Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wasn't I just in St Louis yesterday?

Okay, now it's Tuesday, and I left St Louis Sunday, so I guess it was technically the day before yesterday. But wasn't I just performing The Golden Ticket on Saturday night? Those were the thoughts running through my head as I made my way out of the converted Monastery and up the cobblestone hill near the clock tower which overlooked the green and rolling hills of northern Italy. What the hell?

After a the crazy travel day (which I'm still editing the video blog about) I arrived in Italy and managed to sleep for about 9 hours last night, and awoke feeling ready for the day. And thank GOD - because what a day it was! I had an hour long session with the harpsichord player which was all in Italian (apparently I do remember how to speak the language), a two hour long session with the conductor where we went through all four of my dacapo arias several times, and then a 3 and a half hour rehearsal with the orchestra. I did pretty well until about the last hour of the orchestra rehearsal when both my brain and my voice gave up on me, and I started making all kinds of mistakes and singing cadenzas that sounded like they had been composed by Schoenberg. But luckily everyone involved in the production is exceedingly nice and supportive, and the orchestra sounds absolutely amazing. I have had such luck to now work with two exceptional baroque bands - first the one in Berlin and now this one - and WOW do I feel grateful. And after all my kvetching and worrying about whether or not I was going to be prepared, the first thing the harpsichordist said to me was "Wow - you really studied everything well!" Typically, I was worried for nothing.

I also had a kind of euphoria walking around Mondovi this morning. It was sunny, I had a perfect italian cappucino, and was wandering among the close pastel colored buildings and old churches and remembering why I fell in love with Italy in the first place. There is just something magical about this country for me - I feel that all is right with the world when I'm here, and it's not just the food. There is just something about the combination of the language that I so often sing in, the warmth of the people, the cultural traditions, and the history of the place that makes me feel a genuine contentment when I'm here. Every time I'm in Italy, I feel like the world is full of possibility.

But honestly, it's not just Italy that's making me feel like this - I'm feeling particularly euphoric these days as the result of something that has occurred recently in my personal life. Not long ago I wrote a post about what it's like being single and trying to find a relationship when you have the crazy life of an opera singer, and how challenging it can be. But I found out recently that when you meet the right person, it doesn't actually feel like a challenge at all - the only challenge is figuring out what time you're going to talk on skype when you're in time zones that are seven hours apart. It's true; sometimes you just know when it's right.

One last thing; I would like to suggest that you listen to at least the first 10 minutes of the most recent episode of this podcast. Not only was it a really fun and entertaining episode, but it will also make why I'm feeling like a a walking Rodgers and Hammerstein lyric abundantly clear.

6 comments:

Violette said...

That's a great way to start the day :
picturing Italy in the summer !
Thanks for this lovely views - by the way, some pictures of the place would hurt ! ;)
Welcome to this side of the Atlantic ! Hope you'll enjoy your summer here.
And keep thinking that the world is full of possibility, it helps us think the same !

Violette said...

Hmm, of course I meant that "some pictures wouldn't hurt"... but you surely got it!

And I would love to know how you "over-prepare" yourself for a new piece. I know nobody likes to talk about the way they work, but if you are willing to share it, please feel free to do so!

Anonymous said...

I knew it, Jennifer... Sometimes that special person is just around the bend. I am so happy for you and I hope you savor it, whatever it turns out to be. As you have courageously admitted, life on the road, life in opera, can be so lonely. And when you feel you are running on empty you are still expected to give of yourself, to leave it all on the stage. Not easy.

Also your description of the rigors of role preparation while in the middle of a completely different production, as well as the natural anxiety before a new job, was great. So glad your fears were unwarranted (American singers are known for their preparedness, as I am sure you have discovered - no spoon feeding for them!).

Wonderful you could do all of that rehearsal just after travel - opera singers are mighty amazing human beings, aren't they? Btw, your Handel clip was fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I hope you'll have a lovely time in Italy! Also so happy that you're so happy- what a wonderful way to start the summer!

Anonymous said...

I hope you'll have a lovely time in Italy! Also so happy that you're so happy- what a wonderful way to start the summer!

Tom said...

Hey -

Happy for you. Skype is a wonderful thing but the time arranging is sometimes challenging. We lv for Milan on Wednesday returning the 17th (5Terre and Rome as well).
You mentioned "when it's right.....". This trip not only for K's Barbiere but also to celebrate our 40th (6/20). WE knew it was right! Best, Tom