Just a quick post (reassuring you that I have not sold my soul to Twitter at the expense of my blog postings!), but I had to just say how unbelievably BEAUTIFUL I find the music of Bellini. It's pure, it's simple, it's achingly beautiful, as in the case of the final shattering scene of Norma.
We were in a rehearsal room today for our orchestral rehearsal, not the theater, and so while some acoustical advantages are lost, a different kind of intimacy is achieved: we are much closer to each other, and the orchestra and choir are crowded in, without too much room to spare. As a result, we feel much more closely the singer next to us inhaling, and as they sway with their vocal lines, we are drawn in even closer to their emotion and their vocal hurdles, so a sensation arises of truly being a team of individual athletes (for singing bel canto is ABSOLUTELY an athletic task!) searching for a way to tread the most delicate bel canto line of perfection and purity, alongside unbridled emotion and raw power.
I loved watching the orchestra players react to Edita's singing of the final scene: eyebrows raised in astonishment, smiles breaking out in spite of themselves, jaws gaping open ever so slightly as she pulls out a diminuendo on her high b-natural. I loved the titters of astonishment from other cast members as one of us dared to sing even more softly, or hold out the messa-di-voce just a *little bit more*.
It was a magical rehearsal, and highlighted all the reasons I love to sing: I get to test myself, and push myself in a million different ways which constantly invites me to grow and learn and excel, but all the while I'm contributing and participating in something that is much bigger than myself - the piccolo player and I and the 4th-bass-from-the-left in the choir are all there to tell the same story, and we all need each other to pull it off! The sense of accomplishment as an individual, but also as a team, is extraordinary.
I am also finding it to be highly inspirational to be in this lovely city where music seems to be the sole life-force. (OK, after some fabulous shopping!) We have lucked out with an AMAZING apartment here, glass windows all around, providing a breathtaking panorama of Salzburg, and church bells seem to be going off from all directions nearly every 15 minutes during the day. I've fallen in love with it, and smile thinking, "I wonder if these were the same bells Mozart heard on his way to the theater?" It is a city that inspires wonderment and creativity and excellence, and I hope all of those traits will be with me going into these concerts next week.
(Sadly, as I understand it, there is no plan to broadcast the concerts, so I apologize to those of you who had been searching for a way to listen!)
I need to get my camera out, but for the moment, all my energy is on Bellini....