Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Hungary

Not to be confused with hungry, as in, I'm hungry, but as in, I am back from Hungary and with many a tale...or at least one of Jet lag. (Boy is that a lot of commas and run-on-ness there?)

Szeged Hungary to be exact. A lovely town 2 hours outside of Budapest, full of gorgeous architecture, healing baths, mineral springs, paprika and a salami museum (who knew?). My opera colleagues and I embarked on this adventure Nov. 12th (a Wednesday) and traveled from NYC to Paris (6 hour flight there with a 4 hour lay over in Paris) then from Paris to Budapest (2 hour flight) and then a 2 hour bus ride to Szeged where we would be competing in the Mezzo Television Opera Festival and Competition. I believe all in all we arrived in Szeged officially on Thursday (and pretty much collapsed, ate and then collapsed again until we had to be up the next day for rehearsal).

Friday consisted of Breakfast followed by 12 hours of rehearsals to prepare us for our Live Television Performance for the next day (Saturday)...It was quite exhilarating AND successful as the audience response was more than positive with many ovations by the end. Following our live performance on Saturday, we attended a reception where our production and staff were greeted with champagne and smiling faces. On Sunday we reprised our performance to another sold-out audience and said good by to our much loved opera, Emmeline (which we have been involved with since this last August). Monday was our "day off" with time to wander about Szeged, a few brave souls took a train to Budapest and back in time for the Awards Ceremony and Gala that night at the opera house. Our leading Soprano and Tenor both won top awards and we were so thrilled to walk away with such honors.

I did get away a few times through out the week to experience beautiful Szeged...eating hot cherry soup, veal stew with egg dumplings, pork steak with mushroom rice, artichokes & olives, and many other wonderful meals that included lamb and veal. Generally the veggies with our meals consisted of being battered and deep fried and/or served with a cheese sauce...not necessarily the healthiest of eats, but tasty :) Oh and the Paprika...Szeged is known for their paprika and everything was served with it, including my morning eggs (delish!) Another interesting fact is that Szeged is apparently also know for their salami and that experience can be fully realized by visiting the Salami Museum (which I missed on this trip).

We finally left Tuesday morning from Szeged, full of Goulash and hungover from our celebrations of the week. Thus we embarked...1st with our 2 hour bus trip to Budapest, then a 2 hour flight from Budapest to Paris...then ANOTHER 4 hour lay over in Paris (in which we got in some fun shopping) until our 7 hour flight from Paris to NYC (the extra hour is because we were flying against the jet stream)...and finally arriving home Wednesday night at JFK and back to our loved ones. The Maestro in fact met me at the airport and took me home, cuddling all the way *sigh* such a great guy :D

I'll post more pics as the come, but until then, here's the share:

Lay-Over in Paris Airport (I think we're loosing it)


Me and my girl Dina having our first Hungarian Coffee (Irish coffee for me actually as she sipped espresso.)

Behind cool seats that were made of our leads for the opera festival


me and some of the girls at our Opening Night Reception.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sicky McSickster

That's right, it's official I'm sick. The clear mucus is now a lovely shade of green-yellow and I can't hardly hear due to the stuffiness of my ears...Thus meaning, no working-out...I've been ordered by personal trainer Jake to take it easy and not make myself sicker. So I'm going to suck it up and take his advice. Oh, and I got the other Bex sick she is now on her way home from work with fever and stuffy nose to find some much needed Tylenol and rest. Sorry Bex...I didn't mean to give you my germs :(

On the singing front: I leave for Hungary in 8 days (less, since this day is almost gone). I'm excited and hoping to be healthy and kicking by the time I have to board the plane to wish me luck, and here's to taking it easy.



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Swamp Thing

I'm a snarling, mucus covered thing from the swamps of Louisiana...I am Swamp Thing...or at least that's how I feel with the way my nose keeps running...ugh! I hate being sick...I mean who actually enjoys it? I just want to go home and sleep until it all passes.

I did work-out yesterday, even with the constant drip, drip, dripping of my breathing wasn't so bad. In fact I actually felt better for a while after my work-out, but then by the time I got home and was laying on the couch, I collapsed by 8pm. At 8:30pm I forced myself to wake-up and stay awake until 10pm so that I wouldn't mess up my sleep I wish I had put myself to bed at 8. I have a feeling I could have used the sleep.

Today I feel worse, so my cold is progressing and hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow. I really just want to go home early and rest, I'm having serious problems just keeping my head up at my desk. Unfortunately, leaving early is not much of an option with me being the only assistant in this area today (and yesterday). I'm also supposed to do cardio today...I don't know how I'm going to get through that...I'll just have to gage myself and keep my heart rate up as much as possible. *whine, grumble, whine*

I cancelled my vocal coaching yesterday, and I may have to cancel my lesson for tomorrow, but I hate to do that, what if I'm better and would benefit from it? Cancelling lessons is always a tricky call. You want to show your dedication to the craft, and to your teacher, but you also don't want to get your teacher, you have to learn to sing through illness, because as much as you'd like to think you'll always be in perfect health, you're not, and you have to learn to sing through it...and by you, I mean me :) I'll discuss with the Maestro and ask his opinion since he plays for my teacher and my lessons...he always gives pretty sound advice.

I still haven't finished re-reading Jillian's "Making the Cut" but I'm almost there. I just wonder if it's worth starting a 30 day program with me leaving for Hungary in 9 days. I don't know if I could maintain such a structured program in a different country with cuisines that I can't even pronounce. That's something I'm really going to have to look into and discuss with my program partner Bex.

As you can tell I'm not in the most decisive frame of mind today. Everything's so blurry, sneezy and runny that I can't hardly think, much less make a decision...this weird sickness fog has go to pass...I really do feel lousy.

Other than my whining, I don't have much to say in the way of motivation or inspiration...but have a good day anyways :)


Monday, November 2, 2009

Making The Cut

I know...I've been very neglectful this last week...sorry :(

Currently I'm battling a nasty little cold that's going to cause my nose to either run itself to ruin or blow itself to oblivion *waah!* Other than the cold that I'm wrestling with, all else is going pretty well healthwise. Bex and I have completed week 4 of our exercise and nutrition program and are now embarking on week 5. This week I'm am reassessing our diets and work-outs. As soon as my assessment is done, I will probably change things up to get our motors running at full throttle.
I'm re-reading Jillian Michaels "Making the Cut" and seeing if this is going to be the new direction we will embark on in our fitness plan. I read it once before and was very intimidated by it, but this time around, I think I can tackle it head on...even if I don't know what half the exercises mentioned in the book No but seriously, the book is pretty good at instructing you what each exercise is and how to do it, and Jill gives you a detailed program to follow which takes most of the guess work out of the equation. I feel like this may be the boost we need to get our muscles screaming and our bodies toning. We've both had success so far on our current regiment with a 9-10 lb. loss for each of us, but now it's time to crank it up a notch and take it even further. Bex and I both have really fab fitness goals that we want to achieve, and perhaps Jillian can help get us there... For the first time in my life, I feel really empowered (even in my sick-y, cold-y, state of mind), so empowered by what Bex and I have achieved in these past four weeks that I feel like we can accomplish anything. I know we can do this hardcore program of JM's and really kick some @$$!!!...yeah, even WITH a cold! The rule for working out while sick is neck up is fine, neck down, stay I'm fine to hit the gym unless the cold travels south. Also when sick, make sure to drink tons o' water and get lots of good sleep (which is a no brainer, but it's me with my insane schedule, which isn't so crazy this week...Thank God.)
On the singing front, I leave for Hungary in 10 days and will return on the 18th. Hopefully I can get my butt extra healthy so that I survive the jet lag and all the germs that come with planes and traveling. Eating healthy over there is going to be a little bit tricky, but I'll try to figure out how to salvage that when I'm there and see the options. For exercise, I'll probably not have access to a gym, but I think I can pack some hand weights, grab my portable DVD player and bring along my Jillian Michaels' dvd's in order to have my butt kicked while on my working vacation...oh yeah, that reminds me that I need to buy an adapter for all my plug-in thingies for over there.
Originally, "Boheme" rehearsals were to begin this month with Opera Manhattan, but instead our show has been switch with "Hansel & Gretel", so now they're in December and we're in April. No just gives me more time to recover from my cold and more time to solidify my role as Musetta. Plus H&G is such a lovely opera to do for the Christmas Holidays, even if it is a bit scary...that's right, it can be a terrifying story if done right :)
Ok, so now I'm off to doing some day job work...and a little H&G production stuff. Have a great day, and get your flu shot!