I will admit, that with most things Italian, I've been essentially in love. I keep talking about how wonderful it is to have the opportunity to sing here, and how fantastic it is to make music in a country that really sincerely appreciates art for the sake of art and not just for the sake of spectacle. And those things remain true. However. Today I discovered one thing I prefer about working in the states, and it is good old American exuberance. In the states, when somebody likes or appreciates your performance, they are not afraid to go out of their way to tell you. True, often they tell you that you were wonderful and then turn around and tell the next person that you sucked, but I'm talking about people who are sincere and who are willing to give you positive feedback, if you merit it. Here, it often feels like something of a vacuum. The director might give you a good job, the conductor might give you a brava, but that's where it ends. Maybe I'm just a baby, but I like it when if somebody thinks you were fantastic they scream it from the rooftops - that's what I do with colleagues about whom I feel particularly enthusiastic. But it's not just that they don't really say much, it's also that when I, in all my American splendor, choose to say something wildly complimentary to another colleague, they seem almost confused and at a loss as to how to respond.
All that said, I have to be happy about the way today's rehearsal went. Considering all the things that were unrehearsed and unknown, it went remarkably well, and I think I sang as well as I could have. I did my brand new ornaments and they worked, and I found a lot of details in the character even though I didn't feel like I'd lived in his shoes as much as I would have liked to. I also managed to mostly stay with the conductor despite some bizarre positions where I couldn't really see him and things being all different with the orchestra. All in all, even if nobody is patting me on the back, I am patting myself and realizing that being satisfied with yourself is all anyone really has anyway. Maybe working here I will not only get fatter, but also tougher. Not the best description if I were a cut of steak, but for an opera singer, maybe both things will help me.