Wednesday, July 25, 2007

To sing in a chorus for FREE?

So, after writing my blog entry last night, I sent an email to the opera company requesting what roles and compensation I would be offered in the Resident Artist Program. I got an e-mail today with my offer and a long contract. The roles they have offered are two chorus roles, and one understudy. The other roles for 2008 have yet to be assigned.

The contract goes into great length about how I need to be available at such and such times (15-35 hours a week), or how I can be fired if I change my appearance. Then there are the outreach concerts, but of course not everyone will get to participate, and then there are the Master Classes and Workshops which I am "encouraged" to attend, but if I am going to be absent, I must receive permission.

As usual, the compensation paragraph was vague. I will copy and paste it for you:

(Insert company name here) will not charge a fee nor pay a fee for the program as a whole. However, depending upon the assignments given, a contract may be issued and a fee may be paid (separately contracted role, “going on” as a cover, chorus on tour etc.). In any case the Resident Artist is an independent contractor not an employee of (Insert company name here).

WTF does that mean? I'm not going to get paid to sing in the chorus? I quit my job singing in the CHORUS of the SAN FRANCISCO OPERA to move to NYC to be a soloist. Had I stayed in the SF Opera chorus this year, I would have earned a minimum of $52,000. So, why should I sing in a chorus in NYC for FREE?!?!? Aside from the fact that I would have to take time off of work (i.e. lose money, too) in order to do it.

So, what's the point of the contract if there is no benefit for me?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I got a singing gig.... but... where's my contract?

Is it just me, or is life moving in slow motion right now? And no matter what anyone does to fix it, it stays the same speed. I think the batteries in the remote control have died. Or the "resume normal speed" button is broken.

In any case, in June, I had an audition at a reputable opera company in the Upper East Side. It had all the fixings of an audition that would bring about a favorable outcome for me. What were they, you ask?

1. It was a call-back/ make-up audition for those who were too sick the first go-round. That was me. I was still recovering from pneumonia.

2. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being extremely self-confident, my level of self-confidence was at around 2.

3. While warming up at my house before leaving, I felt a tickle in my throat which quickly became a cough, which became a gag, which became the previous night's dinner in the kitchen sink.

4. My audition time was during morning time, i.e. before noon. That means, my voice was nowhere near 100% performance quality.

5. I sang a mediocre audition. The lyricism was good, but there was nothing really extraordinary about my singing... unless you count the warbling B-flat at the end of the aria.

So on my home, I was thinking about what a crappy day it had been. Little did I know, the events of my crappy audition day would yield a recipe for success.

A week later, I received an e-mail from this company wanting to know if I would still be interested in becoming a resident artist because this company wanted me to be one. I was so excited.

Fast forward three weeks. I get an e-mail saying asking for "us" to be patient as the panel was making its casting decisions. Once this is accomplished, contracts would be completed and mailed out... the next week. The next week came and went. No contract. At the end of the week, I get another e-mail stating that the contracts were written, but just needed the approval of the head man in charge. That was 2 weeks ago.

So my audition was about 7 weeks ago. I am STILL waiting on my friggin contract. And you know what, when performance time comes around, won't they be wondering why it's taking so long for everyone to learn and memorize their music. BECAUSE WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LEARN AND MEMORIZE!!!!

The slow-motion thing is a vicious cycle. People... please do your part to speed things along to a reasonable pace.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Knowing Someone

So, I haven't updated in a while because I got a job working at Joe's Pub. But not until after I pounded the pavement with my blood, sweat, and tears. After searching for a month, I discovered that all I had to do was one thing. I had to know someone who knows someone who knows someone. By the time I figured that out, I had my job. No resume. No interview. No drug test. I just had to know someone.

For more info on Joe's Pub, go to

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Plagiarism a la Coco

Coco left school, lovingly dubbed “poetry camp” Monday afternoon. "This residency had very curious undertones to it," which she thinks a few of them attributed to the full moon. "Poets are an interesting bunch of people," says Coco. One evening, as they danced in the school pub, she grinned, considering that at any given moment, one of them might break away to go write down a poem that had begun drafting itself internally on the dance floor. This semester looms ahead with some exciting poets in her future to read and with which to acquaint herself.

And now Coco is in New York. Which kind of feels like the time she was in Bangkok for a 20 hour layover between leaving Delhi and heading back to Marin. This isn’t her home and she's out of sorts a bit, but relishing in finding her way around NY. Coco and I ventured out to Yonkers today for a cook-in (weather not permitting outdoors) at her high school friend’s condo. For the next few hours, we drank and ate and laughed and played playstation and searched for more of her high school classmates on myspace. Her friend's window overlooks the Hudson river, colored grey today. Cheryl’s friend John had celebrated his 34th bday Monday, so we sang happy birthday and Coco fumbled pretty much all afternoon trying to get at least one side of a Rubik’s Cube colorfully intact. We ended up running to catch the train with six minutes on the books before it was to arrive: imagine five somewhat sloshed people running to the elevator, running up stairs and then running down them- Coco giggled the entire way. What a great independence day!

Wherefore art thou...?