Emerging from the fog, as it were. I always forget just how all-consuming the first throes of rehearsal for an opera can be. Especially if, as in this case, the lead role is not yet cast (it's a hellishly difficult sing, and the intended singer pulled out just before musical rehearsals began. He is a consummate professional, so he must have had very solid reasons, but that still leaves other colleagues (luckily not me: the role I am covering is not so big) a bit adrift in a piece which requires long dialogues with the lead... Let's just say that doesn't lead to happy relaxation, on the whole.
And I also have to admit to having been nervous before the initial music call. I hadn't sung for this music director before; and no matter what anyone says, it FEELS like an audition when you sing for someone in a position of power for the first time. It would of course have helped to have had masses of time to prepare this role, or even to have had a more voice-friendly opera to start with, but hey, beggars can't be choosers, and at least (despite having missed my very first solo entrance due to still... STILL!!!... having to mentally translate numbers from German to English, rats rats RATS!!) we've got that bit over with and from now on it's simply business.
The interesting bit is just HOW exhausted one feels during this process. The brain seems to focus itself very narrowly, and everything which doesn't directly concern the learning of this particular music is ignored. (I remember coming across a colleague, who shall remain unnamed, stealing a roll of loo paper from the theatre, in the throes of rehearsals; the (understandable) rationale was that there really hadn't been enough time to hit the supermarket...).
However I must admit that despite all the stress and uncertainty, I really do love these first few rehearsals. A question of how your role fits in to the rest (in this case it's quite amusing - the court ladies get to sing some really rather beautiful chords before my character leaps in and spoils it all!). Total concentration on one thing is rather marvellous.
Even if it means you utterly forget to buy loo roll ;-)