Not holy night, exactly, but I do have to keep my big yapper shut. When I meet people and tell them that I'm an opera singer, they often ask me questions about how I take care of myself, and whether I have to be careful about things like drinking and smoking and general carousing. I always tell them the same thing, which is that of all the vices that can be bad for your voice, the worst is actually just talking. You could go to a bar and drink and smoke all night long, but the thing that will really do you in is if you have to shout above the music all night. It's a curse because opera singers are of course, very communicative people, and love to yap it up good.
This weekend was no exception for me, since I had a dear friend decide at the last minute to come to Berlin for the weekend for her birthday, and I spent the whole weekend talking to her non-stop. My lovely friend Ariana is singing an opera in Gdansk, Poland, and had this weekend free from rehearsals. She decided to come see Berlin, and it was my pleasure to show her around this city that I have grown so fond of. She and I are like two peas in a pod, both adventure loving broads who want to explore every nook and cranny. We even found a great restaurant for her birthday dinner and translated the entire menu (which we found online) using google translator before we arrived. The waitress actually borrowed our little hand written paper so she could inform the other english only speaking diners that certain german words meant things like "pumpkin cream puff" and "catfish with roasted glazed beets." We felt sort of dorky and sort of proud of ourselves at the same time. I did my best to inform her about the history of the various monuments, armed with all the knowledge I learned on my two bike tours. However, my memory seems to be limited to memorizing music and blocking, so I'm sure I was horrendously misinforming her. I looooooved her being here, but I knew the instant she left I needed to shut up until tomorrow evening when I start warming up for tomorrow's performance, so that's what I'm doing.
This week and a half in between the performances has passed like a whirlwind. On Friday I sang an audition at the Deutsche Oper, and after starting with my standard Parto Parto, they asked for Rosenkavalier, which I had just learned so I could have a German aria for any auditions I sang in Germany. It's always weird to perform an aria for the first time when you haven't sung the role, but I think it went well, and I was glad I did it once and now can relax a little about it. The audition was on an empty stage with a tiny upright piano sitting on stage right, which I felt like I had to lean over sideways to hear. On one hand I like stage auditions because I love the opportunity to sing in these famous theaters, but I also find it very difficult to balance how much acting and movement to do when I'm on a big empty stage. In a little room, doing a mini - version of your dramatics feels almost normal, but on the big stage, I kind of want to go all out. Except when I'm singing "I go, I go, but YOU my love must blah blah blah" and the YOU is nowhere to be seen, it makes it kind of challenging. I usually picture the woman who sang Vitellia with me in Italy in her cool black costume lying on the floor (as she was in staging) before I begin. But with Rosenkav, they're definitely supposed to be in a bed, so there's only so much pretending I can do. Ack, auditions. Why can't everyone important just be at my performances? But only the performances I rock in, not the ones I'm nervous or insecure about.
I'm already a little sad that tomorrow will be my last Barbiere. But I'm beyond thrilled that I get to come back here in the winter and sing with the Staatsoper again, in a production that seems to get more and more exciting the more I learn about it. And I've also decided to stay over here in Europe for the month of October so I can do as many european auditions as possible, since I don't have to head back to the states until the beginning of November for my next gig. I've already fallen in love with France and Italy, and now Germany? I almost feel like I'm cheating on Italy with Germany, I'm loving it so much. I guess I'll have to wait and see what it's like in the winter to decide if this could be a long term love, or if it's just a summer fling. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying myself an awful lot.
Some of the things I'm loving about Berlin: