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Austin, TX
I'm not a character mezzo ... I'm a mezzo with character!
Interests: opera, classical music, writing, theater, cooking, health, hiking, travel, outdoors, wine, dogs, organics, locally grown food
Recent Activity
Much has been made in the professional music community of the question of who will and will not perform at the Inauguration. Rumors are swirling amid much speculation. We know that Sir Elton John, touted as a headliner early on by the rumor mill, has categorically denied involvement, and while... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
And in despair I bowed my head; "There is no peace on earth," I said; For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
If you have the chutzpah to ask an artist to work for exposure (see also: "free"; "experience"; "no pay but we'll feed you a dry chicken breast and some green beans out of a can that have been sprinkled with almonds to make them look fancy"), be prepared to be... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
Stages and rehearsals are dangerous places. Even when all the proper safety precautions are in place, even when you've had appropriate fight training and have been professionally instructed in how to handle a sword or gun or how to strike a colleague without hurting them, even when everyone is well-intentioned... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
The opera world has a (not entirely undeserved) reputation for being rough. It's a difficult, mean business and we readily eat the unprepared, the thin-skinned, and the naive. We have our share of power-mad authority figures, charlatans, sadists, and jerks. And yet, those people are outnumbered by a population of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
One of the hardest things to deal with in the artist's lifestyle is the inconsistency we must live with. Budgeting? Not so easy when you don't know exactly how much money you have coming in, month to month. Longterm plans? Well, go ahead and sign up for that expensive pottery... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
Back in the spring, I had the privilege of hearing many, many young singers who came to share their gifts with me in the hopes of being invited to participate in Spotlight on Opera, the professional development program I founded and run. As I talked and listened to them, I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
You know what I'm really, really tired of? I'm tired of young singers who are working hard, trying to to their best, with an inferior toolkit that they paid an enormous amount of money to receive. I'm tired of young singers not being taught and encouraged and supported to have... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
Not Paying - I don't think people do view pay-to-sings as "companies" in the same way they do other producing organizations. However, the singers who run these programs are certainly producers. In the case of Spotlight, we're a bit of a hybrid --- we have a summer training program which is most definitely a pay-to-sing, but at other times of the year we produce a variety of concerts (often semi-staged) using both professional and developing artists, and are working towards being able to pay singers for these consistently. Fachless Wonder - if you have an ax to grind, perhaps the classy thing to do would be to contact Ms. Wright directly with your complaints, rather than leave anonymous, unsubstantiated rumors on blog posts. Or if you prefer to hash it out publicly, have the courage of your convictions, use your real name, and substantiate your claims.
"Vanity company" is a derogatory term used to identify opera companies, usually relatively small, which are founded and run by a singer who also performs with the company, often in leading roles. The implication is that the singer in question cannot get work anywhere else, and therefore must create his... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
People say the dumbest things to opera singers. “Don’t you just LOVE Josh Groban/Andrea Bocelli/the latest six-year-old cherub being exploited on national tv?” “Why don’t you go on America’s Got Talent?” “Do you sing at the Met? Oh. Well, keep trying.” People ask the dumbest things of opera singers. “Oh... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
***Language alert: if you're offended by strong language, you might want to avoid this post. *** 2015 had many joys and challenges. What year doesn’t? For me, the joys included my singing work, which included two company debuts and a role debut, many new friends made and reconnections with old... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2016 at Mezzo with Character
Recently, a colleague of mine suffered a very personal blow --- the kind of blow that all too often, artists receive from those who should be among their greatest supporters. A beloved family member told this working artist that they were a failure because not enough of their work came... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
When I was three years old, my grandparents bought some land in southeast Travis County. At the time, it was way out back of beyond, a few miles southwest of what was then Bergstrom AirForce Base and is now Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. It was about 100 acres of Texas blackland... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
I personally have been asked for fees by Knoxville and Wichita Grand, and a number of AGMA soloists who sing at both regional and A house levels have given me other names for the list. Although I have no reason to doubt their veracity, I am not publishing this list until I've had a chance to research it myself. I reject your characterization of this post as whining. Just because fees didn't happen to you doesn't mean they don't happen, and the material has been presented in a fair manner and tone. The mere expression of an opinion you disagree with does not constitute whining.
Hi BN, I have quite a list of regional companies --- not all small --- based on the reports of various singers. You might be surprised at some of the names on it. However, these names have not yet been independently verified and I wouldn't feel comfortable publishing them until they are. Cindy
Just in time for audition season, the controversy over audition fees reasserts itself. This time around, the fuss is over agencies and opera companies charging mainstage, established artists for the privilege of being heard. A few weeks ago, the boards were buzzing with news of several artists' managements --- including... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
It's tough to market opera these days. Maybe it's always been, but with social media making it so easy for something innocently meant (or poorly thought out) to incite a brouhaha, it's even harder. Opera is always fighting an image problem. To wit: Opera is for rich people, the tickets... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
Recently, a young acquaintance --- who has repeatedly asked me for advice --- read a response I'd written to a thread about management, and proceeded to complain to me about a lack of free resources for young singers and (as she perceived it) a lack of quality in the available... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
One of the biggest complaints singers have is about how predatory the business is. Education literally costs a small fortune and when you graduate, you are not assured of being marketable as a singer, In fact, if you were unlucky enough to have a poor teacher who trained you in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
It's the day after my four-week long opera program has ended, with a triumphant production of The Magic Flute and a giant season strike which involves clearing every dirty costume, prop, set piece, and bit of equipment we have used for four weeks of classes, concerts, scenes programs, and three... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
Let's get one thing straight: I don't give a rat's ass about that family of women whose clever mother somehow monetized their shallowness, complete lack of talent, and general worthlessness. I had marginal respect for Bruce Jenner, who at least achieved something worthwhile in his life; and when he decided... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
For quite a long time, my non-singing work was sort of an open secret. When I started writing for Classical Singer Magazine, I used a pen name; and even after I started writing under my own name, I never mentioned to colleagues or admins at singing engagements; nor did I... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
Your "opening gambit" was to call me a pretentious cunt, Connor. However, since you appear to be trying to be civil, I'll be true to my word and respond to your criticisms. I disagree that my article is pretentious. It would be pretentious if I didn't know what I was talking about. My credentials in this field are solid, unlike the writers of the Wiki-How article, who demonstrated via their article that they do NOT have a good grip on either vocal technique or the business, and yet are setting themselves up as experts. They are also terrible writers, a criticism I made in the article and stand by. By presenting themselves as experts and writing such a terrible piece full of misinformation, incomplete information, and downright bad advice, they invited ridicule. So I reject your assertion that my article is pretentious. It is, however, snarky, in a way which is intended to be humorous. Admittedly, humor is subjective,and there are many people who don't enjoy that type of humor --- which is fine. There's plenty of free reading material out there and if you don't like someone's style, the smart thing to do is not read them anymore and go find someone you do like. I further reject your assertion that the WikiHow article is constructive. It may have been *intended* as a constructive article, but because it contains so much bad, wrong advice, wrong terminology, and incomplete information, it is actually destructive. Rather than helping someone who wants to learn how to sing or hopes to pursue a career as an opera singer, it repeatedly sends them down the wrong path. For someone who is sincere about learning to sing, bad vocal and business advice can be extremely damaging and expensive, and take many years and dollars to repair --- if it can be repaired at all. The Wikihow piece is a terrible article that real voice teachers and opera professionals ridicule, and rightly so. Regarding my "air of superiority", that's subjective --- you don't like the tone of my article or the fact that I do assert my expertise in the field, so you see it as being superior. I guess I'll have to agree with you in the sense that, in regards to my knowledge of the subject matter, I am superior to the writers of the WikiHow article. I don't apologize for this. Regarding your assertion that my article is "drivel", again I refer to my extensive credentials in this field and remind you that in a logical argument, assertions must be supported by evidence, or else they are worthless as points of debate. I did this in my article --- I gave solid reasons for every criticism I offered. When there was good advice, I acknowledged it (this was not, however, as you mistakenly assumed, an attempt to be impartial. I simply called it as I saw it). In this case, while you're certainly entitled to your personal opinion, you have yourself offered no evidence of any knowledge, let alone expertise, in the field, so I can't really give your opinion any weight.
More constructive suggestions for you, Connor: while you're looking up "constructive criticism", also look up "justification". I haven't justified anything. One set of bad behaviors -- such as your use of sexist and obscene names --- does not justify another. Look, it's clear that you're really taking my article personally. I don't know why that is, but I don't mind criticism, I stand by what I wrote, and I'm glad to have a civil discussion. If you have genuine questions about why I wrote what I did and you can manage to be polite and logical, I'll be happy to engage further with you. But if all you're here for is to spout outrage and call names, this conversation is over.