Given how much of a cliché it is for opera singers to float around in satin ballgowns, dripping with jewels and made up to the nines, I can't believe that I have never once gone on stage in a fabulous meringue creation!
So when I was rung up a couple of days ago and asked to leap in as an alternate for a small role in a Verdi opera (pretty urgent as the scheduling difficulties had evidently only come to light on the first day of rehearsal), I immediately accepted, thinking, aha, even in Germany in this day and age, surely this role is a shoo-in for cinched waist and fabulous décolleté (well OK if I'm honest, considerations of it being actual paid work, and keeping myself off the streets, also contributed to some degree to my decision).
So the first thing I did upon arrival at the rehearsal stage this morning was to trot hopefully over to the wall of costume designs. It was filled with drawings of absolutely gorgeous ball- and evening dresses. Hooray!! Pay dirt!! I eagerly scanned the bottoms of the drawings, where the character names appeared.
Tight black leather trousers and jacket... *sigh*. I am sure it will look fabulous, but there's my ballroom dreams shattered once again...
Not the only things that were shattered, mind. I came out of the morning session absolutely in a heap. Having been laid up with a cold for the last four days, and only getting the score yesterday evening, I wasn't expecting perfection. However a combination of the increasingly oxygen-free environment (it's never particularly pleasant down there, but when the entire chorus, soloists and production team are working hard, the available breathable air soon appears to vanish), a hot and sweaty rehearsal costume, and - basically - not knowing what the hell I was doing (in terms of character, music, staging - in fact, admit it, the entire bloody opera), took it right out of me.
Still, can't complain. Great music - and all I have to do is cram it into my reluctant and stuffy brain (note to self: does not work properly in the aftermath of a cold).
Speaking of cold - and this of course is not helping either my voice or my return to full health - this was the view as I cycled in for rehearsal this morning. No, I didn't mess around with the colour balance - it was minus 4 and everyone was suddenly frozen!