Monday, 1 April 2013

© Martina Pipprich
So here I am as my first old lady!  This (me as Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin at Staatstheater Mainz) was taken from the programme, which is first circulated at the premiere - boy was I glad not to have looked at the photos until my singing was done!  I have written before about the strangeness of trying to appear old, in a world where youth and vitality are paramount.  It's a bit of a blow to the old vanity, however, to see concrete proof that I succeeded.  Here especially it is evident that the deliberate sagging of my facial muscles (except when I was actually singing) was effective.  Of course, this was the effect I was aiming at; as an artist, I am proud of what I have achieved with this character.  I dedicated my performance at the première to the memory of my dear friend and mentor Philip Langridge; he spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince me to let my barriers down; last Saturday, for the first time, I allowed the public to see my true vulnerability; old, increasingly lost, physically slower and weaker, the life energy not burning as strongly as before...   I am immeasurably grateful to the (wonderful) director for letting me explore this to the limits yet recognising that it cost me a lot to rein in my vitality.

That, however, was ON stage.  Offstage, my vanity is evidently unquenchable!  My need to appear as glamorous as possible increased exponentially as my portrayal of age and uncertainty grew.  This short recording is set to a photo taken of me at the première party - the irrepressible beat of the Brazilian music a counterpoint to the Russian-ness all around.  I was rather gratified that the tenor reported his family failed completely to recognise me, the difference was so great...

I'm looking forward to further performances.  The production is fabulous, and my colleagues absolutely top-notch; without their support I doubt I could have let go so completely.   Here's to life not daring to imitate art for at least a few more decades, though!!

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