Just like last year, I am singing two Barber of Sevilles right in a row. However, last year, by strange coincidence, three of the singers remained the same between the two productions (it really was a coincidence - the companies were not related and none of us had the same agents or anything) so even though the director and the conductor changed, we definitely had developed our ways of doing things and it kept some sense of continuity for me. This time however (in Tampa, Florida), no one is the same, and in fact it seems like it might be the opposite in many ways.
First of all, with a new conductor comes all new tempos. I am marveling at Maestro Anton Coppola, who I'm told is 91 years old, and is sharp as a tack. He doesn't miss a thing - in fact, today he corrected my pronunciation on one word of the recit that I had apparently managed to mispronounce for the 5 previous productions and nobody noticed. But he's taking very different tempos than when I sang the opera two and a half weeks ago, so I have to get used to those. Plus, he is encouraging many of the schticky moments that were carefully removed from the last production, which is fun, but also a challenge when you have your mind wrapped around not doing them. But I'll admit, it's not that hard for me to put them back in - what can I say, I'm a hammy kind of girl. We only have about 19 days to stage the whole opera and perform it twice, so we're putting it on it's feet very quickly. I find myself just doing the staging I did last time, which comes in mighty handy when there isn't really time to put in details.
On another note, I just saw an author I like, Malcolm Gladwell (Blink, The Tipping Point) being interviewed on CNN about a new book he wrote called Outliers. The book is about people who achieve great success in all different fields and what they have in common. He said that the one thing they all seem to have in common is that none of them got really good at what they were doing until they had been doing it for between 10 and 11 years. Even Mozart, he claims, didn't start composing his true masterpieces until he was 22 and he had been composing since he was 11. Well, this past summer was the 10 year anniversary of my first professional singing job (shut up - I was VERY young and still in school), so according to this author, I am totally about to hit my masterpiece prime and pump out the good stuff. And actually, it's true that I sort of did start to finally feel like I know what I'm doing more often than not in the last year, so maybe he's right, and I'm just about to fully hit my stride. Or, maybe I should start counting from when I started taking singing lessons, and I should have been at my peak when I was 20 years old. Either way, I should definitely be good at something by now.