Monday, October 31, 2005


Here is something small that makes me cheery:
I still have a bunch of Euros in my travel wallet! (YAY!!)
I need to renew my European deodorant supply, (which I can't find anywhere else but in Europe), and other little European stuff I like to have at home; (like certain cotton pads,soaps, instant coffee, the little sweetener dispenser, gluewein for when it gets cold,honey cookies,and maybe,but only maby some drop-dead- gorgeous dark chocolate!)
Off I go again. (cab, airport lines, waiting, delays, magazines, sleepless flight,lines,baggage,cab,wasn't I JUST there???)

Friday, October 28, 2005

On my plate

I am flying to Vienna on Monday. only 9 days; short and sweet. these kind of jobs are well sought after by opera singers my kind; you go, you do your business, you get paid, you come back.not the months and months of being gone and having to start a whole new life in a foreign territory. just enough to feel artistic, express yourself, get popular,get cash, and return to your life at home.
the time right after that is going to be full and exciting in different ways; we are closing a deal on our first home (!), we are renovating it a little, we are packing all (oy!) our stuff ,and finally; we are moving .
(In the middle of al of this, I still have a couple of local concerts,(yes, I DO need to prepare for them...) and I have to,Iv' e GOTTA get rid of a few left over Japanese-cuisine pounds, this one's for real; gotta get skinny for my Covent garden that means daily gym visits, until I leave again).

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

At last

I finally got to sleep during the entire night. Iv' e been walking around the streets of New York like a little zombie,not really noticing anything, as I would fall asleep at midnight, wake up 3 hours later, and carry on through out the day, falling asleep whenever I hit a flat surface under my heavy head.
So last night I actually managed to remain in one spot on the bed, OUR bed, the bed in which Iv' e been longing to lay,for so long.
My love's breathing slowly it his sleep, and I am happy.
Happy to be back with him, happy do drink my nasty "Taster's choice" instant coffee in the morning, happy to cook us our usual 3 eggs (1 for me, two for him), happy to take the subway, be around noise, hassle,loud voices,cynical New Yorkers, nothing cute and quiet in this part of the world.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Last minute

So the last show was on some levels a bit disastrous; Lots of un-concentrated moments by the entire cast. Me personally; I had taken an allergy pill the same morning and had a pair of very dry cords to work with for the entire show. But the audience seemed to appreciate the show no matter what, and inspite of the fact that all of our heads were already packed with the rest of our Tokyo memories well inside our ready to roll suitcases.
I was wondering whether the bit of shopping I did was going to fit into my already tightly packed luggage and I was thinking about the sweet chilled plum wine soothing my throat after the show, (my favorite: the liquer-soaked plum from the bottom of the botttle!) and I was hoping to still get to do something fun before I leave for good.
So after a humble but very nice closing get together, where we ate a lovely cake and drank some champagne with the big boss, we headed back to the hotel, then met for a quick dinner ( by the western/wonderbread-ish choice of THEIRS, we ended up eating at "Sizzlers". Nevertheless I could still find some of my favorite Japanese dishes at the salad bar, and everyone was happy).
After that, we decided to go to the "Golden Gai" area, which is bordering the 'red light district'. lots of tiny tiny little bars,marked in my 'Time out' Tokyo guide as mostly not allowing foreigners (!), usually sitting about 6 persons maximum , and serving each drink for about 5 bucks. We ended up in a small bar which obviously was 'foreigner-friendly' as we weren't the only westerns there. It was also a KAREOKE bar!
So here I had my first Karaoke experience. And let me tell you: I had such a blast!
For a hundred yen (which my dear "Conte Almaviva" treated with curious pleasure) I got to choose a song, get a mic, and go for it. My song of choice was "Careless whisper" of the late "Wham"...
After a couple of "tequila sunrises" (and a few songs later), we left back to the hotel, said goodbyes, and parted our ways.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Duckybaby by Peter

Peter Bucknell October 2005

Friday, October 21, 2005

Un bell di, that's it.

So this is it; One more show and it will all be like a dream. What's left after that? no recollection of any of it. No review, no recording, no proof. This creation was born, lived and died in a month and a half. Only the anonymous polite Japanese who stood in line for our autographs, night after night. Took dozens of pictures with us and made us sign their programs one by one, they alone will be our only witnesses ; We were here, no, really.
Most of my souvenirs are perishable. I mainly got some special ricecakes and a bit of plum wine. I feel like there's no use to try to carry the immense and breathtaking beauty from here over seas. What's here must remain here, like the good luck cat waving with one paw. I heard a long time ago that one should never attempt to get it out of Japan, where it brings the good luck and where it belongs. So here we go; one last show and: hop into the plane and into the taxi at JFK and.. not sure.. was I gone? for how long?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Kittycats are the homeless' best friends here. The park is their kingdom.
The ultimate best (cold) sake

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Happy 1st one, Rosina!

"dribblebaby" by Peter Bucknell

Opera roles are like babies. Every time you sing them again, they are a bit older; more familiar, more playful, eventually they become a real human being. After a few times they are almost fully grown, but never entirely , as we keep growing ourselves. They are conceived as a wish, an might be not sure about them at first, but your manager and your teacher, or whoever might be your musical family, are putting pressure on you, and if you get the concrete offer from a opera house, you decide it's time.
Who they are at the very beginning, depends on who was there to prepare them with us,(like coaches, voice teachers, recordings,books and libretti) and who we were at that time.
How they grow, depends entirely on their environment; who is around (the cast, the director and the conductor,our costume and the set) and again; who we are at the time.
whoever our opera roles might become is the fantastic fusion of all their previous existences ; a mix of all past productions opinions solutions, and again; Who we have become so far.

Monday, October 17, 2005

1 week to go

Today I've been to DisneySea, which is the park next to Disneyland. T'was not exactly what I was hoping for to cheer my pretty grey spirit du jour, but it somehow was still helpful. I am again in my insomnia mode (that happens to me from time to time during some runs, I get too hyper from the shows...).
I also started to feel the pain of being alone and away, in almost a physical way. So after 4 or 5 hours of light sleep I decided to join 3 friends and take the hour trip to DisneySea.
It was sweet there. Amazing amount of money went into the creation of this fantastic amusement park; to build kiddie rides that take you to different worlds;under sea, over the stars, and onto some parts of our planet as well. Fabulous scenery; It almost seemed to me like huge opera sets built with amazing little details and truly extraordinary imagination (and budget; the key word...). But today I just couldn't turn 5 again, I was still a grown-up, damnit! ( I was warned not to expect this,but I still was hoping for and didn't find that thrill I get when I ride a 'serious' roller coaster like the ones at 'Six flags").
At any rate, it was still nice to get away and try to forget how much I want to get back home already.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

If you want to survive; SING!

In the second act of Barbiere, there's an orchestral few minutes of a storm scene.
In this production, the 'wind' is blowing, windows are banging, doors opening and closing, people are 'blown' by the strong 'wind', with their umbrellas breaking under the 'harsh' weather.
'Lightning' srikes, etc. Very well done really.

So today, in the middle of my first act duet with Figaro, as I was concentrating on my coleratura (if I am not having a good day, I need to REALLY work my stomach mussles to succeed !).. well..... in the middle of it all...... as I am singing,.. I hear a strong sound and I can see the lights blinking, going on and off..
I am thinking to my self: "Oh NO! one of the techies fucked up and pushed on the "storm" button by accident, activating the 'lightning' effect and all"....
I kept on singing, and the show went on...

Not until ITERMISSION did I find out (after people TOLD me!) that it was an *EARTHQUAKE!
a REAL EARTHQUAKE! my first earthquake, and I MISSED IT ALL!!!! (and apparently
a *5.0 on the richter scale too!)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

sushiman domine deus

I just had a culinary experience I can only describe as : 'once in a life time'.
My only regret is that I couldn't share it with my loved ones, and I can only attempt to try and put it into lame words...
We were invited to a little restaurant in the Shibuya district, owned by the parents of one of the stage hands.
You go downstairs to a tiny little space which looks like a private kitchen, wooden bench surrounding a small area where the chef cooks. (like the home version of a sushi bar).
We were 3 techies, the set designer and her son, my Figaro and moi.
The father, a very friendly Japanese man in his fifties, was standing in his little cubic zone and started carefully cutting the fish, while the mother, was serving us with the kind of Sake, cold sake, that Iv' e never tasted before, as it was as smooth as water !You couldn't even taste the alcohol. Just some fainted sweetness and fantastic aroma.
What came next, was a bit of Edamame beans, the freshest Iv' e ever had, and some tofu in peanut sauce. Just enough to get our palate interested in what's next to surprise us.
The sushi which was carefully cut and prepared in front of us, was many several kinds of the freshest, rare and most expensive fish. I can't even know what they'd be... But each piece was served to each one of us, one by one, with freshly ground wasabe (I never knew that wasabe was some kind of a root you grind.. I thought you find it in a tube on the supermarket shelf!) and HOME pickled ginger, which tastes much finer and so much more delicate than the bulk ginger I am used to from any other sushi place.
The different fish was just melting in my mouth like warm butter would. I just couldn't BELIEVE it!!! All diffrerent rare kinds of clams, shrimp, tuna, trout, octopus, and what not... some fantastic eel (? ) lightly fried;(the sweetest and best unagi ), some puffed sweet egg,WOW, and some different roles with sour plum and cucumber and fish,and some other combinations. it was heaven.
After about 45 minutes of eating, I was stuffed, but had to try everything! When else am I going to have THAT kind of meal again?...
After we all decisively knew that there's no more space in our stomach for anything else, the father/chef turned out to be quite an entertainer as well, and as he opened a wooden box from over the shelf, he started showing off with his magic tricks, and later was teaching the faster ones among us, (not me, and definitely not me after sake...) how to do magic ourselves.
The meal cost us each 10,000 yen which is around $100 I normally wouldn't spare for a dinner, but I don't think there could be any better food in the world which would be so rightly deserved.
I think I am happy as a clam! (or at least much, much happier than the fresh one in my tummy). :)

To keep and to hold

Here are some qualities I would like to keep of this magnificent Japanese way of being:







immaculate attention to the small details

If I take these and keep them, I might enjoy knowing myself.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Openig night; wrap up

So I finally made my long awaited (not by me) debut as Rosina.
I must say that I was quite surprised to find out that the role is pretty easy for me. My low notes and my high notes stayed all there through out the entire time, and I even felt like I can play with a lot of it with no worry. and OK; I HAD FUN.
In the Figaro/Rosina duet I take a little fermata on the high B which I start pianissimo, and then open up to a fortissimo. I am quite surprised by that too, as I feel so secure with doing a trick like that; This is a new (and fabulous) feeling for me.
As I arrived into my dressing room, I found a letter written by the general director of the company. It said:
"Dear Ms. Shaham
I was always hoping to find a singer who could fascinate us with her sparkling voice and firework of temperament.. you fulfill that dream (which is) what a director and a theatre can dream of....Your Rosina and the colors with which you portrait her, deeply fascinate me"... (Etc.)
Now, I KNOW that this is the kind of letter is somewhat the usual kind words that one gets or SHOULD get from a GD for opening night, (and the real proof for their validity
, is by getting a return contract..) However, this night, I chose to believe it. I chose to believe that my Rosina will be special, and I WILL go on and make him, the cast, the staff, and especially my managers (who encouraged me to sing this role) PROUD.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Opening night

So in a few hours I will go to the theatre. I'll get some food at the supermarket,(probably some SUSHI role and some grapes...) bring it to my dressing room , with my heavy bag containing; Toi toi toi cards and gifts,water,make up, high heels (for the reception), and all the rest of my usual bag content.
I will then arrange everything in the room, eat my lunch/dinner, warm up lightly (I say lightly because I don't want to over sing before I even start this marathon opera ;In this production, I am ON stage the ENTIRE time. No pee pee break other than in intermission!) so I will humm my low C and hoot my high C and caress what's in the middle for 20 minutes.

Then I'll sing, they'll probably clap, I'll come back and post some more.

Cute weight loss

If I were a little ducky, on a track, and I had 5 pounds to lose, this is what it would look like:
Will keep you posted when I become a ducky :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

How to get rid of a cold ASAP

* get yourself YIN CHIAO pills. If you are EVER near a China town; do yourself a favor and get those. they are extremely cheap, they are natural, and they will kick your cold in the ass.
*get yourself too much vitamin C. Eat as many citrus fruits as you can stand, get vitamin C pills, drinks, and start pumping it in.
*sleep as much as you can afford
* drink tons of water. (and also tea)
* if you got a fever, cover yourself with tons of blankets and clothes, and sweat it off during the night.

Blame Asakusa!

I woke up today feeling regretful for yesterday's trip to Asakusa; It was rainy and cold and I was wearing only a light sweater, and was operating on a very little amount of sleep.
That is never a good idea, and sure enough I again caught some kind of a light cold which I will have to kill brutally, and immediately.
Can't take chances in this opera life; If I cancel a show, A) I am putting the company in a horrid state since the cover is not really ready
B) I will, of course, lose a hefty amount of money (which I absolutely need to pay for the new apartment we are buying)
So I couldn't sleep well last night either, worrying about getting a cold. ha.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Yesterday's dress rehearsal went better than I expected; I was really tired and took an allergy pill right before which might have made me even more sleepy.
But after running the show so many time, as the director probably miscalculated and over rehearsed at the beginning, now we have the leisure of truly TRUSTING ourselves and knowing our ability.
The cast is mostly great. The Figaro has done 7 different production of this opera,this fact would usually be enough on it's own to enhance any production,(the sheer experience,amount of corrections and coachings one gets over seven productions of the same opera may make one seem like a genius anyway ), but even more lucky for us, our Fig is one of these rare talents who actually can invent new things every time, and play off other characters' actions. I admire that quality so much. He is also blessed with a wonderful range and a very good technique. For the rest of the cast, it is our first time doing the role, but we definitely had more than enough rehearsals by now and we are starting to be happy and playful, and actually have the much needed FUN. So of course, when time allows us, we hang out; Usually Mr baritone and Mr. tenore and myself.
We all are October babies, and real Libras, which I especially like.(Having all the nice Libra trades and in addition being happily married!).
A word about opera friends:Being in this business for a while, I KNOW too well about instant friendships. (Remember the nice lady/gentleman you had sitting next to you on a long flight/at the bar/at a party once?.. What a fabulous conversation you've had.. the hours seemed to fly by so quickly.. remember the phone numbers and cards you exchanged at the end? and how they disappeared out of your life with the same ease in which they appeared?)
This is an ordinary example of instant friendships. They are like the little soap and shampoo and shower cap and instant coffee you use while staying in a hotel;They become your temporary necessities and you like finding them every day. and you need them, and love them. Don't laugh; you really do.
(What a stupid analogy, but that's the first thing that came to my mind).

Well, I remember all my friends around the world who once were my very best friends; for a month or maybe two.
Iride in Miami, Didier in Paris,Nicholas in Aix,Andrew in Glyndebourne,and so on.(I still write them all an Email from time to time, but that's because *I* am good like that with keeping in touch...) but generally you won't see or hear from anybody, ever ever again, unless you are scheduled to sing in another production together. (That's when we get a chance to become real friends in my opinion).
So we embrace that fact and go on being best friends, in the same strange boat, this time called Tokyo.


I walk back silently through the carpeted hotel corridor
to my wall to wall sealed hotel room
It's after midnight and the loud laughs we've been carrying with us in the elevator
like the smell of the cigarette smoke
from the bar, are still swirling on their way up to higher floors
and the little card key blinks green
and my room is lit and clean.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Breakfast: 2 small raisin buns and instant coffee (with full milk, very tasty!) ,grapes.

Lunch; a plastic box from the supermarket with 4 beautiful pieces of different sushi and 1 sushi role.
Grapes (each grape is as big as a plum, and tastes like one too!)

Munchies: raisin biscuits or little bean-size koala bear cookies filled with creamy chocolate.grapes.

Dinner: edamame from the supermarket, a bit of sushi, some weird looking pickles, green tea pudding, grapes.

* note for the grapes: they are extremely expensive here, as all fruit here are. But I can't get enough of these fantastic huge grapes. You can't eat the skin for it's very thick and bitter, but the inside tastes like heaven.
I know it's a lot of sugar, but I am addicted.
It also makes my poo smell fabulously like.. grapes! :), I swear!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Video conference

What a fabulous fabulous thing this is:
Being in Tokyo and seeing my love , talking with him, almost touching but not quite.
My aloneness is cut in three quarters.
I see my parents too, and some random friends that bothered to get this "futuristic" gadget, without realizing how real it is.
With AIM, and SKYPE, the world is just seated in front of me, sipping coffee with me, exchanging daily events.

Beauty 2

If we are like flowers, then I would be a sunflower
And the people of this strange country - orchids.
you can only wish to come close to the white pure petal with your rude big nose, not too close, or you will tear it by mistake.
Just watch it from afar, inhale the faint forign sweetness and exhale the memory.


The homeless feet in the Shinjuku park are cleaner than my feet. Their masters do not beg for anything at all
from anybody at all.
The homeless in Shinjuku park wash their whites and hang them to dry.
The entire park is paths of drying shirts, socks,
huge crows ruling from above
little people laying under old umbrellas.


Getting make up in Japan. Sitting in the chair before the first 'dress' rehearsal.
I should have KNOWN, how it would be;
The fantastic Japanese attention to the smallest of detail. Clean clean clean towels and make up tools, and creams and quiet little make up Japanese girls working on my face and my hair, like the way they write, or make sushi; it's an art, truly.
No big sponge with foundation here. a tiny brush like my face is a small canvas. a bit more here, a bit more there until my entire face is gently covered.
All with tiny brushes, dot by dot.


Iv' e been thinking about starting my own blog for a while now; First of all, I started to read through some other people's blogs, just because I have some alone time, well , a lot of it, and because while I am by myself, I have random thoughts I feel like sharing, but by the time I get to a phone, I actually forget the faint ideas I had in mind before.
The bottom line is: I get bored easily, and I can't have people around me ALL the time.
So here is one way to be away from home, and be at peace with it.
Here are my thoughts for the week:

On the morning of my birthday, I woke up thankful.
I can't describe exactly how fantastic I felt, but I get teary when I think about my good fortune. This includes an amazing family and circle of friends, and a most fabulous, special, beloved and loving husband. It also includes a very interesting path Iv' e never imagined I would get as a fortune; being an opera (!) singer.

On my way to the theater for a piano dress rehearsal I looked down at the road I was walking on.
I am in Tokyo, and the last thing I expected to see was this: a piece of paper with only the word "JOYFUL" on it.
when you come to Japan, you will see why I get so surprised to read this nice English word , just like that, on the morning of my birthday.
This is to remind me to be joyful, as I usually am.
I love life. THANK YOU!