In tonight’s Figaro, I had both a big “oops” moment and a big “wow, this is awesome” moment. Sometimes you’re on, sometimes you’re off, sometimes even in the same show.
For my first recit in the wedding scene, when presenting the flowers to the Countess, I heard the chord in the harpsichord and just plain didn’t know what my note was supposed to be. I started high, but still in the key, and found my way back to the correct melody by the third word or so. But whooboy!! was that a scary split second! Kim, that’s truly where the improv opera came in handy!
The rest of the scene was fine; fun, even. The Act came to an end and I went back on for the aria, looking for the dang pin. (Side note: on Saturday, when I came into the scene to start looking, what should I see on the floor in front of me but an actual bobby pin! I thought, “Oh! here it is! No need to sing the aria, Maestro!”) I finished up, and we started the recit in which Figaro chides Barbarina for playing these grown up games all too well. We never do the scene exactly the same way twice, and today it was particularly fun.
Bryn usually lifts me by my arm off the floor, where I am crouched looking for – what else? – the pin. But today, I was in a bit of a different position, and he essentially grabbed me by the scruff of my neck! Like a cat, as JB said. He is a master of physicality onstage, so he never hurts me; but this was so different and unexpected that I think I squealed! When it was finally time to say my next line (“What? Are you mad at me?!”), I know that the pitches were approximate, ‘cuz I was speaking/singing as if I were getting picked on my big brother, which, in fact, was kind of what was happening. It was a little whiny, a little pouty, very like a little brat who’d gotten herself in a tricky spot. (Did anyone happen to record tonight’s Sirius broadcast? I’d love to hear it, if you did.)
The moment is hard to describe, but the whole scene was so much fun, as it always is. I never know when Bryn is going to actually let me have the pin that he’s holding; we play keep-away until he gives it up. We are six shows into this run, and every night I learn something new about my character, every night we all make things new. I am thrilled that I’m becoming comfortable enough with recit and Italian that I can “play” like this in performance. I only get two chances with Susanna in February, so I’m going to need to be ready. Ready to play!