I read an interview recently with Anna Netrebko where she said she simply cannot study one role while she's singing another one. She said she can only focus on one thing at a time, so she just has to wait til one is finished til she can study another one. I get that. Let me tell you, singing a 20th century score, and playing a humorous and exaggerated spoiled child while madly studying an italian baroque score in which your character is a heroic man is a real mind-f*%k. It's possible, but there's a good chance I could be going slowly insane as a result. The other thing making me go insane is the fact that this role, in Pergolesi's L'Olimpiade is definitely the largest role I have ever learned in terms of recitative. I have something like 36 pages of recit, and on most of those pages, I sing A LOT. I stare at it and stare at it, I repeat it and repeat it, I sing it over and over, I write it down, I listen to my own coachings that I've recorded, but it still feels ENDLESS. It takes me a full hour to sing through the entire role (most of the roles I sing can get sung straight through in about 30 minutes from beginning to end - including Rosina and even Sesto in Clemenza). It's the kind of challenge that I would prefer to have a month completely free to work on every day with no distractions. But instead I study all day, and go sing "My Golden Ticket, Daddy I want one" at night. I'm certainly not the first singer to deal with this form of Schizophrenia, but I haven't ever been quite this busy. I love challenges, I really do. But I also stress myself way out as a result. The real challenge is to keep from becoming totally overwhelmed. I leave on Sunday.
I'm feeling really nervous about this gig in Innsbruck. First of all, I have to arrive a day late, and get off the airplane after flying all night from Chicago to Munich to Torino, and go straight to rehearsal that afternoon. That's going to be really horrible probably. Also, the first week of rehearsals for this opera are taking place in Mondovi, Italy, so we can rehearse with the musicians. Which means not only will I be walking off the plane to a rehearsal, but it will be an ORCHESTRA rehearsal. I have never rehearsed with an orchestra before rehearsing a long time with piano first, so that's giving me a stomach ache. Plus, the role is huge, and I just don't feel like I've had adequate time to get it into my blood. But I keep telling myself that every time I sing a new role I have anxiety that I don't know it well enough, and then I arrive and realize I actually know it really well. It'll be fine. It'll be fine. It'll be fine.
OH - and if you're hankering for even more Golden Ticket, check out this new video posted to the Opera Theatre of St Louis website. It's about the creation of the opera itself and the production, and a look into how the composer and librettist created the characters, with lots of onstage footage. Enjoy, and please send me all the good luck vibes you can muster about my next week or so of craziness!