One thing I love about this job, strangely enough, is that my life is cut into tiny compartments: a 2 month period in Chicago for Nozze, a 2-week recording session coming up in September (which I’m beyond excited about!), and for some time my debut as Elena in La Donna del Lago has been in the works. Finally it is here. I get to see the culmination of months of work and years of anticipation come to fruition tonight. (No pressure there!) Actually, there isn’t any pressure, essentially, because it’s pure joy for me to sing this piece and discover a completely different side to the composer I thought I knew so well!
Those “compartmental periods” keep me constantly appreciating the moment I am living. I have learned with a bit of experience that time flies without mercy or pity, and if I blink, I’ve slept through a world of riches. I know that 11 performances of Cherubino will be over before I know it, and so I had better soak up each moment. I know that I get ONE shot at making a solo recital recording, and I had better hit it out of the park giving my all in each phrase. I know that I get one chance to debut this beautiful role of Elena, and I don’t want to sleep through it, or psyche myself out to where I am not free to take her journey.
I’ve said this now numerous times, that the stage teaches me so much – to be alive in the moment, to enjoy the lesson at hand, and to live it as fully and freely as possible. That is my intention for tonight, and I hope the audience will come along for the ride with all of us. I’ve enjoyed the rehearsal process tremendously with this outstanding cast and team (a conductor and director working side by side in tandem from day one? Stop the presses!!!), and know that we will give it our all tonight!!
It’s not a “typical” interpretation of the opera, (you’ve been warned) but I do think it’s quite a deep, beautiful look into the life of a young girl in an oppressive, overwhelming, war-torn, provincial town who seeks to find a way to reconcile her dreams and thirst for freedom and love under the constraints of her duty and obligations. She escapes quite wildly into her dreams, and yet that persistent reality keeps forcing her to look at the real world and find a way to enter into it. Malcom becomes sort of a “guardian angel” type figure who appears at her darkest moments, and becomes a guide to Elena, helping her find a way to be true to herself. As I said, perhaps not “typical”, but it’s done with a lot of heart, providing the perfect platform for “Tanti affetti” to be a truly emotional outpouring of joy and gratitude. At least, that’s the idea…!
*Photos courtesy of the Grand Théâtre de Geneva