Greetings from relatively ash-free Geneva where Spring is definitely making its welcome presence known.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Back to the lake, now…