Sunday, 8 November 2009


Yes, drag queens of my acquaintance, you may well weep with jealousy! This is my costume for the last act, comprising pink/red bodice and full, trailing skirts (interesting when performing the can-can), with clashing silky bolero and over all that a fake leopard-skin sleeveless gown. You don't really get the full effect of the orange nail varnish, unfortunately, but you can see the hair backcombed, white streak to the fore, swept up high and added to with various feathers, and a pirates' treasure chest of clashing sparklies (a colleague's young son was hugely impressed when he visited my dressing room - "Are these all yours?" he asked. I came out with my best evil laugh, and shrieked "Mine, ALL mine...", at which point of course the Intendant (yep, the one who's in charge of the whole shebang) popped in to say hello... Goodness, but my timing is wonderful!)

I managed to get to the theatre in very decent time, considering (a) a car ran into me en route - no harm done, it just sort of slid, but rather disconcerting, and (b) when I'd opened my mouth to start warming up, an eerie bagpipe-like wail and thumping beat started up right outside the window. Turkish wedding, I think - I suspect it's more fun if you're actually taking part. Anyway, I managed to distribute my toi-toi cards - not as easy as it sounds, as not everyone has a dressing room so you have to physically hunt them down, and the whole team seems to be prowling around restlessly before curtain-up. I also discovered, by trial and error, a few faux pas when it comes to wishing people well - firstly, you don't say thanks at all when wished toi toi (this feels weird, as all I managed to do after that was sort of dip my head regally!), and secondly, you don't wish anyone toi toi (often done by making spitting noises over their shoulder) until they're in costume. Which is awkward if you're not due in make-up until the curtain rises, and your costume is one of those where it's not easy to nip to the loo... I think I was more exhausted by negotiating the pre-première rituals than I was by the performance!

Everything went swimmingly, I believe - the audience certainly loved the production, which of course is the main thing. I remembered my German words, had fun with my aria, then breathed a sigh of relief and proceeded to just enjoy myself throughout the rest of the opera. The director's excellent work showed in such a slick and funny production, it looked absolutely stunning, in terms of both set and costume, and sounded great. I am so lucky to have been a part of this. All (ha ha) we have to do now is retain the same energy in each performance - there's another one tomorrow (Monday) and then they're dotted throughout the calendar until late next Spring. I'm looking forward to them!


  1. Well, I feel like the "toi toi" information is extremely valuable. However, I'm not sure if I will ever be able to put such good knowledge to use. If I EVER was in an opera EVER in my life, it will probably be something like just one and it would be some kind of community local production or something and maybe the "toi toi" thing might be less known. However, I do very value knowing about it, for some reason.

  2. I am still trying to win lotto so I can come see your production... It is not working!!! GRRR!!

    Glad to hear it went awesomely!