I’m in a hotel, in a comfortable chair at the window, looking out on the State Theater and listening to the wind. This day was filled with yet another icy drive and then six hours of music written approximately 220 years after the Mozart masterpiece I’ve been immersed in for the past three weeks. It hardly seems possible that 24 hours ago I was slinking out of yet another post-show party, headed home to get as much sleep as I could before moving on to this next job. New city, new collaborators, new concert...
But let me not get carried away waxing philosophical… Ma non perdiamci in vano! I’ve got a show to document! Time for bullet points.
* In the final dress rehearsal, there were two lines that I’d previously stumbled on over and over that I finally got right. One of them was in Act III, when (spoiler alert!) Marcellina and Bartolo have been revealed as Figaro’s parents. On Wednesday I finally said “Let’s go tell Madama and my uncle about our adventures!” in the correct order and in smoothly flowing Italian. The line that comes immediately after couldn’t have been more appropriate: Chi al par di me contento? - Who could be has happy as I am?!
* I hit most of the things I’d been struggling with and focusing on, but, of course, there were things I missed that had always been solid. Not many, at all, and overall I was very pleased. I didn’t quite get the Act II Finale down as well as I would have liked; that is one hell of a sing!! By Saturday I had learned how to keep my body calmer (more on this is a stagecraft post soon) and I was much happier with the result, but I think I’m going to need another run at the show before I’ll really make it through as well as I’d like.
* First “wardrobe malfunction” on Friday night: the uncooperative veil. In my zeal with the wedding veil in the opening scene, I managed to get it stuck in my wig! Uh-oh… quick! Switch to Multi-Voice Brain Mode! I kept on with the recit with Figaro, working all the while to get the veil out of my wig. One voice was making witty repartee in Italian, and another was saying, “Oh, so it’s going to be one of those nights, huh?” After a few lines, Figaro was standing in front of me and my line was Sei tu mio servo o no? - Are you my servant or not? As I said it, I pointed to my head, asking for his help! He got the hint, and we kept on with the scene. We missed one cute bit of blocking in dealing with the veil, but all in all we came out unscathed. MB was a wonderful stage partner at all times, but especially at the unpredictable moments. I feel blessed to have had such a wonderful partner for my first Susanna. Thank you, Mullethead!
* The Second: In Act IV, in the fit of pique that comes upon Susanna when Figaro is teasing her, I stormed around behind MB, resisting the urge to hit him with my fan. I turned on my heel to march Stage Left and sing my asides when BAM - I was on the boards. I managed to land on my softest parts, and so I wasn’t hurt, but I did break a nail. As one part of my head went on and somehow managed to keep singing (che smania, che furor! indeed), there was a voice that - honestly - worried about my nails! There was yet another voice that said “This is NOT the time to be thinking about your nails. Get back in the game!”
I wore a different veil at this point in the opera, and I’d been struggling with it throughout tech week. We finally had it secured for opening night, but as soon as I landed after the fall, it popped right off. I fought with that thing so much during rehearsals that it seemed fitting somehow that it wouldn’t cooperate in performance, either! I picked it up, did my best to get it back into my wig until the blessed moment when I got to throw it across the stage.
* I had friends in the audience for the final dress and opening night, and I found myself wondering how things were being received… They are both musicians, one a singer and one an instrumentalist; it’s always a bit of a head game having knowledgeable peers in the audience. It’s not just a matter of “will they like the show?” Knowing their areas of expertise or snobbery (stagecraft, musicality of a high degree, general love and knowledge of opera), every time I got back to my dressing room and had a brief ACB moment, I wondered… how was it going? I certainly didn’t change anything because of their presences; I just wondered. It was fun reviewing the show with them, and they told me they loved it. Whether they were being honest or just being kind, I was so grateful for their presence, feedback, support, friendly faces and shared brunches.
* Briefly noted: Singing “Deh vieni” in context was just as wonderful as I’d hoped. I was so proud to stand in the wings and hear my colleagues kicking ass on their arias. I ate a Clif bar every night during the Act II / Act III intermission. Cute shopping in the Grand Rapids area: Paperdoll! Tomorrow I’m buying another suitcase... Good night, Ann Arbor!!