Warning: This post goes a bit deeper into the operatically inclined side of my life. There will be wine at the end, I promise.
I started writing a post musing over my less-excessive drinking habits during Lent.
Then I went to New York for “just another” opera competition. And had all my cash stolen.*
*Let me say now, in advance, that I no longer hold any bitterness towards this person. Hopefully he/she needed the money in a bad way. I don’t really subscribe to karma, and wish him/her no ill will. It’s just money. I have an apartment and a car and stupid cats and a sweet Darth Vader mug so I am #blessed. This doesn’t mean, however, that I won’t tell the tale as sarcastically as possible in order to get a laugh and make myself feel better. Just know the anger is gone along with my weekly
wine grocery budget.
At fair Nola Studios we lay our scene. Those of you who aren’t in the performing arts may ask, “What is this fairytale place?” Friends…it is the taint of the theater world. The scathing underbelly of our artistic fantasies where dreams go to die, aka studio space for rent. The place runs like it’s 1967; no online booking or credit cards. Phone reservations and cash only. It’s tiny and you sweat constantly. The bathrooms are a joke, requiring you to straddle the commode in order to change clothes. I dropped my sock in the toilet-the start of a glorious day.
Musical theatre productions, opera companies, and casting agencies join at this crossroads of rehearsal space for a cutthroat spectacle. Auditions are not where you meet your best friend or have #realtalk. I try to avoid most conversation as most audition speak with classical singers includes “So, what aria are you starting with?” or “Where’d you go to grad school?” or “Oh, yeah, this is my 19th audition this season.” I hate it almost as much as Facebook posts tagged with “#thrilledtoannounce” followed by some announcement about a competition or contract. I’m like, oh, hey, that’s great, excuse me while I rip out the skeleton of my three ring binder and use the cheap metal to gouge out my eyes and slit my wrists in a pool of my own anxious tears and student debt. I’m a very supportive colleague, but we all know you’re being extra. But I digress.
I’ve never had a problem at any audition over the last ten years. Usually, even in a big city, an unspoken respect exists amongst artists in which no one messes with your stuff. The majority of us are poor, living paycheck to paycheck, trying to preserve our passions in an unsupportive economy. Not to mention dealing with an Everest of student loans. Bottomline: We’re all struggling to shell out audition fees and pay for voice lessons.
As it was a Saturday, Nola Studios’ facilities brimmed with at least 4 different companies holding auditions. All of us peasants shared the same hallway, waiting for the firing squad. As my time approached, I stood by the door to await my fate inside. I could see my belongings, covered by my coat. I suddenly had the thought (now I’m calling it a premonition; hindsight is 20/20 or I’m a prophet) that I should move my purse closer to the audition room. I decided against it. I thought I might offend the others waiting with me, somehow accusing them of mischievous thoughts of thievery. My mind quickly wandered to how the geriatric audition panel probably wouldn’t like my second piece since they tend to hate Wagner. I went in and endured one of the worst auditions I’ve had in awhile; I had a bad feeling the whole time. They didn’t like me, questioning my resume and aria choices…and yep, they didn’t like the Wagner. I couldn’t summon my usual visceral connection to the music and text, and I walked out generally displeased.
I discovered my purse rifled through and $80 gone. You know, just a slow week night’s worth of wages at the wine bar. I asked around, no one saw anything of course, so I decided to blame a creepy dude wearing a tiny hat there for some musical audition in the next studio who was gone by the time I emerged from my crucible. I hate tiny hats..like that hat isn’t doing anything to shield you from the elements haven’t you ever seen Bear Grylls?????
I took to the streets in search of wine. Roaming around midtown yielded no return. I fantasized about running into the supposed robber and asking if I could just have half the money back so I could buy a couple bottles without breaking out my credit card.
Side note: I enjoy calling him a “robber” just to give the story a little biblical weight. My husband says “robberies” technically require the brandishing of a deadly weapon, but I would argue this tiny hatted thespian’s disdain for morality counts as such.
I finally ended up in Brooklyn, and found a lovely store called Tipsy. The girl working turned out to be a former opera singer, so I ranted my whole story while she let me sample some rosé. Plus, they stocked my favorite domestic sparkler, Gruet. The Blanc de Blancs this time, one I haven’t actually mentioned here before. *I KNOW YOU ARE SHOCKED* 100% Chardonnay and made in the Méthode Champenoise (or Champagne tradition), this wine truly refreshes with sweet aromas of biscuits, baked pear, pineapple, and tropical fruit. The finish is beautifully acidic and mouthwatering; the sandy terroir of New Mexico shining through with brilliant minerality. Poetry to my tired, disenfranchised soul. $17=I could still afford that despite my new financial status. I nearly tore into it on the elevator up to my friend’s apartment…because rage.
I also bought a delicious Fingerlakes Riesling from Sheldrake Point Vineyards, the 2013 vintage. My OCD started letting go of the day’s events, focusing now on wine goalzzzz.
If you haven’t tried it, I suggest picking some up next time you’re eating curry. There’s a candied lemon peel, dried apricot, and floral nose with fantastic tang on the palate.
I love Riesling with a bit higher alcohol content, above 10%, as it makes for a drier, more acidic experience. Plus I gave up “sweet things” for Lent…like anything that tastes sweet, including fruit and dessert wine. Yes, it is hard. Yes, I cheated just a tiny bit after the Gruet when my friend offered me a gluten free cookie. I’M SORRY. I prayed about it.
A spicy margarita also happened. It was divine. I promise I’ll get back into movie lists soon. I’ve been trying to be, like, more relatable by opening a window into my wine soaked life.