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  • Wow…so it has been almost two weeks since I have gotten a chance to blog, and the time has flown by. I can’t believe we only have 10 days left for the program.

    The show, “Le Nozze di Figaro,” is now fully staged. For the last two weeks we had the same rehearsal schedule: musical rehearsals in the morning for about three hours and then staging rehearsals in the afternoon. Whenever I wasn’t in rehearsal I was in a coaching, lesson, or a master class. We typically staged each act (there are a total of four) in two or three days, and then took one day to do a run through-review. We did our first full show run through yesterday and it went very well. It was so exciting. Every once in a while I take a step back and realize I have the music and blocking memorized for about two hours of music. I feel quite accomplished.  The other singers here are such great colleagues. They are so talented and hardworking, and all together (with different casts) the program will have put on 8 different shows! Tomorrow we have a Sitzprobe, which is the sing through with the chamber ensemble that will be accompanying us. Sunday we have a dress rehearsal and then Tuesday my cast makes our debut.

    Tonight I will be singing in a song recital. I will be singing “An die Nachtigall” by Berg. The performance will take place at one of the houses used as the Von Trapp Family home in the Sound of Music movie. This house (the outside shot from the front of the house, where Maria walks up and sings “I have confidence”) was transformed into a performance space for the Mozarteum, the music university here in Salzburg. I’m sure I will take many pictures to share a few at a later date.

    Today my parents arrived. I am excited to have them in the area and I know they will get to see some great sites in the surrounding countries. We have already bought them bus passes and got some basic groceries. Tomorrow, two of my former roommates, Simon and Christoph, from my study abroad time in Karlsruhe, Germany, will arrive in Salzburg. They will be staying in the town for two days. We will get to do some sightseeing together on Saturday and they will get to come see my dress rehearsal on Sunday morning. I am so happy that I will finally get to have some free days because our schedule will free up for performances (we get the day off if our cast is not performing). So far I have had a total of three, half-days off, this includes Saturdays and Sundays. But, next week I should have a few two day chunks off, so hopefully I can do a trip with my parents.

    Now, for the fun activities I have done in those half-days and evenings I have had off! We have gotten to see two broadcasts of operas on a giant screen tv in a square underneath the castle and cathedral. Talk about a beautiful setting. Our cast got to watch a production of “Le Nozze di Figaro” from the Salzburger Festspiel in 2006. We also got to watch the live premiere of a production of “La Boheme” with Anna Netrebko, a huge favorite here in Salzburg. We got four of the last seats an hour and a half before the show. By show time there wasn’t a single place left to stand in the entire square. It was so cool to experience such support for opera! Below is a link to a news spot on the evening. Another evening we celebrated one of the singer’s birthdays at a Beer garden with beer brewed by the local monks. With one of our half mornings off, we went on the Festspielhaus tour (the festival hall). We got to see the three halls that host events for the Salzburger Festspiel, including the stage in which the Von Trapp family performed in the movie the Sound of Music (we weren’t allowed to take any pictures since they were setting up for a show). Two days ago I got to visit Schloss Hellbrunn, a palace with a bunch of trick fountains. We managed to stay dry until the last few minutes when we got squirted from behind! We were also able to tour the palace and climb a foothill to get lovely panoramic views of the city and the Alps.

    Hopefully I will have time to update more regularly this next week. But for now enjoy some of the following pictures. I am looking forward to seeing everyone in KC soon!
    -Laura

    Link to the news video about the public opera viewing.

    Rehearsal photo with baritone, TJ Bourne
    “Le Nozze di Figaro” rehearsal photo with Figaro, baritone TJ Bourne.

    figaro rehearsal
    “Le Nozze di Figaro” rehearsal photo with castmates Joey Leppek, Kate Nye, and Antonio Gonzalez.

    opera viewing
    View of the crowd for the public opera viewing.

    old city view
    A shot of the old city.

    fountains
    Some kids getting sprayed at the trick fountains at Schloss Hellbrunn.

    hellbrunn view
    View of Schloss Hellbrunn from the foothill.

    sound of music gazebo
    Castmate TJ Bourne and I striking a dance pose in front of the famous Sound of Music gazebo in which Liesl and Friederich danced.

  • Hello All!
    I am so sorry I am just now getting to write my first post from Salzburg. The last few days have been incredibly busy, and this is the first day I have had more than five minutes to spare! Things in Salzburg are absolutely wonderful, and I guess I will just give a day by day synopsis of everything that has happened so far.

    Day 1: Things for our trip got off to a scary start. Becca, my school mate and roommate here in Austria, and I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare and were ready to start our trip. But, our flight was delayed more than two hours! Our layover was only two hours and fifteen minutes. Normally, we wouldn’t worry and just catch the next plane. Unfortunately, there was only one connecting flight to Munich that day. Becca’s cousin was flying with us, and is an employee for United Airlines. I don’t know what we would have done without her. She started working her magic immediately and came up with several scenarios of other city’s we could fly into and catch connecting flights or take a longer train ride into Salzburg. I was a little worried since Jacob was already in Munich which would make flying into another city more complicated. Becca’s cousin came up with an alternative itinerary, but she was also able to call ahead to the Newark airport and let them know that we really wanted to make that flight! Luckily, the plane waited for us, we had to run across an entire terminal in Newark (my arms felt like they were going to fall off after our quick transfer). They were herding us like cattle down the walk-way. As soon as we got to our gate the plane shut its doors. Of course they then had to wait for our luggage to make it on the plane, so everybody had to wait in the plane for 45 mins. It was a little awkward since everybody knew why they were waiting, but the people around us seemed to relax a bit when they found out we were opera singers going on a grand adventure!
    Once we made it through customs, we had Jacob’s smiling face waiting for us. What a relief. We caught a street car and then train to Salzburg. What a lovely train ride…unfortunately we were all in a bit of a jetlag haze. Our landlady met us at our apt. and we had a simple transition. Our apt. is great and pretty spacious for what I was expecting. Everything has been updated with rather American finishes (I’ve roughed it, European style, several times now, so I don’t feel guilty having some of the comforts of home ;) ). After unloading a bit, we went out for some food and got to visit Mirabel gardens. This is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. The view, with the castle in the background, is absolutely breathtaking. We then went to the grocery store to get some essentials. By 7:30 I was ready for bed, I was so thankful for the next twelve hours of sleep.
    The Lowrys at the Mirabel Gardens
    Jacob and Laura at the Mirabel Gardens

    Day 2: Jacob, Becca, and I got up and figured out the bus system to get to the school where we are rehearsing. It’s about a 40 minute walk, or 15 min. bus ride. Once everyone arrived we had a quick orientation and then everyone had to sing as an introduction. We were all exhausted, but it was fun to hear all of the wonderful talent I get to work with this next month. We also got to eat at a Kebap stand. This is like the European equivalent to a gyro, except so much better. These stands are usually run by Turkish or Bulgarian immigrants. I had a blast talking in German with the worker. Since her German wasn’t perfect, I felt much freer to talk without feeling self-conscious. Next we went to Mozart’s Geburthaus (Birth House). The museum was pretty decent. It is in the old part of Salzburg and right next to the Cathedral. What a lucky kid Mozart was! We then went to dinner and Jacob and Becca got to have their first Wiener Schnitzel.
    Mozart's Geburthaus
    Mozart’s Geburthaus

    Day 3: Rehearsals for Le Nozze di Figaro started bright and early at 9am! We start the day out with 2 hours of musical rehearsals and then we had German class. It was led entirely in German and I think it is going to be great for me! I am really going to be able to brush up on my German while I am here. After class we began two and a half hours of staging for the opera. Everything is so quick and intense, but what an awesome experience. I am so excited to be doing what I love so many hours during the day! After rehearsal we went straight to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. We had purchased tickets for a dinner and concert up in the castle. This was such a magical experience. We got to take in the great panoramic views of the city and the Alps from the outlook balconies. We ate a very tasty three course dinner while overlooking the Alps. Then we listened to an exquisite string quartet playing Dvorak, Haydn, and Mozart. The best part is the sun was setting over the city and foothills in the background. Truly, this was one of those top ten life experiences!
    Dessert at the Fortress
    Dessert at the Fortress

    Sunset
    Sunset from the Fortress

    Day 4: This was a busy day! While Jacob and Becca went on the Sound of Music tour, I went to seven hours of rehearsal. I was completely exhausted at the end of the day, but it was worth it. I am having so much fun digging into the role of Susanna. My castmates are awesome and they make the staging process such a blast. After rehearsal we went to Mozart’s Residence. Unfortunately, this museum was a bit of a letdown. But, at least we can check it off of our to-do-list. We got to come home and cook dinner for the first time.

    Day 5: If you get squeamish don’t continue reading today’s entry: My morning started off a little rough today. About half way to the school everyone was instructed to get off the bus. Another guy in the program and I started walking the rest of the way to our school. Traffic was stopped for blocks and we came up on what seemed to be a cleared accident. As we walked by, the police started spraying a hose in our direction. We took a closer look and he was washing a lot of blood off of the street, which was then misting our direction. How horrible and traumatizing. I don’t know what happened, hopefully it was just a bad injury and not a fatality. Either way I wish they had the privacy screens like they have in the U.S. Send a prayer or two up for those involved in the accident today. Other than that sad experience, I spent the day in rehearsals. So much staging and music to remember. Once I get home I typically spend another two-three hours practicing and reviewing music. I’m thinking Jacob will have to do some traveling without me…

    Thanks for reading and I miss everyone back home!
    -Laura

  • And he’s off…
    Jacob about to board the plane for Munich.

    Jacob left for Munich today–he is in the air right now heading to his connection in London. Hopefully he will have a great time exploring the city for a few hours. Tomorrow morning Rebecca, my undergraduate school-mate, and I will head to the airport to begin our journey. Once arriving in Munich and meeting up with Jacob, we will take a subway to the train station and catch a train to Salzburg. From there we get to find our apartment and hopefully get a little exploration time! Sunday, I have orientation for the program, which includes everyone getting up and singing in for each other. They didn’t leave much time for jet lag…

    I am a little nervous to start this journey, but mostly I’m excited. My bags are packed and this soprano is ready to go!!

    -Laura

  • Welcome everyone to my new website and blog!

    First of all I want to thank everyone who so generously supported my trip to Salzburg, Austria this summer. I truly can’t say thank you enough! I hope this blog is an easy way for me to keep everyone updated on my journeys this summer. Currently Jacob and I are in Dallas, TX visiting my brother and his family. Stay tuned for more updates. In the mean time have fun looking around my website.
    -Laura

  • Best of Luck. Bring yourself and Jacob home safe, sound and exhausted from Fun.