Sorry to keep that vomitous post at the top for so long! It’s been a busy week, and I’ve had a lot on my mind, so a “kitchen sink” post will have to do for today.
Glamorous: As I was tottering home from last night’s Gala in my 3.5 in. heels, a voice came over my left shoulder: “It’s a glamorous life, isn’t it?” It was Tom, the head of the wig department (both here and in Santa Fe), offering a tongue-in-cheek summary of the evening. All dolled up, the work done, heading home in the rain to get some food.
I thought of his comment when I got home and read that Netrebko and Villazon had given another Gala performance last week in Paris. That means they sang (and attended the Gala party afterward) on Wednesday night, flew to NYC on Thursday, rehearsed throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, were fitted for costumes and wigs, had one musical rehearsal with the maestro on Sunday, had ONE shot at a rehearsal with orchestra and chorus on Monday, and sang a very high-profile broadcast performance on Tuesday. Glamorous?! Sounds like a terribly stressful and exhausting life to me.
A perk: I have always thought that a mark of “making it” as a singer would be having designers give me clothes to wear when I sing, in exchange for telling people how much I love them. (The clothes, not the people.) Well, can you believe, it has happened!
Jocelyn suggested a while ago that we approach a young designer about collaborating with us for this recital, dressing us in his or her designs in exchange for blurbs in the program and publicity. It’s a perfect idea, really, totally in keeping with the idea behind the VIM series: new approaches to the “recital” and collaborations between young artists. And what is in more need of a makeover than the staid, stuffy recital dress? So I emailed a designer a few days ago and was thrilled when she responded this morning with a “yes!” Details to come, but you can imagine how excited I am!!
Onstage: Today was the day, the day I first set foot on that venerable stage. We had a three hour Suor rehearsal this morning, and rather than being down in the basement, we were on the stage, on the set. And – oh, man – was it exciting. My fellow “Novice,” in more ways than one, is LW; she and I are both making our debut in this production, and we have been absolutely silly with excitement for weeks now. (She also was an Elf-cover in Helena.) The veterans onstage with us, chorus women as well as the other principles, are very kind to us. They tolerate our giddiness, and often smile at us with a look that says, “I remember my first time.”
Now that I think about it, this really is a special role in which to debut. Mr. O’Brien is making several “teaching moments” out of the early scenes in the opera, instructing the elder nuns to take time to teach us, the Novices, about some history or ritual or even gossip about life in the abbey. He has pointed to us and said, more than once, “They are new here; they don’t know about this.” Or he has told them, “When you sing this to them, remember the first time you learned about it.” And while that is true for our characters in the opera, it is even more true for us, LW and ACB.
There is so much we don’t know about working at the Met. Traditions, secrets, unwritten rules, how to get from Payroll to the Artists’ Area without getting lost. The parallels between LW and ACB, debutantes at the Met, and Sister Who’s It and Sister What’s It (we’re still thinking of our characters’ names…), Novices in the Abbey, are strong. I feel blessed to be having this experience of induction, of instruction, of welcome into this wonderful community. Very blessed.
Bloggity blog blog: My mind has also been occupied this week with thoughts of the blog and its purpose, yet again. I was interested to see the Distracted Dilettante touch upon the idea of “blogging = narcissism,” since someone close to me basically said the same thing this week. I kept quiet here until I knew I had something to say, rather than posting for posting’s sake, and I’m still mulling some things over in my mind on this subject.
Why does it matter for me to share with “the blogosphere” my excitement about wig fittings (today!) and musical rehearsals with James Levine (tomorrow!) or my thoughts on building an opera career? These days, with the Bhakti Project on the table, there is certainly a larger aim: fundraising to pay for a new piece of music. But what about the rest? Is it really just me saying “look how cool I am?” Is it, as I have sometimes thought in the past, a substitute for my much-missed teaching days? Maybe all of the above. All I know at this point is that I’m not ready to stop; this is a community that I enjoy being a part of, and I’m honored to make my contribution.
Tomorrow’s rehearsal excitement? The donkey comes to the abbey! I’ll take pictures…