Friday, August 29, 2008

Gratitude - Day 152

I'm grateful for getting in the mood! I don't know if folks in the last row of the Royal Opera House can make out the hand prints that will populate the giant wall of the unit set of this "Don Giovanni", but up close, their presence is quite ominous and moody to say the least, giving me a healthy dose of motivation and excitement to see how all the pieces of this Mozartean puzzle will come together! We get the idea of all the lives that have been ruined by Don Giovanni and his amoral ways, but one question that comes to mind in these days is to wonder how many of his victims were willing collaborators in their own downfall? Of course, it's only one of MANY questions as I discover this woman, this drama, this man, this astounding music! Oy yes, I'm definitely getting eager to put this all together!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gratitude - Day 151

I'm grateful for simplicity.

Gratitude - Day 151
"Simplicity", however, is not the first word to come to mind in an attempt to describe my schedule these days, so if I happen to see a sign of it lurking around me, I welcome the reminder with open arms as an invitation to take a deep breath, relax, and settle a bit. My hours here in London are jam-packed leading up to the big opening(s) next (NEXT!) weekend, and so each opportunity to catch my breath is not to be missed; I need it to stay rested, clear my head, keep my concentration, and most of all to remind myself that the process is the jewel which carries the great reward!

So far, all is going well - the opera is nearly staged, meaning for the most part we all know "where to go and when"; now we need let it begin to grow into something organic, which means repeating, refining and, yes, remembering what comes next. I had a fabulous dinner tonight with the EMI/Virgin team to finalize plans for THE RELEASE of "Furore", and seeing their enthusiasm for this disc only served to make me more nervous and excited for THE LAUNCH!!! Interviews are happening (including the lively, quick 30 minute one conducted with the delightful Dominic McHugh for over my lunch hour), costumes are being fitted, wigs styled, and my excitement builds with each day.

However, this simple statue of the "Bronze Ballerina" sitting to adjust the ribbon of her pointe shoe, stopped me in my tracks today, and I welcomed the 10 minutes I spent photographing her. It is a beautiful and perfect example of simplicity and gave me a beautiful, simple and welcome boost!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gratitude - Day 150

Picking up where I left off, as promised:

Gratitude - Day 150

I'm grateful for fabulously real colleagues that bring flesh and blood humanity into the rehearsal room and onto the stage!

It is quite easy in this business to let the stage become your life. Now, perhaps this is a long, complex discussion, and most likely one which merits a separate entry (or 10!) all of its own; because in one way, I do "live" for the stage. However, I am all too aware that combining the passion that most artists possess with the dedication that this kind of career demands, it is all too easy to lose any sense of perspective of what constitutes a "real life". (Well, see? Right there - that's a highly debatable topic, for what one person considers important/real may have no bearing on another's perception!) BUT - I suppose I'm referring to that good ol' "Feet on the ground" concept.

I'm a big believer that to bring a character "to life" on the stage, we singers have to have a genuine grasp of what the emotional building blocks are of human beings in general, in order to inform the various characters we play. Understanding music is not enough, for ultimately, our characters aren't "singing" - WE are doing the physical singing - but THEY are living these emotions on such a grand scale, so that the only possible method capable of expressing them, is the human voice in (hopefully!) all it's glory. We are actors. Actors who sing, but I believe the singing is in place in order to convey the emotion.

See? Complex topic - but since my time is limited in these days, my ultimate point is that the more we understand of daily life, live real emotions, and remember that we are human beings first - yes, above being singers - the better shot we have at bringing to life fully 3-dimensional characters. And there is NO mistaking the fact that when you are performing with someone who embraces this philosophy, the chance for real-live sparks on the stage multiplies exponentially - therefore giving the audience its money's worth!

One of my current colleagues apparently has a penchant for rock climbing - or in this case, cross climbing on the set! It's the perfect example of someone who LIVES their life to the fullest and brings all of that energy and exuberance to the stage. The audience feels it, and his colleagues adore it! I don't need to point out how lucky I am that I Mr. Keenleyside is my first Giovanni, do I? Yeah ... I didn't think so!

(I wish the photo was better technically, but he caught me just a wee-bit off-guard!)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back to School

Truth be told, I miss being in school just a little bit: in years past, the annual mid-August schlep to the department store to buy new school shoes, pencils, a new notebook (just begging to be scrawled on with things like "Joyce & Eric 4EVR"), and a new stockpile of white anklets to match my school uniform and those shiny new saddle shoes was always an event that signaled a new start bursting with fresh opportunities. Well, the annual shopping trip no longer requires the purchase of protractors or wide-line notebook paper, but I do still garner a small bit of glee purchasing a new highlighter for the coming new scores waiting to be marked up with those telling yellow highlights and red pencil markings! This coming season demands a lot of highlighting, as there is a slew of new music for me to acquaint myself with, and since my calendar has loudly ROARED that my short, quick, fleeting vacation is way behind me, it's time to get back into the groove.

But in a quick salute to days gone by, how about a little "What I did on my summer vacation" pictorial recap? Not too much to write about, other than a blissful first experience in Greece, an incredibly rewarding concert in Pesaro, one awesome event after another from the Olympics, and a full-steam-ahead launch to my first Don Giovanni here in London:

Temple to Zeus

Door to paradise


Corner View

Orthodox Twilight

New Moon in Greece

Rossini's Statue at the Festival Conservatory:

Signor Rossini

Covent Garden performers:

Frog Jump

And finally, my favorite Olympic showing ever. Enjoy: