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A lady on a lake

Greetings from relatively ash-free Geneva where Spring is definitely making its welcome presence known.

Trumpet

We seem to be one of the few European cities escaping some of DFGHVZYPYJKIWSKJAIA’s fury for the moment. (Is that the correct spelling of the Icelandic volcano? It must be close!) What a nightmare this has turned out to be for so many travelers and fellow artists and family members! Mother Nature truly marches to her own rhythm, and I suppose in the end, there is no point in trying to argue with her. (How tempting to break into a Copland/Dickinson tribute at this moment! “Nature, the gentlest mother” – HA!) Hard not to get too down with all the natural disasters that seem to be sweeping the globe these days, and my heart flies out to all those suffering from the horrors of the earthquakes and this latest hardship. Sometimes it’s a bit puzzling to reconcile all that suffering with what I do, but I’ve learned over the years (and with many thanks to all your comments and observations) that music, is in fact, vitally, profoundly necessary and relevant to the human spirit. So I’ll keep singing whilst I can…it’s the small contributions that add up over time, right?

Changing the subject: I’m loving the fact that I’m debuting my next role living 2 blocks from a huge lake!

The Lady of the Lake

The serendipity of it makes me smile. I’m always cautious about trying to predict how a new role will actually materialize by opening night, and doubly cautious to predict how a new production will be received – I can’t really spend too much energy in prediction-ville, because one simply never knows. My job is to delve into something with all the conviction, examination and preparation I can and let the audience draw its own conclusions.

But I would like to say that I’m beyond excited about adding this new belcanto role to my repertoire. I fall more in love with her with each day, and find the score coming to life in a way that I didn’t expect (and we don’t even have the orchestra, yet!) Even I, who adore and celebrate Rossini, sometimes fall into the “yes, but it’s not Verdi” trap. Shame on me! This score is full of imagination, surprising colors, heartfelt emotion and true theatrical tension. Even though it preceeded them, it feels like another world entirely from Barbiere or Cenerentola, which impresses me even more, knowing these scores all came from one young mind.

The past

It’s a slightly tricky opera to put onto the stage – ok, perhaps I’m being generous! Not that I MIND being the objective of so many people’s desire, but it does pose a few problems for an audience that may be looking to find some modern application to their lives. (Not that opera always needs to serve that purpose, mind you. In fact, I think it is the escapism that often appeals to people and grabs their hearts!) But I understand the quest for comprehensive story telling and am happy to join in the adventure.

Our director, Christof Loy, just may be on to something here. I can’t quite see the whole picture yet, but I can tell you that I’m terrifically challenged by the story he is asking me to help tell. (As I was telling a friend about this, his reaction was, “What! Isn’t the music challenging enough?!?!) He has delved deeply into Rossini’s compelling music and into the psychology of these characters, bringing us along for the ride, and has found something I’m finding to be quite compelling.

Il cuore

He is one of these directors that doesn’t let me get away with my first instinct. DAMN! I feel like I have a very instinctual stage presence – or at least, I’m not afraid to show the director something strong on the first attempt at a scene. I find that most directors seem more than happy to be given something, so they say, “fine” before asking themselves if that was indeed the best choice. Instead, Christof (like a few other of my favorite directors) sees something more, and asks much more of me as an actress. It’s not always the easy solution, and can easily be a source of frustration for me, (“why aren’t I getting it??”) but in the end, I think I end up with something much more complex and intriguing. I’m starting to find that with this role, which could easily fall into a “victim” persona, and again, I’m grateful for the challenge to find something special in this girl.

Solitude

Today I had a few hours to wander around the lake and soak up some of the welcome sunshine, and enjoyed having the bevy of swans preen and pose and prance for me and my lonely camera! With all the things going on over the past 2 months my camera has gotten rusty and lonely. I was so happy to reacquaint myself with her, and we had a fabulous time taking in some of the spring sites. The light was fabulous, and the fresh air was a gift.

Water Dancing

Happily, I can report that my ankle is doing wonderfully well. I have a great Physio here who says that things look better than normal and that the healing is going wonderfully. I ditched my crutches a few days ago, and being able to walk (with the help of my trusty walking cast) feels AMAZING. It’s like freedom has returned! I’ve been rehearsing slowly and easily, but it really feels good and seems as if my cast won’t be too much of a distraction for the performances. (Yep, I’ll be in a cast for the shows. I suppose after the wheelchair and now the cast, when I’m 85 and using a walker as Rosina, it will just complete the circle!)

I appreciate greatly everyone’s support and respect for not posing too many questions … somehow it seems to keep the pressure at a distance! In the meantime, I’ll share my favorite photo of the day:

Light as a Feather

Back to the lake, now…

11 Jun

Who needs espresso? Or to understand the wonder of life? Apparently I only need this....! https://t.co/F56DafpiH7

11 Jun

Indeed. https://t.co/p8G1st1OSG

9 Jun

Cry. You can reapply the concealer .... tears are cleansing and sometimes called for ... 😔 https://t.co/fd9hDX0OgS

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#SummerLovin #LovinLavender #LavenderLovin

I arrive (nearly) to the end of this very full season, and it’s good moment to remind each of you reading this that YOU are the reason I travel the world, away from home for months at a time, working towards an unattainable perfection, exposed in ways very few people can imagine, singing the stories of characters searching for enlightenment/redemption/hope/relief/joy, and why I dedicate a large part of my life to this century’s old art form. I do it to entertain you at a minimum, but mostly to offer you comfort, to help us all join in a communal “event” that connects us across time and space despite our perceived differences, and I do it because I truly believe it makes the world a better place. I know you feel this most of the time as well. It’s likely what keeps bringing you back! I hope that after this season, perhaps you feel a bit more inspired to take what you receive as an audience member and activate that sensation in your own life, to bring hope and joy to the world around you. Don’t ever underestimate your power to do that - one doesn’t need the spotlight to bring transformation. #Songplay #Winterreise #Agrippina #Didon ✨

If this girl can do it, you can too!!!!!!! #belikeanant #heavyload #yourenevergivenanythingyoucanthandle #antsruletheworld #summerlovin

Grazie Mille @accademiadisantacecilia and the @baciopanino boys. What a JOY it was to perform with you all. Until the next time!

Celebrating #WorldOceansDay ... hoping every single one of you has the chance to swim in the vast blue ocean one day. Growing up in Kansas, I didn’t have the chance until I was in my 30’s, but when I finally did, an entire new universe opened right underneath me and I was changed. I’m so grateful for all that the planet’s oceans give to us. I want to be sure I’m doing all I can as a citizen of the world to take care of them and their vast, life-giving properties. Let’s get more informed and more active in protecting them and helping them thrive.

I was not prepared. The inspiration is through the roof to bring to life the towering cantata of #JoanOfArc tonight in the very cathedral de St. Denis, where she prayed for strength centuries and centuries ago. The same stones that received her pleas tonight will hear them again filtered through the mind of Rossini and the vibrations of those of us on stage. This, perhaps, is the thing I love most about the world of music - it connects us directly through time and space, and it shows us demonstrably how we are one. Ask me how much I love my “job”! @festivalsaintdenis @accademiadisantacecilia

#HowToFlower . . . What’s beautiful around you right now?

Grazie Mille, Roma. What a gift to be here for the briefest of moments - how much life we can find in the now!!!! #LightShower #Pantheon #Mystical #Luz #Luz #Luz #NoFilter #LookAround #Stopqndbreathe #batheinthelight #recoup #regenerate #batheingratitude #boydidtheromansknowhowtobuildabuilding #agrippinawashere #perfection #ladolcevita

And behind the scenes with Maestro Pappano and his @accademiadisantacecilia: a glimpse into the PROCESS which I love so much as we create our journey to prepare for the magic of the audience’s arrival. Thank you all for making our hard work so worthwhile!

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There will always be more freedom to acquire and more truth to uncover.

~ Joyce DiDonato