Yesterday was our sitzprobe of "La Donna del Lago" here in Geneva. It's my favorite of rehearsals - after all the weeks of focusing on the staging and the costumes and the lighting, we get to go back, with our scores in hand, and simply SING the music, now knowing the physical and internal journey the character will be taking on the stage. It's heaven for me. I sing along with my score, double checking that I'm singing the accents, flavoring the lines with the correct articulation, feeling my breath moving through the phrases without any other physical demands, and, especially in the case of a new role, singing it with orchestra for the very first time.
It's as if the lights are finally turned on. It's true for every piece that I've ever taken on - it becomes infinitely easier to sing with orchestra than it ever does with piano. There is something about having the vibrational support of the strings, the cushion of the breath from the woodwinds, and that wonderful, solid foundation of the celli and double basses underneath you - somehow you feel as if you are allowed to take flight.
I'm fascinated by the character of Elena (especially in this production!) and found that her path to the grand finale makes the aria come to life for me in a very special way. I'm mesmerized by the music and think we have assembled a really wonderful cast - this is a true team effort, with everyone shining in their very own ways. Chorus is actively involved and the initial sounds from the orchestra sound very promising.
However, it is a long week. Yesterday afternoon we sang the entire opera, then a 2 hour break, and we had another 3 hour rehearsal in the evening on stage working through the first act. Now arrives the time to stay healthy and rested, because it really is a marathon of a week!
The excitement is definitely building!