Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hello! Well this is it... my last entry about Graz. It was a wonderful experience and most importantly, I met a lot of wonderful people! It was so great to be in a place where those around me loved music just as much as me.... and not just the musicians. The citizens of Graz are huge opera fans, so it made the experience even more enjoyable!

Unfortunately, with the new airline security guidelines, we weren't allowed to take our camera's through security. I really wanted to get a picture of Graz from the airport, because the airport has a great view of the town since it sits just outside the city. Ah well... I'll have to keep that view in my long-term memory.

Auf wiedersehen!! PS - Keep your eyes open for my website... coming soon!!

This is the Hall in which the Meistersinger competition was held. A very cool hall.... it's designed like an airline hanger. You can remove the seats and use it, like they do in Graz, for testing car engines. Pretty cool stuff! We met the owner of the building and his wife after the concert. Very nice people and very much in the money. They design buildings like this all over Europe. Here's the orchestra before the concert began. We got our own little 4th of July after the fact... they played "Stars and Stripes Forever" at the end of the concert. It was soo nice to hear! Made me miss home even more.

This is a pic of the 10 finalists for the Meistersinger competition. A pretty tough competition. Very good singers... the results were a little surprising, but aren't they always? My three friends, Stanley, Laura and Dominick were all in the finals!

This is a pic with my voice teacher while in Graz - Donna Zapola-Connolly. She lives in Jersey and is a wonderful, wonderful teacher! I plan to continue studies with her and have lessons when I can get up to the NY area. She helped me to get rid of a lot of my tongue and jaw tension... a God-send! She has also introduced me to some great people - conductors, directors, etc. She is a wonderful woman and great singer! This pic was taken in the lobby of the hall where the Meistersinger competition was held.

Looking up the road from the Jakominiplaz.... this is just down from the Hauptplaz where all the shopping is. You can see in this pic - H & M on the left hand side. They also had all kinds of discount stores and stores that carried Italian leather shoes, etc. Lots of fun.

Here is a pic of some of my closest friends from Graz - from left to right, Curtis from Maryland, Lisa from Australia, Icy from Nebraska, Stanley from DC, Laura from Kansas, myself and Dominick from Nevada. Zehr Good times!!! Til we meet again friends!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Here are the pics I promised from last week's experiences. I'm finally getting over the flu, I think and starting to get my energy back. The weather has turned very cool and rainy. We were hot and muggy up until a couple of days ago, when it seemed like the seasons changed. It was about 90 degrees during the day, and it has dropped to a cool 65 degrees during the day. I miss the warmth, but the change has been nice.

Here is the Brandhof.. the building where we had rehearsals with the orchestra to prepare for the concert. To sing at an orchestra concert is a big opportunity here at AIMS. If you are chosen to sing on the concert, you are considered one of the top singers in the program. I was honored to have been chosen. Unfortunately, I came down with the flu the day before the concert and woke up the morning of the concert with practically no voice. Unfortunately, I had to drop out of the concert at the last minute. A very difficult thing for me to do.

These two pics are of me rehearsing with the orchestra at the Brandhof. Maestro Eduardo Muller, an incredible musician and very kind man, was wonderful to work with. I was in good voice this day - 2 days before the concert. The concertmaster who's head you see just at my left shoulder is from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He is the Asst. Concertmaster there. Another wonderful musician and violinist. He has been a great leader for this very talented orchestra.

Dress rehearsal inside the Stefaniensaal.... not very successful, as I did not have more than an octave. ;-( It was here I determined that I may not be singing that night.

Here I am just outside the performance hall - The Stefaniansaal - the morning of the big orchestra concert. I look excited, but wasn't too excited because I wasn't feeling so good... I thought it was just allergies in my voice, but I wasn't so lucky.

Hello from Graz! This is me sitting at the bus stop waiting for it to pick us up and take us to the Jakominiplatz where we were going for dinner. This was last week before I caught the nasty flu bug!