Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Ah yes. THAT aspect of the season again. Once again, I find myself pretty much at a loose end as far as official theatre stuff goes. Amazing, really, and of course something that one never considers when pondering the life of a full-time singer. (At least this year I know what's going on, roughly when things will start to heat up for me, and how to get a cup of coffee from the canteen - last year I stared miserably at the schedule every day, and upon failing to see my name, wondered in true paranoiac fashion whether I'd been sacked and no-one had bothered to tell me...).

I'm not complaining, of course. It's just a challenge of a different sort - to use the down time fruitfully. Rather like the time at university when you realise that no-one is going to force you to study or to write essays or to improve your brain at all - they're simply offering you the opportunity to do so, and it's your responsibility to take advantage of that opportunity.

I will admit, though, that I occasionally find it hellishly difficult to stave off boredom. I rather suspect that this is where watching TV would come in quite useful. However, I don't have one, and have no intention of getting one, so that's out (mainly because I find that when I do sit down to watch a programme, I find myself slack-jawed and dribbling several hours later, still in the same position and having no idea of what I've just seen. TV is not good for those of an addictive disposition!).

Of COURSE, there is music to learn. That tends just to sink in with careful repetition, though. There is my daily vocal practice. The voice is getting stronger and stronger, I am very pleased indeed with its progress, but really, there's only so long you can practise each day. But for the rest? Well, today, for example, I also:

- wrote in the IPA (international phonetic alphabet) symbols for my part in a forthcoming opera in Polish. I listened carefully to the CD with the words spoken slowly and clearly, tried to repeat them exactly, and came to the conclusion that this was not possible without the assistance of at least three vodkas;

- cycled to the store across the river to buy bits and bobs for the flat. Nearly succeeded in sticking to the shopping list too, I'm proud to say;

- dismantled previous attempts at bedside lamp because whilst it looked pretty, there was actually no light getting out of it. Thought carefully about how to proceed;

- considered the half-finished foot of my sister's forthcoming baby's penguin for a long time, then put it back in the cupboard;

- cycled to the library and asked about recordings of Tannhäuser, which is currently in rehearsal, so that I could converse knowledgeably with colleagues about the music come the premiere. This was pretty much a failure, despite the nice man on the music desk actually hunting me down in another section because he'd been busy when I was wanting to ask him about Wagner recordings! So I fished out a couple of novels in English, making myself swear to ration them carefully and read stuff in German in between (otherwise I'll have read every single book in English and most of the ones in French in their collection, and will be forced to pay full price; at the rate I read, this would be disastrous!);

- furthered my German by (a) reading a bleeding chunk of the grammar book before dropping it by the couch and starting to snooze, and (b) nattering once more (pretty much a daily occurrence) with the nice Cat Lady downstairs. I reckon it's great for my fluency, this daily practice, and vocabulary-wise, what I don't know about feline pharmacology just isn't worth knowing.

It will of course pass, this thumb-twiddling time. Meanwhile, I have Polish to pronounce. Now, where did I put that vodka... ?

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