Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Over the past few days, it has really occurred to me how lucky I am to have such a relatively light performance schedule. On Sunday evening I had a Salome performance - after a long break, which necessitated lots of study and concentration to get it back up on form. Then yesterday (well technically the day before yesterday as I've only just got back home and it's well after midnight, so it's probably now tomorrow...) we had the Konzeptionsgespräch (concept talk) for our next opera, The Bartered Bride. At 10 a.m. Followed by a costume fitting (although there has to be something innately refreshing in posing for pictures in a half-sewn Chanel-like suit, with Margaret Thatcher as the costume designer's inspiration, and the suit what's more as yet lacking one arm...). My parents then figured out how to use Skype. They may however have suspected something was up with the connection, as I'd just managed to fall asleep before the phone rang... Then a rehearsal in the evening. I think this is going to be a hilarious rehearsal process - certainly I loved the director and her ideas and energy at first sight - but all the same, I cycled back, managed to divest myself of shoes and bag only, and fell face forwards on the bed into a dribbling semi-comatose state. Glamorous, oh glamorous, this opera life!

Thanks to that, however, I did manage to get enough sleep (SO important for a performer; sleep and water for me are the basics, the rest is frills), and so could face tonight's performance with equanimity. Which was a Good Thing, as it was windy today, and the blasted plane trees (bane of my singing life at this time of year; I am not allergic, but they shed tiny little needles, which get in your eyes, nose and throat when you even so much as breathe, and wreak havoc) were in full flow. I was wearing sunglasses and a sort of improvised mouth cover (yes, probably would have got stopped as a potential terrorist in London) to cycle to the theatre, but evidently still had to breathe at some point, and a few of the little needles scooted down the back of my throat, ready to drop on to my vocal cords at an inconvenient moment... No fighting these sneaky little buggers; you just have to know they're there and not panic. They caused one infinitesimal crack at the beginning of a high note, but nothing I couldn't deal with and act through. At times like these I love the fact that I'm being hired for roles which call for acting ability rather than for the controlled beauty of my voice, because if the latter were the case tonight, I would have been horribly nervous!

I can at least look forward to a couple of days' relaxation, give or take a coaching or two. The reason I suddenly felt thankful was that I have friends in other houses in Germany who are constantly on the go like this, and it occurred to me that I was very grateful indeed not to be forced into such incessant activity. It's not so much the voice - I have trained long and hard to reach a stage of technique where I can sing healthily for a decently long while - it's the poor old brain! Thinking for such a prolonged period is exhausting...

Not to mention the aches (oh yes; another of the glamorous aspects of opera!). When I got trapped in the car-hire Portakabin door the other day and, falling, used my left arm as a shock-absorber, I rather think I tore a few little muscle fibres (translation from my lovely physio sister's diagnosis of, buggered my shoulder up a bit). No worries, all it needs is a bit of rest*. Which is probably why it hurt like no-one's business, having purposefully thrown myself down upon it on Sunday night, and why it will no doubt be even more painful tomorrow morning, having done exactly the same once again tonight. Interestingly, I tried at one point to fall upon a particular un-snarled-up bit of limb, but simply ended up with bruises on the pointier bits** of the other side of my body. Evidently for this falling business I mustn't consciously think about it, but just think I need to fall and allow nature to take care of the rest of it.

At which point I'm back to being grateful for the time to fall asleep, stay asleep, and if needs be drag breakfast back to bed and use the time to recover. (Well I don't know about anyone else, but I'm pleased with myself; I have such a wandering brain that to bring it back to the topic in hand after a bit of a scout around is nothing short of miraculous!)

* If I don't post for a while, I was obviously wrong there...

** Please note; I said "pointier" not actually "pointy". Any Trades Descriptions Acts people getting all overexcited should calm down right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment