I have basically lost track of time here, as we spend all of our time in the theater mirroring and running Cosi fan tutte. I have gone through many phases of love and hate in my relationship with Despina, and I am happy to say that I love her now. She is now somewhat part of me, and I am hoping her character will continue to take hold of me instead of myself directing the character to where I want it to be. I think she is a bit more disillusioned than I am playing her. I have one more run of the opera before my one performance, which will be on Saturday.
The program has become very intense. Four casts is alot of people to be preparing one opera, and the situation is even more busy for some, as there are 4 Despinas but only two Dorabellas and Fiordiligis, and only one Don Alfonso. What this translates into is in order for the Despinas to get equal time on stage, the Dorabellas and Fiordiligis must sing the opera twice in one day, and Don Alfonso must sing up to 4 times in one day! On top of all of this, most of the singers were too sick to sing up until very recently. However, we staged the opera in 9 days and we are now doing run-throughs until the weekend. The show opens on Thursday.
A week ago, we had the opportunity to sing for the dramaturge of the German National Theater in Weimar. This was an audition workshop situation, but most people treated it as a real audition, as the dramaturge sits on the panel for auditions for the house itself. In spite of sickness, everyone sang very well and he gave us a real audition experience and some great feedback. I started with Chacun le sait, and he asked what else I had. I ended up singing two other big arias for him before he gave me my feedback. He said that my high register was fantastic and that my lower register was not loud enough to carry over a large orchestra; he also told me to work on getting some depth in my acting – instead of just putting on the ‘charm’, I am to find the deeper, darker side of these characters. I completely agree with him on that. The next day, the director of our program told me that Dissmeier was very impressed with my audition. I intend to pursue this contact – we’ll see what happens in spring. 🙂
Last weekend, we had a concert scheduled in Bremen, which is in Northern Germany. We took a bus for 5 hours to Bremen, leaving in the morning so we would have a chance to see the city. I loved it!! Bremen is an independent state in Germany so it has a very unique feel, and it is very beautiful and cheerful. After a bit of madness in thinking that we lost someone and trying to get food as quickly as possible, we headed out to a very picturesque property where our concert was to be held. The house was old and full of beautiful furniture and antiques, and it opened onto a stone patio surrounded by a type of moat. There were English-style gardens, including an outdoor amphitheater, and horse stables with GORGEOUS horses (really made me miss riding).
We were served a supper of suppe 😉 and prepared for the concert. I had been nervous all week and especially all that day because I was singing My dear Marquis… in German, which I had only started learning that week, and for a German audience. I had seen it as a challenge when I agreed to sing it but right before the concert I was wondering why I had committed to that – there are alot of words in that aria, and my brain kept on switching into English as I have been singing that aria forever in English. But time goes on, and finally I got up to sing the aria, which I had never sung off-book. HOW EMBARASSING! I forgot about a third of the words, and by the end of the aria had to be prompted by the pianist at the beginning of every line. I felt so helpless and so embarassed! However, I decided if I was going to forget the words, I would at least maintain a professional composure by singing and acting well. At the end of the aria, I am sure I was blushing like a tomato but I nailed the high D with the help of a nice tight ass, and I did get some pretty good applause. I felt good about the general performance, but I have never messed up so badly on stage before in my life. I was so embarassed that I did not want to go out and schmooze with the people, but when I swallowed my pride and spoke to them (in broken German), they said that my piece was so much fun and that they enjoyed it so much. At least it was memorable!
After the concert, things started to get silly. There was an open bar at the concert so we all had too much wine, then we went to a restaurant for dinner and had even more to drink. Because of bus driver laws in Germany, we had to wait until 12:40 to leave Bremen (the bus driver needs a 9 hour break after a 5 hour drive). We ended up waiting by the side of the country road until the bus driver arrived, an hour and a half late. We hadn’t been warned that we would have to sleep on the bus, so we all had a horrible night on the bus, even with the help of alcohol. We finally stumbled into our house in Weimar at 6:30am the next day. What a day!
As I mentioned, this week is production week and we also get to sing agent auditions this week. I am hoping to get some more positive feedback. The agents will also be present for my performance on Saturday night. Mom, Auntie Pat, Corinne and Iannis will all be there to see my European debut ;)…. it promises to be a very good time!