Friday, May 29, 2009

Figgy pudding for your soul (?)

Yesterday was a full day.  Meet and Greet, sing-though of the whole opera, and then an evening staging session for Susanna and I.  I feel like I've been here for a week already.  

It is gorgeous here in Vermont.  I've never been here before and the scenery is breathtaking.  It was been rainy, so the mist on the mountains combined with the green pastures looks like something out of a movie.  Did I mention there is no cell phone service here?  Thank goodness for wifi and Skype.  

The cast all are top notch, and the maestro is adelight to work with.  This is such a different piece every time you do it.  Different tempi, different line readings, different phrasings- I felt like I was re-learning this piece from scratch listening to my colleagues yesterday, and that I had to step up my game just to keep up.  That's a good feeling.  

On the technique front, I'm glad to report that despite feeling a little residual throat nastiness, I made it through the whole show with no problems and felt really good about the vocalism.  Usually by the end I'm ready to cash in my chips, but I still felt pretty fresh.  I even threw in a tasteless cadenza up to a high G in "Non più andrai."  I think I'm back on the right track in how I'm thinking about singing this role.  Concentrate on quality of sound, not quantity.  Beauty, not steel.  Be the ball, Danny.

We staged the first scene through "Se vuol ballare" last night.  It's easy to do a paint by numbers staging of Figaro, but what is difficult is finding all the moment-to-moment, um, moments.  There is so much that happens in that first scene.  Introduce the characters, set up the idea of the wedding and the new room, find out about the Count's designs on Susanna, have a marital dispute, and come up with a scheme to turn the tables on the count.  

The transitions (as usual) are the tricky bits.  How do go from nice-guy Figaro to the ranting, jealous rager full of doubts and suspicions, and then go back again?  I've always seen Figaro as the alternative to Count, so I hesitate to fly off the handle as he does again and again later in the show.  But it is clear that the Big Fig is hot-headed and certainly not a pushover.  So how do you play that?  I'll let you know if I figure it out. 

Susanna and I had a costume fitting and photo shoot this morning.  I know I said that this blog was going to be about me and my experiences, not about my colleagues, but I just want to say that this is the most handsome, most comfortable, and best-fitting costume I've ever had as Figaro.  I want to buy it and take it with my everywhere.  The designer is a genius- her name is Robina D'Arcy Fox.  

Thanks for reading.  In my next entry I'll discuss how Beaumarchais' running guns to the U.S. during the Revolutionary War fits into my interpretation of the Act II finale.  No I won't.  



  1. Ah, the revolutionary war. Find a way, please to work in JA. Miss you.

  2. I read your last two posts. I think you should work in a metal themed headline into all your posts to help generate readership. Is your readership of one named Mel? Or is it Erika? I think at the height of my blogging career I had a readership of 3 (counting Hannah).