Friday, May 23, 2008


Hi everybody. I have been sorely lapsing in my blogging "duties" this last week or so. I think it's because my parents have been here, and with the three of us stuffed into my little one bedroom apartment, I haven't been feeling the silence and solitude that seems to inspire me to blog. Well, today I shipped them off to Milan (I told them not to bring their umbrellas and now it's pouring rain - I hope it's not storming like this 80 miles east!!!) and am feeling inspired to write a line or two about this momentous performance week.

Actually the week has been momentous for many reasons. First of all, my parents being here in Italy with me is of course very special and exciting and also challenging. While my parents are totally self sufficient and capable people, for some reason I feel the need to baby them while they're here, and worry all over them that they are "doing okay" and understanding everything. I don't know why I feel the need to do this - they certainly don't ask me to - but somehow I feel responsible if they have even a moment's confusion about a sign or a menu item, and feel the need to translate and manage, as is my way. Of course, they couldn't be more accommodating, proud, and supportive, and thank god they were here for my performances because if they weren't I would have drudged back to my apartment all alone and felt sorry for myself that I was experiencing this momentous occasion solo.

What's been really interesting to me is to see my burgeoning italian skills tested to the limit as I try to translate everything everyone is saying to mom and dad. It's one thing to put bits and pieces of words together in your mind and understand the gist, but to try to put those bits and pieces into english sentences is a skill I still need a lot of work on. We went to this museum that was a former palazzo and fortress, and my dad wanted to know what all the small holes on the outside of the castle were for, so I asked the docent on duty. She started explaining in rapid fire italian about the 15th century Madama of the palace, some stuff about protection, the moat, gun holes, lookout, and lots of words I wasn't familiar with, and I'm pretty sure she didn't take a breath during any of those sentences. I was basically translating words I knew and trying to string them together into some semblances of english sentences. My parents seemed impressed, although I wouldn't give them a test on the history of Torino any time soon based on that encounter. Also last night, the lovely Vincenzo invited my parents and I over to his apartment to help prepare and serve an italian meal for us and some other members of the cast. It was funny, Vincenzo was the only Italian present (the others were swiss, spanish, and south american) but the common language was Italian, so that's what we spoke. Sometimes I would try to clue my parents in on what was going on, like when people were laughing hysterically at something, but a lot of the time I couldn't possibly be myself and contribute to the conversation and be a translator. Again, lucky for me I have such easy going parents, and they managed to never look bored despite the language barrier.

And the other momentous occasion this week was my Italian/European debut! It's been both totally normal and completely surreal, so I haven't even known what exactly to write about it. Performing by now is just something I do no matter what country I'm in, so once I get onstage, it's like any other performance. It only feels different when I'm backstage joking with the supers in Italian, or when another cast member whispers something in italian to me while we're onstage. But it's pretty exciting to discover that music is truly it's own language, and that even when I'm having trouble communicating with Italian people with spoken words, I can communicate to them perfectly in this language that I've been studying since I was 9. I don't fancy myself a particularly highbrow musician in general, but I do feel all gooey inside about this particular opera and role, and I have been really enjoying myself during the performances, something that is not always possible for me. I have one more to go, tomorrow night, and both my american agent and my new french agents, who have never seen me perform in an opera, will be in attendance. My goal is to not let any of that have any affect on my enjoyment of and commitment to my performance.

In other news, it appears that I may actually stay in Italy for an extra week and do a couple of auditions. That ought to give me plenty of time to keep blogging.


Matt Morgan said...

Jennybear!!! I sat here in my underpants drinking coffee reading your entire blog! You really need to keep doing this religiously and get it published as a book. I don't use the aol anymore (thus me not reading this until now) my email is the same except for gmail instead of aol. Break a leg on your final show and know that tutti vostro amici americana aspettiamo qui lei ritornare. T'amo tanto e ci vediamo, M

Anonymous said...

John, anche noi amici italiani, diciamo a Jenny che "aspettiamo che lei ritorni qui. L'amiamo perchè è una persona stupenda!"

P.S.: Jenny, ti piace la tua foto mentre suoni la "ciaramella"? E' sul mio blog. :-P

Anonymous said...

Ledyes and gentlemann,
today, May 24th, Janny is become a DIVA!
The pubblic of Regio Theatre is driven crazy at the end of the show, when her Sesto come out for the applause.
And when janny exited from the theatre people was whaiting for her and they have screaied: Bravaaaa!
This is an important and deserved prize for Jenny's italian first experience.

Jenny, in bocca al lupo per il tuo futuro!