Right now, as I am preparing my apartment for 4 months of absence, in addition to being entertained by the large naked man changing his clothes in front of his window directly across the street, I am also listening live to the Opera Now podcast. The boss and creator of the podcast, Michael Rice, worked at Caramoor with my best friend, which is how I first came to know about the show. It's just several funny, educated people sitting around talking about opera, and specifically the news from the world of opera for the week. The reason I like it is that while it's an educated discussion, it's not overly-intellectualized. So much of opera reporting, especially the way we view it in this country, is highly erudite and has a feeling of elitism. I like the idea that people can sit around and talk about opera in plain speech, make jokes about it when necessary, and can still make interesting commentary about what's going on today. Plus I support any person who finds a way to incorporate the word butthole into a discussion about opera.
But I'm freaking out a little as this week begins. I'm not entirely sure what I should be doing with myself knowing what I have coming up. First of all, because I'm singing my millionth Barber, I feel unsure about how much preparation I should be doing before I leave. As I have mentioned, I tend to be one of those people who always thinks I will be under-prepared, and then ends up being way over-prepared. I decided that I should have a coaching on Barber with my usual coach last week, just to check in on little things like the Italian double consonants and little bits of recit I didn't do in the last production. I was almost laughing at myself during the coaching because I didn't even need to refer to my score once. I think by now Rosina is officially in my blood. But I was also really enjoying singing the role yet again, because with a role so ingrained in my consciousness, I can find a ton of nuances with each new go at it. So I don't really need to be studying Rosina every day and night. But still, I feel weird not looking at the score incessantly knowing I'm about to start rehearsals. What can I say, I'm a freak.
Then there's the fact that I am also learning this world premiere for St Louis, The Golden Ticket. I won't be able to come back to New York after Portland because I go directly to St Louis to begin rehearsals, and since I haven't been in Portland in a long time, I'm not really sure what the coaching situation is there. So I have to hope there is a pianist who can work on the score with me, because with a modern opera I definitely need a few work-throughs with a pianist before I begin rehearsals to makes sure I am solidly aware of what's going on in the orchestra while I'm singing. So I'm trying to learn as much of it as I can this week and coach it a couple of times before going to Portland. And learning a new opera always stresses me out a little in the beginning. At first, I think to myself, "I will never, ever know how this goes." And then comes a turning point when I start to make sense of it all in my head, but until then, I feel like I can't even read music. That's the stage we're in right now.
Then there's the fact that I'm leaving for such a long time and I can't even imagine how I'm supposed to pack for 4 months. I just stand in my room, looking around at my closets and drawers, completely dumbfounded. In fact, that's what I was doing while listening to the podcast that I mentioned earlier. Just standing there, staring into my closets, and basically asking my clothes which ones wanted to see Oregon, St Louis, and Austria. I just want them to pick themselves so I'll have one less thing to worry about. If only.
Of course, these are all lovely problems to have. And even though I feel stressed, I quite like it. It's the good kind of stress. Oooh - the naked man in the window is back. Gotta love new york.