Saturday, August 19, 2006

My real life Prince Charming

It’s that time of the summer when the workers at the Santa Fe Opera are looking a little weary: we’ve all survived the famed PRESS WEEK, which finds countless international critics, as well as every major player on the domestic operatic team in attendance, waiting with bated breath to see what this season has in store for them. As much as I’d like to say I don’t pay any attention to that rigmarole, as I’m warming up for THE show where said attendees are waiting to pass judgment, I do feel an extra surge of “holy crap” pulse through my body. There is no getting around the fact that every thing you will do will be scrutinized up and down – not by an eager “Joe Public” type, but by THEM. The industry insiders that only seem to be out to get us all!!

OK, so I’m exaggerating, but if one isn’t careful, this is the mentality that can pervade your mind as you’re preparing to do your job. You just KNOW they’re going to hate you and say, “How in the world did SHE ever get hired for this role?” I really try to avoid this mind set, but it’s not easy, let me tell you. How do I approach such a daunting performance? I sincerely try to go back to the fundamental reason of why I do this: that it really shouldn’t be about ME, I want it to be about the public, and the fact that they’ve come to be carried away for a few hours. However, the reality is that ‘those insiders’ are the ones who have to keep hiring me in order for me to be in front of the public, so I want desperately that they ‘like’ me, but in the end, it’s just not about ‘them’ – it has to be about ‘you’. And that is what carries me through a show like that.

The other thing I count on is my rehearsal process; anytime I’m nervous for any particular reason, I can mentally go back and ‘see’ that I’ve rehearsed well, fully, and hopefully thoroughly, and that knowledge is what carries me through. I’ve had to rely on that a number of times, and if I’ve done my work in the rehearsal, it has yet to let me down.

Now we’re only 2 shows away from closing, and the cast is starting to look around and think, “we have to say goodbye in one week”. That is never easy, and it is one of the elements that make this life difficult: you create a sense of family in a very intimate and deep way, and then BAM! Everyone goes away to write the next chapter of their life, which may not include you. Luckily, experience is teaching me that this separation is never too final, because the opera world is small, and we always find a way to cross paths again, picking right back up where we left off. For this, I’m very thankful.

(My Cendrillon Family)

Speaking of family, I haven’t only been singing this summer (as the photos on this site suggest!) Given the proximity of Santa Fe to Las Vegas, Leonardo (who I have sometimes referred to as my ‘real Prince Charming’) and I eloped last week! I don’t normally like to talk about my personal life in great detail on this forum, because it’s not intended for that purpose, but I truly can’t help sharing the news. This is the closest thing I can find to shouting it from the rooftops! We were married on a Gondola at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas (the closest thing to uniting his background with mine), and it was the most magical day of my life.

So for many reasons, it has been a truly magical summer. I’ve run myself a bit into the ground, which worries me just a bit. The idea at the start of the summer was to find vast amounts of rest and relaxation, time to recuperate. Well, with a role as demanding as this one (not to mention rewarding, I might add), numerous visitors (most welcome, to be sure), lots of recreational activities (not one of which I would trade in), countless social commitments (always a priority here in Santa Fe), and general amounts of responsibility, it adds up to a MOST hectic few months, leaving me at the finish line a bit run down. I’m still searching for that seemingly unattainable goal of perfect BALANCE. The idea that Spain is next on my travel itinerary gives me hope, knowing that the Spanish truly seem to know how to relax and take things at a slightly slower pace! I will be ready for them!

However, I wouldn’t change a thing, for it has been a summer of growth and experience and adventure! We’ve met truly WONDERFUL people, seen extraordinary sights, experienced the best in theater and dance, and, well, we got MARRIED! What else could I possibly ask for? While I might complain about being a bit run-down, I certainly won’t, for one millisecond, say that I am anything less than blessed!

Here’s to a wonderful close to the summer!

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