Friday, May 20, 2005

Pampering and Cramming

So I’m striking an interesting balance these days between overworking and being self-indulgent. I’m pretty stressed about all I have to do and learn before leaving for Santa Fe in a week, and so in order to not let stress make me sick (as it has a few times this year), I’m trying to pamper myself a little more than usual. Yesterday I was feeling really run down, complete with the fuzzy head that is often a sign of an impending cold. So, instead of studying the fabulously complex choruses of Peter Grimes, I took a nap. I woke up feeling clear-headed, and was able to get some good studying in after dinner.

In years (ok, months) past, I would have just pushed through the fuzzy-headed-ness, working and stressing and ignoring my body’s warning signs until I just shut down. It’s been a hard lesson to learn that by taking an hour (or two!) to just be still, which is easiest for me to do if I’m asleep, I can be more productive in my day, not less. Of course, I can’t take an hour nap everyday, but I’m learning to do so when instructed by my overworked Self.

More pampering is scheduled for this afternoon: I’m getting my hair cut and colored, most likely back to my former (and natural) dark blonde. Sigh. I love being a redhead, but I am not ready for the commitment and maintenance required. My well-bred mother taught me that I should never show my toes if my polish was chipped, so I can only imagine what she would say about undied roots! We never had lessons on root-maintenance, as my mother is au natural and beautiful, but somehow I don’t think an inch of dark blonde at the crown of one’s red head meets the standards of the Pabor women.

But speaking of toes: I got a pedicure a couple of weeks ago with my friend Chiara, and now I’m hooked on them. I mean, seriously, no chipped polish. Ever! My mother would approve. And, for some reason, I would much rather spend $40 every six weeks to get a pedicure than spend $50 (or more) every two months to keep my hair colored. Call me crazy. Maybe it goes back to that “never been good with my hair” thing. But I love my feet.

Anyway… Somewhere in amidst all this pampering I have two operas to finish memorizing. I’ve never had to memorize a chorus part before, and it’s tricky. I think choruses often have more music than individual characters, for one thing. And we need to be much more precise. For better or worse, soloists have a little leeway with precision. The recording of Turandot that I’ve been listening to incessantly is a live recording from the Met, starring Placido Domingo and Birgit Nilsson in 1970, and it demonstrates this fact. When you add stage business, distractions from things going differently night to night, and the energy of performing to the music you’ve memorized and rehearsed, you’re bound to come in half a beat late or early hear and there. But you catch up, get back with the conductor, and move forward, no one the wiser. But in the chorus, you don’t really have this luxury. The chorus is a mob, usually acting as one voice, and therefore has to sound like it. Staggered entrances and cut-offs are the mark of an amateur group, and I just don’t think that will make the grade at Santa Fe. So I’m doing my best to be prepared. But what worries me? I won’t have any idea how ready I am until that first rehearsal…

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