The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Des Moines Thus Far

Well, it's been nearly three weeks since I pulled into the parking lot of Simpson College to begin another summer at Des Moines Metro Opera, and let me tell you that it's been a jam and a half. 

My Music Life

It's great to be under observation again, definitely in regards to musical proficiency, style, rythym and text, I definitely feel like I'm singing better than ever, but it does require you to check your ego at the door, because otherwise you're gonna just walk around butt hurt all day. My ego took a couple of hits, no doubt, and every once in a while I'll let it swell too much and let it get in front of the big picture, which is not my job or my place, so I take my knocks and get back in line. And the product is always better for it. 

Me singing Tonio in a scene from I pagliacci

The coaching and directing staff here, they are truly incredible. I love my scenes. I particularly have a fancy for my Crucible and Gl├╝ck scenes, I think they are gonna be bad-ass. I had my reservations about my pagliacci scene and the direction, then that director was asked to leave (for reasons I do not know of, nor will I speculate), so they moved the scene to a later date and replaced the director. Now it's incredible, well staged and motivated, and I feel like I'll perform it well. Fingers crossed.

My colleagues

New (and old...lookin at you, Wesley) friends at the local watering hole.

Overall this group is just incredible. Incredible singing, acting, and presentation. I'm not gonna single out people because I feel that would be unfair, but just know that there are people here who are redefining my concepts of what it means to be talented in this field and the demands necessary of your gift to be ultra successful. 

Dead Man Walking

Because I have a role in Dead Man Walking, that's where the majority of my time and energy is being poured into. This show is incredible. Powerful, dramatic, intense, and frankly, emotionally draining...if you let it. But, the principles in this production are professionals who know how to bring the heat when the time calls for it and to alleviate the pressure of the drama when it becomes necessary, which is frequent. We've had pups visit the rehearsal room.

This show wrecks us, you gotta take your jokes when you can.

Because of the cast involved and the intimacy of this space at Des Moines, this is going to be a rare and special performance of this piece. Mark my words. I shit you not. I've been watching the whole thing unfold in front of my eyes and I'm looking forward to giving this to a paying public.

David Adam Moore and I are bros. I take away his boom box frequently.

My Training and Fitness

Because of all the additional walking required by living on a Campus and all of the standing and physicality required of these shows, I lost quite a bit of weight right off the back. My first few days here I dropped to 188, and dipped to 176 at one point, now I'm cruising around 185-7. 

This is fine and all, and I'm enjoying the image in the mirror, but this kind of game can reek havoc on your SWOLE game if you let it. Which I did. After progressing my back squat quite well over the past month, I hurt my lower back again. So, I've removed back squats for the time being and have fallen back in love with mr. Front squat. I'm still doing deads because they don't aggravate my back as much, but I've lightened the weight and I'm doing deficit deads with higher volume instead. 

My other struggle is that because of the intensity and length of my training sessions, I only have time in the mornings to get them in, which requires me to get up early, at least 2 hours earlier than my first call. Which brings me to my next point...

My Schedule

Dat schedule doe...

This past few weeks, it's rare when I don't have a 12 hour work day with a couple of hour breaks. It is grueling. There is no way around it, 3 main stage shows, 5 scenes, and lots of meetings to fill a day with. It's hard not to feel like you're being run into the ground, but this is the reality of this kind of performance program. And yes, sometimes it sucks, I literally just got finished with a nearly 7 hour tech rehearsal. But, I know there are dozens of baritones that would gladly do all that I'm doing with gusto and probably do it for free. I'm grateful I'm getting these opportunities and a paycheck and a place to live on top of it. 

My Food Life

My food life kind of sucks, I ain't gonna lie to you. It's not as fun to make your own food all the time when you don't have a full kitchen and ample amounts of time to prepare it. Uncle Ben's minute rice has become my best bro, and I'm still plowing a container of strawberries and a jar of pickles everyday. Just to get in the volume to keep me happy during training days. I still eat ice cream, cookies and the such, but I'm having to rush to eat so much that I'm not really enjoying it like I would if I had some quality sit down time with me and YouTube like at home.

This makes me a little bitter sauce when I see people eating their snacks at night, because they are able to sit, eat and relax. I've actually thought about moving up my eating window (intermittent fasting much) just to join, but I think I need those calories when I'm eating them, because I get rageful around noon and small meals piss me off and I don't want to give up my intermittent fasting. I'm contemplating some solutions, but more than likely I'll just suck it up and live with my choices.

My Writing

Frankly, I've been surprised about how much phone time I've had in rehearsals. Which is primarily where I do most of my writing. It's basically just really long text conversations to myself...weird, right? But I sometimes have upwards of 20 minutes of good sit down time in between scenes, so I'll whip out my phone and text up a good long note. I've actually written quite a bit, including a four part metabolism series. However, there is only so much you can do on a phone, and I'm having trouble finding the time with my laptop to do all of the finishing work. (Attaching links, putting photos in the right size, triple checking facts and linking appropriate research, articles, and interesting nonsense.) And to add to the delay, I often times don't have phone service on the campus where I live and rehearse, so I can't really look up things on my phone for pictures and what not.

This is bugging me a bit, because writing is one of the few things that I love to do that isn't dictated by others, and the fact that I have to retreat into myself in order to fill this gap in my life is causing me to have to be slightly anti social every once in a while. Meh, fuck it. You gotta take yours when you can.

What my work station usually looks like.

Please don't get me wrong, Overall I am having an amazing time, I'm learning a lot, getting some great experiences and growing as an artist and meeting experts in my field. Right now the opera bro scale is dipping in the opera direction, but my bro side is strong and aggressive and it won't give ground. Cuz fuck that noise. 

Until next time ladies and gents, stay strong, push your boundaries, don't get too comfortable, live, learn, love, and as always...

Lift big, sing big, and look great doing it.

The Opera Bro

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