I've been thinking about how this year at Tanglewood is different than last summer. Besides the obvious - living in my own apartment and not the dorm, having a car, singing an opera that was written 40 years ago instead of 40 days ago - there is the fallout from the obvious.
Last year I was friends with everybody; this year I only know the singers. Singers are funny people, in that they like to talk about singing 90% of the time. That gets old to me real fast... So I've been seeking out some conductors and composers and the occasional woodwind player for a bit of conversational variety. Last night, in fact, I had a beer and a great convo with our conductor, Stefan Asbury, about creating music/art of your own culture in foreign countries. Stefan is British, so he knows whereof he speaks (seeing as how Midsummer was written by an Englishman). He also has the ability to consume large amounts of beer and still be perfectly lucid. Impressive, I tell you.
The reason I was friends with everybody last year was because I saw them all the time. This summer I'm much more solitary, which is weird. Granted, at home in Seattle I am often alone, but being alone at one's home and alone away from home are very different. I get along with all the singers, but I miss my intimate friendships. I miss being able to cry at some random beautiful thing and having three other people start crying with me! (You know who you are...) Here, people just say, "There she goes again!"
Another thing that's different this year is my position in the pecking order. I have seniority this time around. I'm not the only one, but I'm in that group; I'm a "re-invite." That's cool. And another thing that I haven't experienced before is having my colleagues look up to me technically, to ask me technic questions and to express admiration. That is beyond cool! It makes me work a bit harder, too, I think, in order to keep meeting or exceeding their expectations.
The most important difference between this year and last? Costumes. No more Dancing-Bullfighting-Horseheaded-Elvis for me! This year I am a dream in white satin, a la Ginger Rogers. I have my second fitting tomorrow; I'll try to get a picture. I have a sheer cape that is trimmed with ostrich feathers at both the neck and bottom. White satin Robert Fox shoes, and a corset/bustier type foundation garment that is the same design worn by all the women in this year's The Stepford Wives. Rumor has it that my costume alone cost over $5000. Woohoo! A platinum blonde fngerwave wig wll round out the look. I can't wait. As my friend Amanda would say, "I get to be the pretty pretty princess!" But I'll find out tomorrow if I can actually sing in that corset...