Singing while sick is never ideal, but sometimes it is inevitable. In this case, it turned out to be an allergy issue, rather than a virus or bacterial infection. I went to see a doctor on the Wednesday of tech week (Friday night opening) and came away with a prescription for antibiotics, just in case, but we both felt that they would be useless. Instead: Sudafed, Mucinex, Tylenol, neti pot... and boxes and boxes of tissures. I spent most of the week in bed, drinking tons of water and trying to eat enough to keep my energy up. B was on a gig about three hours away, so he came down on to see the final dress rehearsal and spend his day off with me. So much fun, hanging out with a miserable sick person on your day off! It was great to have some quiet time together, and of course I valued having his eyes and ears in the audience.
Overall, I was really happy with my Zerlina experience. The allergy/cough didn’t get in the way too much, but the thing that upset me the most was that my middle voice was weakened! During the whole rehearsal period, I’d been so happy with my strong mix-y middle voice (the notes on the staff, especially lower on the staff). But when one has a cough, the vocal cords get slammed together over and over, which causes swelling, which is most noticable in the range of the singing voice that is closest to speech, aka, the middle voice. Damn. I was hoping to be a full-voiced Zerlina, and I was happy with my arias and duets, but in the ensembles I just didn’t feel like I had enough “umph” to cut through. Meh. No great loss, as everyone has said to me “No one ever hears Zerlina at this point anyway.” (pout)But I wanted to be heard always!(/pout)
One thing that I loved about Zerlina was discovering endless ways of interpreting her character. Pure innocent? Opportunistic gold-digger? True? False? Some combination of all of the above? I think I played her differently every night, and I loved it. Now, playing a character differently doesn’t mean that you change your blocking or do other things that might disrupt the flow that your colleagues (onstage and in the pite) have established. It’s all about the language - being comfortable enough with the Italian words to choose different ways to say the line. All that work I did with Susanna's recits last year have paid off!
The easiest scene in which to play with different “line readings” was the scene before “Batti batti.” (Opera 101 Moment: In this scene, Zerlina is trying to make up with Masetto, her fiancee, after she dissed him to spend some quality time with Don Giovanni.) How many different ways can you say “I’m sorry. Yes, I messed up, but I think you might be overreacting?” hehe
All in all, it was a great experience. We felt like we really hit our stride - on closing night! Sometimes, you don’t want a gig to end so soon...