Yes that's right folks, I made it to the supermarket today while it was open, and I had money, and I actually bought a few things like paper towels (Hallelujah!) Apparently Mondays in Italy are only half days of work - probably because everything is closed on Sundays so they need time to actually get things done - so I got finished with rehearsal at 3:30!! I didn't make it to the bank, which closes at 4:10 (why 10 I have no idea), but I did manage to get my italian cell phone finally. I insisted on speaking in Italian to the sales people there, even though I kept saying "so, if I to phone someone" because I was forgetting to conjugate the verb "call" and kept repeating the infinitive. It's so frustrating because I KNOW the conjugation of "call", but for some reason my brain couldn't catch up with what my mouth was saying. The phone works, although I just stupidly spent 8 euros having a long conversation with my friend because I mistakenly thought that since she's in Italy, it would be cheap.
Wow - things are really different here in europe in terms of people and their careers. The other night I decided to check and see if any of the singers had videos on youtube just out of curiosity, and sure enough, almost everyone had something. Then tonight I went out to dinner with a couple of people, including the bass in show, and he mentioned something about being on a horse and singing an aria on youtube, and I discovered that he had about 20 videos on youtube as well. I feel so unfamous and american compared to all the people in this cast - it's very daunting. But I'm not sure if I should blame myself. It seems like european singers start performing and working much earlier than american singers, who all often go through our educational system, followed by our young artist system, followed by years of arbitrary decisions made by casting directors who may or may not know the difference between good singing and bad. Here in europe, it just seems to be very different. People know things about opera - regular people - and they care about the art form with such a great passion and energy. Operas are on tv all the time here (hence the large showing of european opera singers on youtube compared to americans) and people tune in and watch with interest. I really regret I didn't try to come here much sooner, but at least I'm here now to be a part of the history and culture of something I've been studying for most of my life. I am VERY happy to be here, and I'm not going to spend my time wondering why I didn't come sooner, but instead, I will work as hard as I can and try to create an opportunity to come back.
So maybe someone can tell me why it is that whenever I make an important debut with a company I have to lie on the ground for my first big aria? My first big role at New York City Opera was Lazuli in L'Etoile and I almost had a heart attack when I discovered that they wanted me to sing the first very delicate and high aria while lying on my stomach with my head propped in my hands. I got them to agree to let me lie on my side, which I deemed a better position for singing, and it has become a long-running joke with my friend Tim, who was the assistant director, that I practically shreiked "you want me to lie like that WHILE I'M SINGING????" at the first suggestion of that position. Well, guess what? I have to lie down while I sing Parto Parto, my first big aria, which also happens to be the most well known aria in the opera. The director has it staged so that the soprano sort of climbs on top of Sesto (my character) and then Sesto sort of turns her over and lies on top of her and sings the whole first section of the aria while lying kind of on top of her. Of course, the famous Italian singer who is singing Sesto in the first cast doesn't really have anything to prove, so she'll try anything. I however, am making my debut here in Italy, so I feel like I want to really wow 'em with my singing, which will be exponentially more difficult to do while straddling the soprano.
So last night I chatted with my friend Kate, who was here singing in Torino when I arrived, but who left for Bologna yesterday. Before she departed however, she was kind enough to leave me a couple bags of food and other various items that she didn't want to schlep on the train. We were staying in the same hotel, so when she left, because I was already in rehearsal, she told the front desk that there were two bags in her room, and they should deliver them to my room. They happened to deliver them while I was home for lunch, and I was happy to dig through and find things like olive oil and nutella. However, when I talked to Kate last night, she asked if I had started looking through the magazines she left me. What magazines? So she started asking me about other things she left me - an unopened bottle of balsamic vinegar, a block of parmeggiano cheese, some pre-prepared soups - none of which ended up in the stuff that was delivered to me. At first we thought they had left one bag behind, but then when I reported that I had received the olive oil, she said "but wait - the balsamic and the magazines were in the bag with the olive oil!" We wondered what had happened, and suspected that whoever cleaned the room took all the stuff they wanted figuring I would never ask Kate what was in the bags.
Hi there. First I have to admit that while I was looking forward to writing the blog all day, right now it's going to be a little harder than I thought. Our beloved family dog, Humphrey, died last night unexpectedly. He was only about 9 years old, but he got an infection in his blood that is apparently very uncommon, in the end, he couldn't be cured. He was such a good little boy, and we are going to miss him a lot.
First exciting news: I had my first Italian pizza tonight. You know how they always say the pizza tastes different in Italy? Well, it does. It somehow seemed more fresh and tasty than anything I had eaten in the states.
I'm here. First of all, for all of you that were sitting at your computers breathless since my last entry, my bags were NOT overweight! I mean, since I flew Air France they weighed them in kilos so there seemed to be more leeway, and I think the woman behind the counter was letting me get away with something, but yipee, no surcharges there!
Here goes. My very first blog entry ever in my whole life (pretty much).