Admittedly, I've missed the Thanksgiving Feast in the United States the past few years. Even so, I should have known better. Really - I DID know better: you never, EVER travel on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Ever. It's the busiest travel day in the universe. Everyone knows this. I knew this. I'm a good American. I grew up in the Midwest. I knew better.
And yet, somehow, in booking my ticket to Madrid to start the FURORE tour, Sunday the 30th seemed an innocuous date to me. Harmless. Perfect timing, really - I get an extra day at home with my husband and family. One more day of sleeping in my very own, actual bed! Another chance for a homecooked meal, cooked in my own home! I'll arrive in Madrid a full day early to catch my breath, set up shop and get ready to roll! Book it!
I was meant to fly out at 1:30 p.m. from Kansas City, arriving in Newark, NJ at 5:25 p.m. PLENTY of time to catch my 8:30 p.m. flight to Madrid. Olè! 11:00 a.m. I get a trip alert on my computer: flight delayed. We'd leave about an hour late, still leaving PLENTY of time to catch that 8:30 p.m. plane to Madrid. Olè. A half hour later ... they've moved it again back another hour ... etc. And so the games began.
I arrived like a good passenger, checking in on-time. No one had good news or answers, for the weather was not cooperating on the East Coast. (Did Mother Nature not get the memo that I needed to fly to Madrid to sing all my Handel???) The wait began, and it was not pretty. While I think Kansas City International Aiport is the best airport in the world for taking off and landing (you have to walk a total of about 30 feet for baggage claim and/or gates - it's a brilliant design!), it is, and I say this as a proud Kansas Citian, the WORST airport to twiddle your thumbs in. No shopping, no dining options, and no foot traffic, so even the great past time of people watching is kept to a minimum. Having lost my appetite early on, after 4 hours of waiting, I broke down and forced a stale bagel into my empty stomach. The Thanksgiving banquet of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and apple pie seemed like eons past.
More delays, false starts and unanswered questions, we finally got on board and off the run-way at 8:30 p.m. Arrival in Newark was 12:15 a.m. Yes, 7 hours late. And yes, way past the takeoff of my Madrid flight. I was told I needed to go to Customer Service to obtain vouchers, etc, and taking one look at the line, which surely would have run over 2 hours in wait time, I abandoned everything, hopped in a cab and high-tailed it to the Upper West Side to meet my husband, who had departed KC 3 hours after me and arrived safely in NY 3 hours earlier. (Different airline/airport for him, lucky guy!) So that was the silver lining - a chance meeting in NYC with my husband, who I had said goodbye to 12 hours earlier!
What this means is that I start this crazy tour a whole day off, which may not sound like much, but it's everything for a singer - it means one less day to adjust to the jet lag, a missed press luncheon (organized with blood, sweat and tears by the magnificent Teatro Real staff!), a bit of extra stress which never helps, and I have to march off the plane and walk right into 6 hours of rehearsal, no chance to rest up and gather my forces - which would have happened had I actually had the precious, glorious, coveted 24 hours I was meant to have.
BUT there is no sense in crying over spilt milk, as we say! I will choose to see all the positives - it will surely give me an extra boost of adrenalin, and it will put me in the mood of heightened emotion and yes, with an extra dash of FURY thrown in for good measure!!!
My only worry is that I am still recovering from a stubborn cold that I picked up at the end of my time in Houston, and I know it would be better to have a full day's rest going into this exciting tour. But again, I'm loading up on my vitamins, eating bowls of steaming soup, and truth be told, I don't mind facing a big challenge every now and then. I'm thrilled to be getting back full-steam into this music, revisiting these characters that I found such a passion for, and bringing it to some of my very favorite cities in the world.
I'll do my best to chronicle my tour here - with hopes that at least the travel end of things will shape up a bit better, but most importantly that we'll present concerts that touch people, perhaps make them think or feel, and at the very least, give them the opportunity to revel in all those little black notes Handel scribbled down nearly 250 years ago. (You see, that NEVER ceases to astonish me: those notes have been "dead" on the paper ever since he blotted them out by candlelight, and yet each time a singer exhales through them, they come to life again for all those who listen! I LOVE being connected in that way - not only to Handel himself, but to all the singers who have sung these challenging phrases over the years - and certainly with all those that will continue to sing them!)
Seems as though my flight is actually ready to board - if it gets off the ground, then I'm officially on my way! See you on the road!