Thursday, October 8, 2009

On the Road Again

Today was a fabulous day in Atlanta. It was one of those longed for days after many many days of clouds and rain where the sun shines and the breeze is light, the humidity low, and the temperature a perfect 82 degrees. People were grabbing at a day like today, frantically aware that oh too soon these heavenly days will be far and few between when old man winter comes blowing in. Ahhh. Fall. I took advantage of this glorious day and went hiking up Kennesaw Mountain, just north of Atlanta.

I am packing. Again. I can’t believe that it is time to leave Atlanta. It all went by so fast, preparing a new role, rehearsing a new role, and now there are only two performances left. I am really proud of the work I did on Adina. She is such a fun character to play. Her spirit is light and playful and I find so much joy becoming her on stage each night. Now it is almost time to put her away and dig back into Rosina. I start covering Joyce DiDonato at the MET next week. So, yes, I have emotions right now that are at once happy about the last two performances and excited for all the people coming who I haven’t seen in a long time, but I have some sadness because I am leaving home. However, I know now that packing up time always makes me a little melancholy, which is to be expected. Although I am sad to be leaving the working comforts of home, I am very excited to be going back to New York City. It wasn’t always a trip I looked forward to. I had a hard time adjusting to New York. How could I not? I came from a small three stop light Georgia town. I like trees and space and quiet. You just don’t get much of those things in New York and I was like a scared cat the first time I arrived there. Really. All the traffic noise combined with all the mobs of people just over stimulated me and I was worn out trying to take it all in. Plus, I just couldn’t fathom the grit stuck to my face at the end of the day from all of the dirt and other icky things flying through the air. I have gotten LOTS better since that first visit back in 2001 and actually look forward to my stays in the fabulous bustling city. I am really looking forward to being back there and exploring more of the different areas of the city and plan to post blogs about my adventures. After all, I am always looking for inspiration and I always find it in the most surprising places in New York. You’ll see.

I was thinking just now as I was packing about how many times over the past ten years I have packed and unpacked bags. I would really love to know that number. It used to drive me crazy. I would over pack and then under pack. It certainly hasn’t gotten any easier with all the weight restrictions and extra baggage fees. But, that just makes us more creative. I have the special gift now of being able to look at a pile of clothes on the floor and know whether or not I will be able to fit them into a bag and I am also pretty accurate about the weight of the bag and know exactly how many shoes to remove if the bag is overweight to make it the strict 50 pounds. But there is also something very comforting about packing and unpacking so much. I have found that I only take what is necessary and what I truly love. I have to truly love an item to take it with me on the road because if it isn’t special I know it won’t get worn or used. The same goes for books…..however, I now own the fabulous Kindle which has changed my life! No more boxes of books thank you very much! I have even started incorporating this lightness of load into my home life. I simplify and don’t shop as much as I used to because I always think, “Can you carry that around with you? If you buy this are you going to love it sitting at home without you for six months?" There have been times that I forgot that I already owned something because I hadn’t seen the inside of my closet in three months! These questions have really helped me lighten the load which in turn helps out my bank account!

Tomorrow is our penultimate performance and on Sunday we have our final performance. I have several things I want to accomplish with this role before I close the score and put it away. I am glad I have a few more chances to dig deeper into my character. I am never finished with an opera, there is always something more to discover and I love it when out of the blue, something new comes to me on stage because I am committed to the moment and to my text and emotions. I love surprising myself like that when I unconsciously go off script, so to speak, with the staging. It happens when my impulses are free to flow. It happens when I am relaxed and well rehearsed too! I wish we did opera like musical theater at times where we have 8 shows a week. I just feel as though I could shed a lot of expectations and needs if the performances were more of a routine. However, it just isn’t possible because unlike musical theater, opera isn’t amplified. We don’t use microphones; therefore our voices need rest between performances just like an athlete needs rest between marathons. Alas.

Well, it is transition time. The next few days are going to be busy, filled with singing my last two performances and visiting with friends and family and my husband. Monday starts a new adventure in which I will blog about extensively in the upcoming months, COVERING at the MET! But first, Adina and then I will think about Rosina. Just like my darling Scarlett said, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

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