Friday, July 23, 2010


Would you tell your boss that, while business casual is the standard in your office, you will only wear sweat pants to work? Or how about using your phone for personal calls all day at work? Extending your lunch break into time allotted for meetings? If so, would you expect to keep your job in this economy?


These questions probably seem ridiculous and rightly so. When you apply for a job, you find out what it entails and then agree to fulfill your duties to the best of your ability. Certainly, there are deadbeats in every field, unfortunately. But... suppose you had studied for years to be qualified for your job. Suppose you had sacrificed time, money, and countless other things for this job. Suppose you were, somehow, amazingly, being paid (however little... remember - YOU accepted the job) to do what you love most. Would you respect it any less than the average entry-level worker fresh out of school and thrilled to have any job?

Of course not... one would think.

As crazy as it sounds, this is exactly what I see way too much when I go to work. Some of the YAAPs (members of the Young American Artist Program here at GGO) have so little respect for what they are doing. Refusing to wear costumes, purposefully neglecting to remove personal jewelry, going onstage with cell phones in their costume pockets, ignoring requests about things like not playing frisbee in costume, and, my personal "favorite", wearing costume pieces home.

As an aspiring singer, I find the attitudes sported by some of these talented young performers to be nothing short of offensive. Out of probably close to a thousand applicants and hundreds of auditions, this small group of 20-30 was chosen. If you consider the additional numbers of people like myself who know they have years of study remaining before attempting to apply, there are thousands of people who would give almost anything for the opportunity these singers have been given.

Obviously, not all of the YAAPs fall into this category! There are some singers I am working with and have worked with at GGO who are not only talented performers but also wonderful people. These are the ones I hope go far. These are the singers I would love to work with in the future. These are the people from whom I hope to learn something.

The rest, I would love to give a piece of my mind. And, in the words of Mrs. Cratchit, "I hope they have a good appetite for it!" I wish I could shake them and ask "How do you not realize the opportunity you have? Do you know how many people would trade places with you in a heartbeat? How can you be doing what you love and have so little respect for it? Why even bother taking the job if you won't do what's asked of you? Isn't singing worth taking out your earrings or carefully checking that you return your costume pieces and props? What's the use of scoffing at the people whose job it is to make you look good?"

In the end, I doubt they would hear me, even if I had the opportunity to ask.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is this for real?

It's starting to set in. I am actually moving to Europe... next week. Now that I have a place to stay for the first month (a flat arranged by the language school where I'm doing the CELTA course), I feel like I can actually start packing. Most of my shopping is done - I've had to remind myself that I'm moving to Budapest not Siberia... stocking up on a specific hair conditioner - ok, buying extra underwear - unnecessary. The list of things that I can't wait to do is increasing rapidly. The first few weeks will be rough with jet lag, culture shock, and the CELTA course all at once but at least I can look forward to the food. I might not have time for much those weeks but I have to eat :) and eat I will! If it takes more than 24 hours in the country for me to have a turo rudi there will be a serious problem!

Finding out about this flat has been such a relief. I was getting worried -- didn't want to be spending my first night in Budapest under a bridge (exaggeration!! I would have at least found a hostel). Not only is the flat in a great location - District I and only one tram stop or a short walk from Moszkva Ter (where the school is and a major transportation hub) - it's also a studio single... with INTERNET! The way God provides is just amazing.

In other news, I went to see the Figaro cover run last night with Kate, my housemate. It was hilarious. I've seen Figaro a number of times but this particular production (both the covers and the actual cast) is just amazing. There are reasons this opera is so popular and it's still one of my favorites. The only downside was it really made me miss singing. Once I settle in this fall, I think I want to get a score and start learning Suzanna just for the heck of it. Finding a voice teacher also is on my to-do list. Ideally, someone at GGO knows a good teacher in Budapest .. I just haven't gotten around to asking people. Must do that soon!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Musical Musings and other thoughts on the 4th

It was really strange celebrating the 4th of July today knowing that I am moving out of the country in less than a month. Ever since the first time we went to Hungary, I've never been particularly patriotic because I wanted to be there rather than in the US. This year was different. After this month, there is no telling when I will actually live in the country again. It's highly unlikely that it will be in less than two years and quite possibly much longer than that. I had to stop and reflect today on what it means to me to be an American.

Yes, I have plenty of issues with this country (the dawning of socialized medicine for one... EEEEKKKK), but when I stop to think about it, I have to admit that I would not be where I am and who I am if I had been born anywhere else. The opportunities I have had, simply because my family is from the US are endless. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to say that other countries are inferior. Had I lived somewhere else, I would have had different opportunities, maybe even better ones. But I wouldn't be who I am.


At Mass this morning, we closed with "My Country 'tis of Thee." Flipping through the hymnal and seeing which patriotic songs were included made me stop and think about various ones and my views and feelings about them.

"My Country, 'Tis of Thee"
Better now that they aren't calling it America (although that is still the name of the hymntune). My biggest issue with this is its origin. Even on the "benefiting" side of the equation, I think it's offensive that we stole the national anthem of the country from which we had broken free and turned it into a patriotic song for our country. (On further research, I see that it's used by some other countries so I don't feel quite so bad) That being said, there really isn't anything particularly American about the song and I rather like it.

"The Star-Spangled Banner"
Also know as.. "The song I hated to sing in high school and would make up excuses to miss football games at which the choir had to sing it." It's a good national anthem as long as you overlook (or don't mind) the violence. I wish the other verses were used more often.

"God Bless the USA"
This song makes me laugh. Yes, my nerdy self is showing, but the linguistic structure of the refrain makes a statement completely opposed to the theme of the song. In English, double negatives produce a positive. So.. the line "Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land" is actually saying "There is doubt that I love this land." This made the song one of my favorites during high school when all I wanted to do was move back to Hungary.

"God Bless America"
I actually really like this one. Short, sweet, and to the point, written by a popular American composer, and at its heart it is a prayer asking for what every country needs - God's blessing.

"America the Beautiful"
This is my favorite patriotic hymn. The text is so beautiful (haha) in how it captures the history of the country. It does not gloss over failings, but asks for help to overcome them. The second and third verses are particularly poignant.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.

America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.


As this Independence Day draws to a close, I feel more patriotic than I have in years. Somehow, knowing I am leaving my home has made me appreciate it all the more. I may not always agree with the direction the country is headed or our administration, but I am still proud to be an American. In the end, I think the most important thing is to remember that while it is so important to pray "God Bless America" it is just as important to pray "America Bless God."

"Letter from Camp"

Dear Mom and Dad – In my first few weeks of camp (AKA Glimmerglass Opera), I …

Cooked over a fire – the Brown House has a gas stove

Made some cool new friends – The wardrobe crew is awesome this year... we're all getting along great and getting stuff done in record time.

Practiced for the talent show – Well... I guess this is a stretch, but I've spent time backstage and in the wardrobe house during tech rehearsals.

Have a new counselor – Julia is a great wardrobe manager and the assistant, Brit, is awesome as well.

Saw a mouse in my cabin – we have mousetraps in the Brown House now... unfortunately, the mice are bigger than the traps. I can't say there is much I dislike more than mice running around my room. (Update: now that I've watched the mice (mouse? I don't know if it's the same one) run up and down the kitchen for the past two hours, I just want them DEAD. Isn't this a health hazard?!)

Got poison ivy – Not really, but … I just got a new dresser in my room because the other one was full of mold... eww

Ate a bunch of marshmallows – one of the wardrobe interns is allergic to gluten and dairy … oddly enough, marshmallows are a safe snack.

Got a letter saying I was accepted for school this fall – Someone dropped out of the English course so I am officially in - thank God!

Went on adventures with my friends – We've been to Cooperstown, Syracuse, New Hartford, Herkimer... some multiple times.

Spent time doing arts and crafts – when there isn't a tech rehearsal, sometimes we get sent to help in the costume shop. I've worked on various alterations and lots of seam-ripping. We also made shirts for the opening of Eclipse (I was “Team Sparkly Stalker” others included “Team Dracula” and “Team Volturi”)

All in all, things are going well at Sunny Camp Glimmerglass. I'm starting to get very nervous about my move (Less than a month... EEK) but I know things will work out somehow.

Love you and miss you,

Oh, and please send mail :)

Rose Kovach
c/o Glimmerglass Opera
P.O. Box 129
Springfield Center, NY 13468