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The Professional Eccentric

I’ve created this blog to document the plethora of projects and adventures I find for myself. Through my music, I have found amazing people, been to wonderful places, seen astounding things, and created a great many wondrous projects. From singing to the full moon on an ancient roman aqueduct drunk on bathtub wine in Italy, to Wicked Faire and Steampunk World’s Faire, to attending NYU for my Masters in Opera performance, to performing as a Siren, to creating a musical career for a stuffed squirrel, I have a lot of wild things happening in my life. Visit my website for my Bio and more on my Operatic career! www.katiekatopera.com
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Summer of opera begins!

Today I venture into Brooklyn for a long day of opera. A lesson at 5:30, rehersal at 7 with composer Matt Frey for our set with American Opera Projects at Make Music NYC on June 21st. THEN I have an audition for One World Symphony Orchestra to sing my Rusalka with them. My audition is scheduled for 9pm! Then I travel home to NJ. Very long day. I’m begining to simply sit back and enjoy the amazing opportunities coming my way. Of course, I still have a drive to push the envelope, and I definately intend to do so! By the end of this summer I plan to have two digital music shows, one as truely legit as possible, and the other- will finally develope this long continuing project of aria remixes for a new generation of media consumers. Seems like the way to go right? There’s alot of debate about weather Opera is inherently an acoustic art form, or if it can with-stand our technology fascination. I think Death and The Powers proved that opera is adapting to technology, but it has yet to premier in NYC. What is up with that?
The only way for me to truely end the debate for myself is to do it, and let the finished project inform the next step. Hopefully its not awful, but I intend to keep trying.
So here I go. The Summer of Opera has begun. As I ramble, I realize how much thought and ground-work I have yet to develop, and how uncertain my artistic future still is. Questions of financial stability still left unanswered. Do I teach full time? Or continue to push every moment to perform for my next paycheck? Do I stay in the US? Or move to London? Or go to take part in the Opera-hemian movement in Australia? And how do I get there? What will I have to leave behind? How much further will I go? Looking back from whence I came, I can only see a life of performing, pushing, bohemian artistry, and faith inspired by the vastness of the world and its creative minds. Even after nearly bleeding to death in 2004, I got back up as soon as I could and started singing again. I got out of bed after being bed bound for 3 months and went to Italy. I don’t see myself stoping anytime soon. COME ON SUMMER! BRING IT ON!

Thoughts on Opera.

HERE is what I took away from Opera Workshop (Op Shop) with Prof. Michael Rau this semester at NYU.

First, i think Declan Donnellan thinks too much. Dont want to ever again be subjected to his book: but I might want to hang out with him and actually experience his art. At least he thinks about it.

Don’t need to write 100 pages on the fact that opera is an interpretive art form.

Within its conception opera is a progressive art form. Searching to present drama in a more dynamic and interesting way.  The original conception of the art form was adding music to text in order to illuminate the text’s emotional life. The audience could then could then feel the music, interpret the emotions in the text, and relate the experience in a visceral way.

I would love to see a music therapist write an opera. With the understanding they have of the psychological power of music- they would leave their audience with a powerful emotional experience.

No wonder the Florentine Camerata related their opera music to the Greek modes! The Greeks believed elements of music such as harmony, rhythm, dissonance; were the same elements which controlled the universe. A man who controlled music could control the universe.

This human reaction to the effects of drama and music is what drives the creation of this art form. Even when dealing with mythological setting and magical elements, it is the human relationship to those elements which drive the creation of these pieces of art.

It is up to the director how to represent the unfolding of events. The composer has given his interpretation of the emotion involved. The Music illuminates the text. Text is the dialogue of the story.

The problem with a lot of opera is that is becomes too representational. To a point when it becomes inaccessible to the audience.

Someone thought something was so important to spend hundreds maybe thousands of hours to present the emotions in a particular situation in concise concept. It is therefore important to spend the time to develop a clear interpretation when preparing a performance while respecting the integrity of the concrete work.

It’s also important for a reviewer to have at very least some education of the artform, or else, how do you have any referance to even understand what it is good or bad about it!?

Opera seeks to interpret those aspects of life which cannot find accurate form or expression. It seeks to expound upon what small vocabulary we have to communicate emotion, feeling, situation and story. In this respect, Opera is ever changing. The attempt to interpret these indefinable aspects of story, and present them for audience interpretation- leads to an indefinite chain of identities for a particular work.

“Mise en sene” is how the production is put together.

In dramaturgical sociology it is argued that human actions are dependent upon time, place, and audience.

Opera is reflective of social history and present moment. How is the art form reflecting the world?

Opera  Formula

(text= libretto.) + (Music =score)

Opera Performance Formula

(text=dialogue=lyrics) + (music= emotional life= unspoken)

It is important for a performer to have an informed and intelligent opinion- To be able to advocate for the art form. Art in general is not frivolous. It is an integral part of life. It teaches us about ourselves in its interpretation; if you care to look.

My final presentation

excuse the bad camera and sound quality. (We’re all too used to the magick of TV.)

Siren song. Opera adventures.

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Doing Midsummer Magick Faire in Southern CT was something I was looking forward too. It’s always a great adventure working with such performers as Daniel Greenwolf and Wick! I camped the first weekend with a good friend. It was so nice to be in the wilderness. Not so nice on the voice though. The Weather was just overly hot. It was upwards of 95 degrees!

 It started out as a joke I made. I should know better than to make such jokes around creative people.

ALL I said was “It’s too hot. I should just be a Siren so I can sit in the river all day and sing.”

I knew I was in trouble as I watched their faces. They pictured the image, their eyes went wide, and with child like wonder they said “YEAH!”


With a reaction like that, I had to do it. I love to do everything I can to support people having that child-like wonder reaction as often as possible.  

I had one week to do it. But I had work, and teaching, and recording, and studying to do. It all boiled down to Tuesday morning to do the shopping, and Thursday to construct. Not a lot of time. I wanted this to be as good as it could be. I couldn’t present something that looked rushed! Something like this looking half done is like a magician giving away a secret. It just kills the wonder for the audience.

So I got my supplies that Tuesday. I spent way too much money. With expenses like a new apartment and school and bills, making a Siren costume should have been on the bottom of the priority list. Fortunately, or unfortunately, not for me.

Fabric, Seashells, netting, wire, invisible thread, paint, pearls, bits and baubles from other costumes……

And I am proud of what came from working from 8am Thursday to 3am Friday morning before I left for CT.

What did we learn from this? Katie Kat doesn’t Ditch on Dares =)