WEEK 9

Week 9, Midterms are officially over! I am so glad that I am retaining a lot of the knowledge from Munich classes here. With spending most of my class time translating  Italian and broken English all the time, I forget what it feels like to fully comprehend what the instructor is conveying. During week 8 I went through a lot of emotions I can’t adequately express place into words. At the beginning of the week, the most of the program spent the weekend in Milan prepping for Midterms, some more stressed than other which is normal. Myself, not so much, I only had two midterms left, and I was able to finish studying for one and reading the book for the other. Overall, I feel like they went well. My Italian midterm did not go as planned but that’s okay, I realized that I am still adjusting to being immersed in a new language and at least I’m trying. I am proud to say that I have accomplished one of my goals out here and I’ve made some friends in Italy.  I am glad I completed this goal, I was nervous to interact the locals here for a while. But taking the risk in trying to speak their language and step farther outside of my comfort zone was rewarding.

After my Midterms, I sang my last concert with the LaVerdi Symphonic Orchestra Choir in Verdi’s Requiem. Frankly, I am grateful for the opportunity, and I am glad I got to sing a couple of fantastic pieces, but in the end, I am so happy to be finished. I forgot what it felt like to be in a community choir, where there is this semi-professional attitude about music. My experience in the choir was sub-par, the director was great, but she frightens. I have a lot of appreciation for her passion towards the music, however, conducting a rehearsal screaming at adults and having stress nosebleeds only leads to a chaotic unproductive rehearsal. The participants in the choir were very friendly, yet their egos reminded me of what I do not want to be in this world of music. I will say the soloists were fabulous and I learned a lot from watching them.  I learned a lesson about being more professional when presenting myself, being on-time and fully participating in rehearsal. However, the overall experience reminded me of the reasons why I almost left music.

Anyways, there a couple of adventures I have coming up are seeing one of my best friends, Connor Martin, in London. Before that, I am planning to make more trips to more parts of Italy.  Looking forward my last 5 weeks in Milan, I have spent so much time singing I forgot about travel.

More pictures to come! Thank you so much taking your time to read about my adventures, your support is keeping me sane through all of my adventures.

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Week 8

Week 8, Cramming for midterms has never felt more difficult. Although I only have 3 Midterms in total, it still is a strange feeling to experience with my colleagues what true procrastination can do. There are moments in classes at IES, where the instructors do not speak the best English all the time. Granted we are in a completely different country and that is our native tongue, but it had an extensive debate with myself wondering if this is how new English speakers feel every day in American Colleges. Through this, I realized that how much the United States should promote more language learning. On Average by the time most Italians finish high school they can comprehend at least three languages. Meanwhile, back home its a rarity to find someone who is bilingual. I feel grateful my parents were able to speak not just one language but, three different languages at home. As this is an accomplishment for me, it is a regular occurrence in European countries where they learn in 2 languages during primary school. Seeing how the United States does not have an official language, I do not see a reason not to promote the learning of other languages and cultures.

The weekend before the IES Program took 90 of the student to Tuscany. We stayed in Siena; activities included visiting San Gimignano, Pisa and the nightlife of Siena. Senior year of High School, I was accepted into a Music program in Siena but was unable to attend due to the cost fo the program. At the time, I regretted not taking this experience; I kept wondering what the country would be like and what things did I missed out on. Now I realize that I missed out on a beautiful city and a very historically driven culture. If I had the chance to go back in time, I probably wouldn’t because now I can appreciate the time I had in the city.

Upon my return from Siena, I was able to make so many new friends within the IES Program than before. I also developed a new hobby; I never realized how much I enjoy taking pictures until Studying abroad. I make it an effort now to take a picture every day. Honesty, the hardest part is editing them all. Currently, there are over 500 photos that I haven’t see or touched yet. But soon enough I will edit them.

Wish me luck on Midterms, and for more pictures, please take a look at my facebook album and my new Flickr account https://flic.kr/s/aHsm7upVPf.

 

 

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm7upVPf

Week 7

Week 7, classes have begun preparations for the Midterms. Meaning, this is the halfway point of my four-month stay in Italy. Honestly I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, with everything being thrown at me all at the same time. My workshop ensemble class has finally broken me; I began to feel a little frustrated with the instructor because  I feel like I cannot keep up. At first, I thought I would be okay with having her pick some new repertoire for me but, now it has gotten a little much. Having to learn song cycles, that would require more time than allowed to learn. On top of that, having to learn a totally of 12 pieces in 13 weeks it’s a challenge in itself.

However, I am not going to let that get me down though. I finally have found the balance of my personal time and working time. Watching TV before going to bed is probably not the best choices, although it is an excellent way to get my brain to stop stressing out. I am trying to pick healthier habits to bring home, but sometimes I forget about the new things I am trying and revert back to my previous ways. This week also was faced with some more frustration within me. I finally felt like I wasn’t good enough for some of the work I am doing, I don’t know why I felt this way, but maybe I need to get away from it for just a little bit.

This weekend we are headed to Tuscany and specifically Sienna, and Pisa. I am excited to meet new people get away and stop thinking about work for just a moment.

The picture above is from one of the locations of Milan I spend a lot of time called Navigli. Please Check out my Facebook Album to see more photos.

Week 6

Gosh, I am feeling so excited to post about this week. Again sorry for posting late but Week 6 was jam-packed with so much activity. The week started with my return to Milan from Amsterdam; Classes are still enjoyable, and the life feels normal. In my Verdi Class, we got a private tour of the la scala museum and witnesse the Lascala Symphony orchestra rehearse Mahler’s First Symphony. All fantastic experiences, I am so flabbergasted that so few people get these opportunities.

This week, I realized that I don’t know the people in my program that well. Some of my friends that I’ve made have been great, but I still feel this ongoing need to get to know more people. Being the only student from your university is a double-edged sword, one side its another chance to reinvent yourself, on the other, there is a sense of loneliness. The fact of the matter is that when I arrived in Milan, I needed a fresh start, something new, but now I feel like an overwhelming sense of unease not knowing who my friends are here or if I enjoy some of the people in my program. You may be reading this and thinking that maybe I’m feeling homesick.

The Truth is I feel homesick every day

I miss my friends, my family, and everything else and I know that I would miss them. But honestly, this experience is forcing me to grow in ways I didn’t expect. I finally understand what genuinely desiring one thing is now. My passions are extremely heightened here. I don’t know, how to explain it but I feel torn. Between continuing to live these unreal experiences or feeling sad because I miss home.

The Picture of above is one of a small collection I have from fashion week here in Milan.

Again please take a look at my facebook Album online to see some of the pictures I’ve taken. A Flickr account coming soon!

Week 5

Week 5 has been very eventful. The week started out with just getting ready for my upcoming performance with the Verdi chorus. I’m ecstatic to be performing in such a magnificent hall. After that, my professor for the Verdi Identity class was able to purchase the class tickets to Handel’s Tamerlano, at the legendary La Scala Opera House. Which was phenomenal, La scala showcased how opera can stay relevant as times are changing. The staging for this Tamerlano is during the Russian revolution. With the change towards a different period, also came to the innovation of utilizing more projection mapping creating a stunning visual experience for the audience. Like the opera at Lake Como did the same by using projection mapping differently. Both performances were stunning displays of art that left me in my seat hungry for the opportunity to sing on those stages. I am so motivated to keep singing here; I am scared that I may burn out again before coming home.
This weekend was my 21st birthday, and I took a trip to Amsterdam. My birthday was great; I am happy I got to spending with some of my friends within IES. Amsterdam was my first real experience with a high tourist population; it was refreshing to hear so many languages spoken so casually with any problems. To me, that is real diversity, where people coexist without being restricted to language barriers and a mutual respect for another’s culture.
Anyways, I am excited to go back home to Milan and Perform Prokofiev’s Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution this upcoming weekend.

For pictures, please go to this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10209687835303749.1073741833.1565871221&type=1&l=bd2f409080

Week 4

Week 4 has been the best week so far. During the week, I was able to participate in the beginning to organizing new music for my recital in the spring.
Following that, I was fortunate enough to return to Como and watch an opera, which one of my professors wrote the libretto. Como was a great experience; I am grateful that I can learn more about the different types of opera houses in Italy and the history behind them. Not only that, the show Ettore Majorana was very well produced. During the whole performance, I reminded me of the movie Inception.
Aside from that, classes have begun to become more difficult, but with such little time on my hands, I keep forgetting that it is okay to make time for me. There is so much I want to see but haven’t been able too.
During the weekend, I did just that and went on my first solo adventure to Modena and Parma. Modena was stunning, many thanks to Pavarotti land and Ferrari. The tour consisted of a view of both Ferrari Museums in Modena, to an in-depth tasting of Giusti Balsamic vinegar Acetaia. Following that, a visit to Casa Luciano Pavarotti. Finishing up with a wine tasting at the Lambrusco Vineyard and Winery.
Going to Casa Pavarotti was a humbling experience, Luciano Pavarotti has been one of my idols since I began singing. Seeing the path in which Opera defined his life, reminded me of the reasons I started singing. In recent years, I’ve started to feel burned out and considered giving up music entirely. Witnessing how much positive energy Pavarotti gave to this world makes me want to do the same. Luciano Pavarotti will continue to be my hypothetical rock as I progress in my musical journey.

For pictures, please follow this link https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10209687835303749.1073741833.1565871221&type=1&l=bd2f409080

 

 

Week 3

Week 3 filled with lots of work. It’s the first week of real coursework. I am excited for all of my classes for once. Especially the history of opera and Verdi Identity course I am taking because the program is purchasing tickets to 4 different operas, some by Verdi and a couple of new premiers. Other than school, I am currently fighting a cold and wasn’t able to do much other than sleep. But pretty soon here I need to go out and explore and make some friends in the city.
A cool experience, I had last weekend was watching people dancing in a town square, using the shopping centers glass as a mirror.
More pictures as usual, pretty soon here I will be uploading some pictures with the new camera and lens I purchased the other day.This week was with more adventures; I got to spend some time exploring the Canals of Milan and yesterday I bought a new camera.

I still managed to have some fun; I was able to explore more parts of the city and enjoy some more great food. I think this weekend I want to take a trip by myself somewhere, but I don’t know.

P.S Being sick while studying abroad is not fun.

Week 2

The first week of our intensive Italian class is over. I can’t believe I’m here. The previous weekend I spent some time in Lake Como. Which was breathtaking; I can’t fathom my world would completely change with a simple change of perspective. In a short 1-hour train ride, I was able to experience a view of the deep blue water. The water looked like a scene from a movie. Aside from Lake Como, Milan is a treasure trove in itself. Every day I walk out of class I explore another little part of the city. This week, I was able to explore the shops around the Duomo a little bit and some of the area around my home.

On the academic side of things, classes have been fun. The Italian intensive feels like an extensive review for the moment, but I can’t wait to begin speaking like a conversational Italian speaker. After classes, IES has scheduled auditions for the music majors and course evaluation for their offered classes. This week, I had two auditions for the Verdi Symphony Chorus and the Performance workshop class. I am glad to say that I will be singing with the Verdi Symphony Chorus for Two different concerts. The performances consist of the Sergej Prokofiev Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution op. 74 and Verdi’s Requiem. Here is another link to some photos I was able to to take while I’ve been here.
More pictures to come!

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10209687835303749.1073741833.1565871221&type=1&l=bd2f409080

Week 1 of Milan

Honestly, I am content with my decision to come to Milan. The first week in Europe has been impressive, I first flew from Denver to London, where I had a 10-hour layover and took advantage of it. In London, I made some American friends on the Heathrow express, one of them being Trinidadian Soprano, Jeanine de Bique’s sister. We jumped on a tour bus to see the sites of London.
After site seeing, I returned to the airport, and an hour and a half later I arrived in Milan. My adventure has just begun, and I can’t wait to share so much of my journey with everyone at IES.
The first week has been everything I could have asked. I’ve had memories already made with still so much to come. We have just begun our Intensive Italian course, and the music majors are starting our first round of auditions. Last night, I was fortunate enough to audition for the Verdi Symphonic chorus, where I will be singing Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution (Prokofiev). Here are some pictures of London from my first day in Europe and some of Milan and Como will be coming soon.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10209636450779168.1073741829.1565871221&type=1&l=32e3eba498

20 Days Left

I am so excited to say that in 20 days, I will be embarking on my journey to Milan, Italy for study abroad. Thanks to The IES Milan Program: Music, Traditions, and Innovation is the program I am able to participate, in this amazing adventure. Also, many thanks to the University of Denver, the Bridge Project, Denver Scholarship Fund and The Howard Family Foundation making it possible for me to be at ease with the scholarships that they have provided.  During my time in Milan, I will dedicate all my class time to focusing on Opera Performance.  I am hoping to better myself as a singer and truly immerse my self in the history of this industry.