Opera, Travel

Opera in the Outfield

For the past few weeks I’ve been getting over my Australian jet-lag and working at Washington National Opera in Washington, D.C – getting ready to open another production of The Magic Flute by Mozart!

Queen of the Night

I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of QOTN in the last couple years, (this is my 10th production in 2.5 years) and singing this role in particular has introduced me to amazing opportunities, people, countries, and companies. Last December I realized my life-long dream and made my Metropolitan Opera debut singing Queen, and next December I’ll make my debut at the Vienna Staatsoper in Austria singing the same role as well.  Two major bucket list items of my career ‘in the bag’ within one year thanks to this role!  This particular production is really interesting because it was designed by renowned ceramics artist, Jun Kaneko, so there is a real playful yet edgy and artistic vibe to it.  Plus, my two costumes are ridiculously amazing (so I forgive the fact that they are heavy as lead).

Someday I’ll do a post with a Queen theme, that a friend has lovingly started calling “The Queenie Look-Book”.

Washington National Opera

WNO has a fantastic new tradition called “Opera in the Outfield” where they simulcast the opening night performance on the big screen at the Washington Nationals baseball stadium for families to watch in a relaxed picnic-like atmosphere, with lots of other fun activities like face-painting and games, mainly made possible by M&M’s – the Mars Company!  This year, a whopping record-breaking 10,000 people of ALL AGES came out to the ballpark to enjoy an evening of opera!  Truly an awesome number, especially in light of some recent grim reportings from major opera companies about current attendance! It was amazing to be a part of this, with a great group of colleagues and cast-mates, and a truly memorable way to make my debut at this legendary company at the amazing Kennedy Center, and also in this historic city!

Here are a few pictures that some friends and colleagues took of me on the big screen at the ballpark during the performance – the first two are from Act I, and the last fun and scary one is from later on in the opera when I sing the famous “Vengeance” aria from Act II, which everyone, even non-opera-goers, has heard in their lifetime.  There is literally no one I have come across that hasn’t heard it after I hum a few bars (several octaves lower than it’s written…)

 

Opera in the Outfield
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I realize this last photo is me…. but it still gives me nightmares.

 

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Here are a few of the press photos, taken at the final dress rehearsal last week!

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In the Washington D.C. area and interested in seeing a performance?  Visit Washington National Opera’s webspace on the Kennedy Center’s website for more info!  There are two casts.  My remaining performance dates (including tonight because I’m filling in for an ill colleague) are May 8th, 11th, 16th and 18th.

 

 

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Paleo, Recipe

RECIPE: Skillet Rosemary Chicken

This recipe for Skillet Rosemary Chicken from Paleo Leap can’t be beat.  It’s simple, doesn’t require a billion ingredients, cooks up fast, and pretends like it’s been cooking for HOURS.  Enticing aromas of rosemary and lemon are drool-worthy. I had seconds and I’m not ashamed.

Skillet Rosemary Chicken

FYI, Paleo Leap is a super user-friendly website for people who are curious about the Paleo diet and it has a lot more fantastic recipes for every occasion.

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Opera, Paleo

Opera Style Synopsis of the Paleo Lifestyle: For Fun!

I am an opera singer.

I make no claims to be a nutrition expert or a Paleo Guru, so here’s a little operatic synopsis of the Primal/Paleo diet and lifestyle for your entertainment.

Act I

10,000+ years ago, a svelte cave girl whose inner health radiates with luminosity, thrives on gathering plants and hunting wild game. Everything she consumes plays an important nourishing role in her physical and mental well-being. She lives in harmony with nature and she sings a lot, obviously.  She spends time in the sunshine, and she sleeps a lot. She relaxes in front of a roaring fire every night with her family and friends, and she worries once in a while that her boyfriend might get eaten by a giant cat, and sometimes she has to run really fast to get away from a giant cat.  Other than that, she’s doing really well, and through the generations “she” is evolving rapidly because she and her friends are so healthy and happy. Act I ends with a joyful ensemble number about their success as a species.

Act II

Approximately 10,000 years ago, the people have settled and start making lots of bread. It seems like a cheap and easy way to feed a growing population. Later on, they begin getting sick all the time because the majority of their diets are made up of processed grain-based foods with added refined sugar. Someone sings a lament about the population being plagued with disease. The people lose track of what is truly nourishing to their bodies.  They begin spending most of their time indoors during the daylight hours. They don’t get enough sleep. Someone else sings a rage aria because the society’s mental health has declined. The mis-led doctor sings a boldly convincing and richly sung demise of the egg yoke and at the end of the act, a soprano delivers a chilling mad-scene about her struggles to lead a happy and healthy life on a low-fat diet.

Act III

A few people begin to analyze the relationship between the population’s eating habits and their plague of illness.  They discover that the human body develops insulin resistance when it’s overloaded with gluten and refined sugar, and that our digestive tracts are not designed to easily and smoothly process abrasive foods like legumes and whole grains, and that many people cannot cope with the type of sugars found in dairy.  Some people continue to blindly consume SAD foods (Standard American Diet), blaming their maladies on genetics or bad luck. The few people who have returned to eating as our paleolithic ancestors did find freedom from being a slave to our health and wellbeing. They enjoy the challenge of seeking the best nourishment that our amazing planet can offer, and strive to live in balance and harmony with nature and the modern world. And there is a lot of singing. A. LOT.

This post will become a permanent part of my blog under “Lifestyle”!

For a more scientific or in depth look at this lifestyle, I invite you to peruse the blogs and websites that I’ve shared on my links page.

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Paleo

RECIPE: Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce

Getting ready to board our 15 hour flight back to the USA!  Thought I would quickly post a favorite recipe we found while living in Tasmania, Australia these last 5 weeks!

Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce

From TummyRumblr.

Meatballs with Spiced Tomato SauceWe are definitely keeping this recipe on our short list of go-to ideas for quick and easy dinners! Tom made this fabulous meatball recipe in our hotel kitchenette in Hobart, Tasmania. These meatballs are moist, super flavorful, and a cinch to make even in an unfamiliar kitchen with hardly any useful tools (we were supplied with a peeler and one dull knife – yay!) Bonus, they are great using any combination of protein sources (we couldn’t find ground lamb that day, so used ground beef and pork). Fill out your plate with a batch of steamed greens like kale with a bit of EVOO and a squeeze of lemon juice. This recipe is from TummyRumblr.

 

You can come back later and find this recipe and others on my Eating page!

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Opera

Hobart Baroque

Hobart BaroqueFrom beginning to end, my experience working at the new Australian summer festival “Hobart Baroque” has been marvelous! This is only the second season for HB, but they sure know how to do things right, already!  Our four performances of Handel’s Orlando all went beautifully thanks to the amazing cast, crew, orchestra players, and staff. This was my first role in a full-scale Handel production, and I know it will be a memorable time for years to come!  Here are a few pictures from the production, in which I sang the role of Angelica.  Farewell, amazing Tasmania!

 

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Paleo, Travel, Uncategorized

Tasmania

As I near the end of my 5 weeks in Tasmania, Australia, I realize  it’s been occurring to me more and more that I should really be documenting my travels, at least in an informal way like a blog.  But I’m a very focused person, and a travel blog in and of itself has not and probably will not hold my interest enough to write on a weekly basis.  So, I’ve decided to start a blog about my passions. Caution: This is an experiment – I have no idea what my posts will be about!  I expect some will be about performing on the world’s opera stages.  Others will be about my challenges and triumphs to eat healthfully while traveling the world (many temptations).  I suspect some posts will truly look like something out of a travel blog, full of pictures from the edges of the earth…. and maybe a few paleo/primal recipes thrown in here and there. I look forward to discovering the shape these pages take.

For now, here is a picture I took yesterday from the summit of Mt. Wellington in Tasmania, Australia, overlooking the city of Hobart and the River Derwent, which leads to the Tasman Sea, and beyond (if you swim for a while), Antarctica.

Hobart, Tasmania beside the River Derwent which leads to the Tasman Sea and Antarctica.

Hobart, Tasmania beside the River Derwent which leads to the Tasman Sea and Antarctica.

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