. (I totally felt this the first time too)

So, we walk down the really long tunnel, drop off his stuff, and run back to the train station to get us to the theatre and we get in our seats at the end of ‘Dancing through life’. I wasn’t too keen on the Elphaba before ‘Defying gravity’, but she really brought her A-game to that song and won me over. It really was an amazing performance. My personal favorite though, was the Glinda, who was being sung by the cover. You could tell that her character’s excessive perkiness was due to her singing that evening. It was clear, at the very end, that she had a classical background, as during one passage in the finale she went from a musical theatre style of singing to a full on classical sound, and the audience literally gasped at that moment. And it totally made me giggle. After the show, we meet up with Robyn, pick up some food (Pret, obv) and take it to her hotel so we can take our stuff back to where we’re staying. We eat & chat for a while, and I look at the clock, and it’s 11:30. PM. So I rush us out, wish Robyn safe travels, as she is going back to the states the next day, and we RUN back to the tube station, suit & laptop bag in my hands & Boif has his sad, sad suitcase in his. Since it is night, the tube people lock the tunnel entrance, so we have to go on the streets. Luckily, Robyn showed us the correct route when we were going to the hotel. We had to make 2 transfers and made, no joke, the last train to Chorleywood with about 3 minutes to spare. I have no idea what we would have done had we missed it.

Next day, we leave my friends’ place and drop off our luggage at Paula’s hotel and go off to explore London. We had lunch with Paula over by St. Paul’s and then headed over to the Tate Modern, which is a rocking good museum. When I was in London before, they had an awesome exhibit of Dali’s work in all mediums that rocked my face off. It would be amiss if I didn’t mention that we got lost misplaced getting to the Tate. I misread the map and we went parallel to the river for a little bit, but saw some pretty cool architecture as a result, so I consider it a draw. (Those pictures will also be in the gallery below)


us when we got misplaced (not lost) going to the Tate Modern

the Tate Modern art museum


The exhibits they had this time


Boif in front of St. Paul's...but on a bridge (ain't he cute?)

Your gracious host over the river Thames

the two of us on the bridge

said bridge. it's the one that gets to' up in the Harry Potter 6 movie


the Boif always needs his coffee...and if he's getting something why shouldn't I?

Next stop after the Tate Modern was Trafalgar Square (National Gallery & the West End). The main point of us going to the National Gallery was to see the Van Goughs and Monets. And they were so purdy. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend much time with them, as we went to the wrong side looking for them. *whoops* Saw some great stuff, but not enough of those two. Lots of Jesus stuff though. It was like we went to the Louvre, where I firmly believe that they have an entire wing (over by Mona Lisa) devoted to Jesus himself. Outside of the gallery, there is a statue, I shit you not, of George Washington. What is he doing there? I haven’t the foggiest. Boif thought it necessary (as did I) to get a picture of him.


Boif & ol' Georgey

Also outside, but less permanent, as different art is featured there, there is a really, really big ship in a bottle. Totes cool



art in context

After having our fill of art, Boif was making noises about being hungry, so, naturally, I suggested Pret for our last meal in London. However, none of the Prets that we went to (approx 5) had what I wanted. And you all know that once you have something in your head, you don’t want anything else. So, instead of eating there, we went around the West End looking for somewhere to eat that wasn’t ungodly expensive. During this process, I showed him the Royal Opera house, since, you know, he’ll need to know how to get there when they offer him roles upon roles…

Boif at Covent Garden

me in the West End (ps, when did Enron get a musical?!)

As our hunger was getting the better of us, we finally found somewhere to eat, this cute restaurant that was more bar/social areas on the main floor and real pub upstairs. I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.


my food

Boif's food

No more food! YAY!

View from our table

Boif's required after dinner espresso

After dinner, we headed over to Westminster Abbey and the like, as no trip to London is complete without it. And I may have had a diva picture taken. See if you can figure out which one it was…

Big Ben

Houses of Parliment

Westminster Abbey

oh, hello there...

oh yeah, I went there. double umbrella

Boif in front of the building by the Abbey

After our excursion here, it was time to pick up our luggage from Paula and head to the airport, where our hotel for the evening was located. It was sad saying goodbye to Paula & this great city, but, the states were calling our number to return.

saying goodbye to Paula

Our hotel, Yotel (coming soon to Times Square, allegedly), was great…mostly. They are a Japanese based brand, and have rooms that are just bed, bathroom & space for luggage. Beyond it being a little smaller than I anticipated, it was great. The Yotel in London is located right in Terminal 4 (Delta/KLM/AirFrance/SkyTeam), which makes the morning of flying SUPER great. This hotel rents for as little as 4 hours (nice for layovers) and up to a daily rate from there. All things considered, it was way cheap, given its location. I think I paid something close to $100. This is especially nice since hotels in London tend to be very pricey anyway, and ones close to the airport (which is near nothing, btw) are outlandish.


view from the bed

yes, the toilet is on the business end of the shower...

facing the bed, from the bathroom

TV (cable, no less) at the end of the bed

It is of note that I got through security in like 5 minutes. People bemoaned to me the time that it takes to go through it in London, and I think they’re all smoking crack. It’s ridiculous. 5 minutes, people! 5 minutes.  Anyway, Boif walked me to my gate and I got on my flight to Amsterdam. Nothing really eventful occurred on this flight except great service. If you can ever fly [internationally] on KLM, DO SO. On a flight that couldn’t have lasted more than 1/2 hour, I got drink service AND a sandwich. That totes rocks, folks. Here’s where the fun begins. As I’m getting on my flight to Detroit, I notice that there’s quite a few seats in first class open, and I ask the flight attendant if I can have one, as I have the required mileage to get auto-upgraded in the States, and get this: she said YES! So, instead of sitting in coach for the long flight, I got to sit in my fancy dancy first class chair, which btw reclines FLAT, so I could sleep. When I landed in the great state of Michigan, I may have been a little happy, if you know what I mean. And then the same thing happened on the way home from Detroit. I love my luck flying. *knocks on wood* As promised, below is a copy of the recital & a gallery of photos. Enjoy & thanks for reading!


Ah, Love, but a Day!

Primavera – Celius Dougherty


Three Songs by Browning, Op. 44 – Amy Beach

  1. Ah, love, but a day!
  2. I send my heart up to thee
  3. The year’s at the spring

Two Early Songs – George Crumb

  1. Wind Elegy
  2. Night

Luke Havergal – John Duke

i carry your heart – John Duke


from The Faces of Love – Jake Heggie

I shall not live in vain

As well as Jesus

At last, to be identified


Encore:  Blah, blah, blah – George Gershwin

This bad blogger turns over a new leaf. Also: an update

So, let me first apologize for the lack of posts since August. I have been a bad blogger. The “London” post has been in the works for quite a while, but the time after I got back from London to now has been an *interesting* time. I got a job at the beginning of September where I didn’t have the free time that I thought I would have, like at my last job.

Speaking of said job, I was relieved of that position on Dec. 2 because they said that “it wasn’t a great fit” (along with some other BS reasons. If you are more curious, email me) and since I was still under probationary time, and they just got rid of me. The only nice thing they did was decide to pay me through the 15th. So, I have been chilling out, staying up late, sleeping in, catching up on my tv shows, and discovering a love of USA Network‘s Psych, getting caught up on all seasons in a week, due to the gloriousness of Netflix. Despite the suckiness of not having a job around the holidays, it has been really nice to not have to work whilst the Boif is here, during his winter break, which sadly ends this Saturday :(.

Musically, the time between London & now has been wonderful. Boheme (Puccini) with Utah Opera was tres fun, especially since last year’s chorus heavy season. I got to do my first Messiah this year and I was selected to do 3 performances (Sam in Floyd’s Susannah, Remendado in Bizet’s Carmen & a Broadway concert) with the Utah Mid-Winter Song Festival later this year.

I think that this just about sums up everything I’ve done since I last posted. London’s blog will be up in a few days, after I get it all prettified. Expect a lot of pictures for that one.

Getting back to being a better blogger…

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog  once a week for all of 2011.

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Sydney style! This is a wonderful and quite long display from our friends down under. I especially love the music choices at the end.



ps, [the very overdue] London & [not so overdue] Christmas posts are coming.

Going to Canada or the Voyage to Denver*

So…I was planning on attending the Berkshire Choral Festival during its residency in Montreal at the beginning of July as a young artist apprentice. I was totes excited for this, as I haven’t done a YAP** since 2007, when I went to Italy [in the beautiful little city of Nova Feltria] & London for 6 weeks. Anyway…

After everything regarding my flights was all decided [about 5 days before departure], I told my parents, who are the holders of all important documents, that I needed my passport, and if they could get it, I would be greatly obliged. So, the next day, my dear mother went to the safe deposit box at the bank, where all of the passports live, and couldn’t find mine. Found everyone elses, but not mine. So, we turned the house upside down trying to find this little bit of important paper. We even went back to the bank and looked through everything. Sadly, it was, and continues to be, lost. What is so weird is that in my old travel belt deal, I still had my boarding passes for my flight back from London (and the remaining drink tickets), but no passport. Sigh.

So, with that plan’s awesome swiftly sucked out, I decided that I would go to my aunt & uncle’s in Denver with my parents for the 4th. Ever since I started college, the only time I usually get to go to Denver to see my mom’s family is at Christmas, as I am usually a) working or b) out of the country, thus putting a cramp in my ability to be in Denver [and since we have yet to perfect the ability to be in 2 places at once…]. So, we left on July 3, making the painful trek that is I-80 through Wyoming. Unless you have made this trip, you do not understand – it is worse than driving through Kansas or any of the mid-western states. The only drive that may be worse is driving to west Texas from, well, anywhere, but specifically the eastern part of the state. Anyway, we get to Denver in one piece, and everything is all hunky-dory…for now [cue suspense filled music]! (but only for now)*** Every summer, without fail, my uncle has a project that is very conveniently timed to the arrival of my parents. In years past, it has been laying sod, remodeling the kitchen, putting in a chain link fence, you know. all that fun stuff. Well, this year’s project was a doozy: hardwood floors for the downstairs hallway AND the living room upstairs. Being the type of gay that I am (read: opera singing/Martha Stewart cooking, decorating, etc), I knew that I should keep a low profile during this “delightful” activity. Not because I am lazy, but because when you say “hand me a screwdriver”, I immediately think to ask: “Absolut, Grey Goose or Belvedere?” So I stayed out-of-the-way during this process, only being called in to do work when they needed carpet to be rolled up and taken out, which is totally doable. It eventually got done, without anyone getting hurt (which is no small miracle), but the kicker was that the “wood” that they were getting for the living room was supposed to get there on the 7th, so my family extended our stay through the weekend, as to be helpful (read: father is helpful). Well, we call on Thursday morning, and, lo and behold, it wasn’t ordered on Monday like they said it would. whoops *facepalm* Even with that news, we still ended up staying, as we see them rather infrequently, even if on a regular basis. So, one of the added nights, it was determined that I would be cooking dinner (a favorite pastime of mine – cooking for a large family meal). The meal was delicious:
Oven roasted tomato balsamic vinaigrette on a salad with feta, oven roasted tomatoes, pine nuts & bacon
Six cheese filled tortellini with pesto & mozzarella cheese
Garlic & white wine seared asparagus
Grilled pork chops
corn, bacon & scallion saute [my favorite]
Desert (I sadly forgot to take a picture) was an orange [heavy] creme filled angel food cake with an orange cream sauce & ice cream.


a close up of the asparagus

One of my favorite aspects of going to Denver (beyond seeing my dear, dear family) is the wonderful food that I eat whilst there. Our friends that we stay with used to own a Mexican restaurant and still have most of the supplies from it, so, when we eat at the house, that food is full of the wonderful goodness. Example a: breakfast burrito smothered in green chili with real chunks of pork. It is delicious and wonderful.

Example b: As a result of owning a Mexican joint, you get to know other places that do, and, this is one of our friends’ favorite haunts: Tia Maria’s (in North Denver). Pictured below is a chicken chimichanga that was. so. yummy. And just for a second, look at the amount of guacamole given to you. boom baby. boom.

I don’t even have words to describe how good this was.

So, on Friday (July 9)[the day before we were planning on leaving], we are having a b-day party for one of our friends, and it was decided, that since they liked the corn saute, I would make it again. The party went well, and everyone was happy…or were they?! Later that night I wasn’t feeling so hot, so I went to the bathroom and promptly threw up. (Objection, your honor! Counselor? I promise I’m going somewhere with this, your honor. OK, proceed) [this happens again with the added bonus of “the runs” later in the evening/early morning] The next morning I come to find out that one of our friends (female) was up through the night getting sick too. When I go in to see my parents, I see that my father had a bucket by his side of the bed. oi vey The only people to not feel like crap that morning was my mom and our friends’ daughter & fiance. At this point (around noon), we decided that today was a loss, so we would leave on Sunday. Well, later in the day my mom ends up getting sick, so the entire family is down. Adding to this, my father doesn’t leave his bed until around 5 that evening. By about 1, I felt back to normal, but a little short on energy. Originally, I thought that it could have been my food, since that was the only common factor for us, and it may have contributed in a very small manner, as I didn’t cook it as long as I did the first time, as I was rushed, and therefore, there was more grease in it. But we realized that that wouldn’t make all of us sick or at least sick like that, and the culprit was finally determined to be a bug that granddaughter brought home from California. We ended up leaving just on time on Sunday, wrapping up a much lower-key 4th of July visit than last year (which involved fights over abortion, gay marriage, Prop 8, politics, anti-christ Obama and the like which ended up with people vowing to never talk again and craziness).

Thanks for bearing with me as I wrote this, it has been rather crazy since my return from London (and I meant to get all of this posted before that, but it got WAY crazy before I left. but that’s a different post)


*If you are familiar with Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, you will get what I am doing here. If not, don’t worry.

** Young Artist Program

*** You get extra bonus points for knowing that musical cue.      —>Avenue Q<—


Hey there – welcome back to the new and improved and prettified Tales of a Tenor! Come back tomorrow for a post about the trip to Montreal/Denver. And expect a post about London in the near future!