(sidebar: I'm trying to figure out if I can write this trip off, since I sang an excerpt from 'Cosi fan tutte' during the ceremony. Is that legit? Oh, also...we almost didn't make it to Boulder because we were following the timeline set for us by former stage manager and current assistant to the Artistic Director of the Guthrie, Katie Koch. The timeline was brilliant- the only problem was it was for a flight that left an hour later than ours in fact did. I told Koch that little tidbit en route to downtown Minneapolis and man, you've never seen three luggage toting people move so fast. As I was frantically checking us in via my Blackberry, we realized that the Twins game had just let out and our brilliant plan of taking mass transit to the Airport was now going to be a complete, well, train wreck. We sprinted to the nearest taxi, and luckily got a cabbie who, when seeing that the highway was a parking lot, took us to the airport via the River Road [all the while hocking loogies into a clear plastic cup]. We got through security and to the gate right as they were boarding. It was brilliant, skin-of-the-teeth episode. I only include it here because it seemed very Figaro-esque, and, oh yeah, I promised Koch I would mention her in the blog. Moral of the story: never trust an off-duty stage manager).
Back to task. I drove in to Milwaukee yesterday morning. It was a 5 hour trip and I had about 20 minutes to check in to my hotel, change my clothes, warm up, and run to rehearsal. I was either so jacked up on caffeine from the drive or so nervous to actually be rehearsing Barber of Seville that I was shaking during the first half of Largo. The beautiful thing about this place, though, is that you're working with friends. After I realized that I was just singing with Pasquale and Jamie, I relaxed and started enjoying it, and actually had a pretty great rehearsal. If I can sing it after driving in the car for 5 hours, I should be able to do this thing. Right?
I probably sound paranoid, and you're going to hear (read) a lot of this. Figaro has always been sort of a pinnacle role for me- that unattainable goal, impossible dream, unreachable star, whatever you want to call it. As a young singer with lots of technical issues but good stage savvy, I ended up singing a lot of basso buffo roles- Don Alfonso, Don Pasquale, and Bartolo in the Barber of Seville. In fact, I sang Bartolo here at the Skylight. 10 YEARS AGO. Now I'm a decade older, singing a role 30 years younger. Call me the Benjamin Button of opera. Anyway, the point is that I always knew I was a baritone at heart, and that if I worked hard enough I would figure out all the technical crap that was hanging me up. In my mind, Figaro was the measuring stick role for me. If I could sing that, well, then I had truly learned something about singing.
Here I am.
Have I learned anything about singing? Well. I'll find out, won't I?
12 performances of a fiendishly difficult role. A company that has national attention right now. Controversy. Contracts pulled and reinstated. To quote my friend Artsy Schmartsy, I had 'better not suck.' Indeed. I couldn't be working on this piece at a more supportive place or with a more supportive team. Yeah, I'm freaked out, but excited. Sing through tonight.
Here's a quote about Beaumarchais (and by proxy Figaro) from his friend Gudin:
Thus it was, that in every circumstance throughout his life he was entirely absorbed in the thing at hand, without worrying about what had gone before or what would follow, so sure he was of his faculties and his presence of mind. He never needed to rehearse. his mind was never diminished in any way, and his principles were so sound that they never failed him.Here's hoping a little of that rubs off on me.