Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hasta luego! (Tour: Day 19)

As is only fitting, to conclude this nearly three-week sojourn, I end it as I began: sitting in an airport with an 8-hour delay! Of course, this time the difference is that I'm functioning on 2 hours of "sleep", having had to get up at 5:30 this morning to take the car to Madrid in order to promptly and patiently wait for the enormous travel delay I saw coming 3 days ago from all the US weather forecasts of winter "wonderlands". But I can't help but be struck by the difference in myself - not only the sleep deprivation, but the stark difference between eager anticipation and exhausted satisfaction.

Leaving Kansas City three weeks ago, I hadn't sung the program with the orchestra since April, and a lot of musical water had passed under my bridge (Monteverdi, Romeo, Idamante, Vivaldi, Elvira, Chausson, Beatrice...) - how would I feel coming back to this enormously demanding Handel project? The tour was off to a jet-lagged start, with that crucial 24-hour delay throwing me for a curve, but we blasted off and found our footing very quickly. Enormously important venues - some "home towns", some new ground - greeted us warmly and generously, and I have very treasured memories of each stop on this 7-city tour. A blasted bug gripped me for the last 2 shows, but with the wonderful help of the organizers, I weathered the viral storm, and left the amazing hall of Zaragoza knowing I had given my all.

So how does "The Fury" feel after 7 intensive concerts? Draining, to be sure. But I relished having my hypothesis of Handel's ability to probe the psychology of characters proven so correct. I found myself discovering new things in each and every piece throughout the tour - sometimes Medea reveled in her nastiness just for the sake of feeding her loss of power, sometimes she betrayed herself to be much more a victim; Ariodante more cruel one night in his scorn for Ginevra, the next more destitute in his confusion and loss; Dejanira, well, always mad!

It also reminded me that even in the course of the very exact program, singing the same notes, uttering the same words, delivering the same essential character - there is no accounting for the magic that can unpredictably take over and carry you (or the orchestra) through a musical kaleidescope into a different realm, and this is something you simply cannot script or plan for. Each piece took on a different life of it's own, causing different reactions in different people - and this is the ethereal thing I ADORE about what I do - the moments you cannot control, the emotions you must simply let fly and land as they will. It is alive!

Now, all that having been said, I'm thrilled last night was the last concert! I'm glad I have 3 weeks ahead of me to recoup, study and hibernate a bit (so you won't see me here quite as much, I'm afraid - it's DOWN TIME!) That's part of the essential pacing of something like this - building recovery time (mental as well as physical) into your schedule and taking full advantage of it. When I step back into the fray in January, I hit the ground sprinting, so I plan to take full advantage of each day.

But before signing off, a few souvenirs from the tour, and a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who came out in the bad weather to attend the concerts, who saved money to purchase tickets, who took a risk and bought DISCS (!), who waited so patiently in line to say hello, and who supported with your applause, your words and your enthusiasm. It was a pleasure to sing for you all!

From "Delphi" who apparently had a seat behind the stage in Salle Pleyel - a different vantage point I never see:

Also from "Delphi" who apparently moved around to the front for the second part:

Taken by my dear friend, Michael B after the Paris concert, as my other dear friend, Bill M, finally realized his dream of re-enacting his favorite scene from the movie, "Diva": strolling with a diva through the rainy streets of Paris in the wee hours of the morning, holding her umbrella, standing just a pace behind her. Apparently this is my diva-look:

After the final concert, we let down a bit. I'm holding the ties of two of the FABULOUS wind players - the ties which the entire section bought for €3 to color coordinate with my red "furious" corset, and who also stood up on stage to toss me 4 red carnations after the final bow last night, which was the sweetest thing in the world:

And finally, the entire group, Maestro Rousset, included. It was a real pleasure to make music with you all! Until we meet again in Kansas City, and New York, Hasta luego, amigos!


Gi said...

Thank you, dear Joyce, for the posts and insights into this part of your tour. I hope the plane takes you (even if late!) home safely and wish you a great holiday season.

One of the nicest things that happened to me this year was being at your recital in Brussels in April and meeting you afterwards. I hope to be able to see you again in 2009.

Happy new year. Hugs!

marcillac said...

Kinda figures. You've had bad weather all the way through your tour and, directly contrary to my earlier admonition, are bringing it here. Its icky in NYC and we blame you. I KID, I KID.

Really, congratulations on what by all accounts has been a spectacularly successful tour and on the #1 Diva Performance for the Elvira. Glad you made it safely and gloriously across the highwire. The video is great and all but many are interested in seeing it live and we hope you return to her frequently.

In the meantime have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Enjoy you recouperation and DO TRY to bring some dry warm wather for your Furious NYC soujourn next month.


Suzanne said...

How do you get your hair that awesome? I love it. Have a great holiday. Enjoy your much deserved rest!

Papagena said...

It's been our pleasure, Joyce :-)

Merry Christmas!

Muchos besos guapa!!!!

Mikebench said...

I love that Diva shot... I so love that it's on the blog forever now... See you and Leo in the Big Apple!
Loads of Love,

Ann said...

As usual, the pictures and stories make us feel like we're there with you! Hope you weren't delayed too much!!

Operafan said...

Merry Christmas, Buon Natale and Joyeux Noël!! All best and I hope you are enjoying your rest at home! I'm sure there will be many more fabulous Furore DISCS under Christmas trees all around the world, this recording is a JEWEL! Cheers!

paul&aline said...

Dear Joyce,
We were so happy to see you and I didn't wash my face since your kiss!
It was a wonderfull and amazing concert and aline and I were so pleased.
We wish you the best for 2009.
See you soon!
Paul & Aline Rousset

diafani said...

As you probably know, your New York concert on the 23rd was sold out by subscription, a great disappointment for me since this seemed like the most exciting event of the season for someone like me who loves Handel. On a hunch, I called the box office today, and as luck would have it they had just gotten two tickets back as returns, which I snapped up immediately. I'm so excited! I saw you in Hercules at BAM a while ago, and a good friend of my mother's in Houston, Ann Thompson, has always spoken highly of you, so I guess I'm a fan... Best of luck, I can't wait until Friday!