I had such high hopes for regular blogging while I was away. I figured I'd have enough spare time on my hands that I could write a little more than I do at home, and really consider some thoughts that have banging around my head for a while now.
Well, to say that the gig was intense is an understatement. Absolutely wonderful, inspiring, stimulating, challenging (in all senses of the word) and happy, but more all-encompassing than anything I've done in many years. Most days I was simply too tired to write by the time I finished rehearsals, and with few breaks in the performance schedule (in Operaland, when things usually slow down a bit if only because there are often days between performances) I just never had the energy.
It would be impossible to overstate what a phenomenal experience the 6 weeks were, in all ways. The cast was one of the most collegial with which it has ever been my pleasure to work; given that we were all housed on campus (some of us sharing apartments) and thus spent a great deal of time together that in itself is nothing short of amazing. In addition, I've never known a cast who worked through the (normal and inevitable) frustrations of rehearsals with such respect and dignity - even on "bad days", people were able to leave it behind in the rehearsal room and spend a perfectly friendly and comfortable evening with their colleagues "senza rancor", returning to rehearsals the next day fresh, positive, and ready to tackle any challenges with enthusiasm. Talk about amicable professionalism!
The production process itself was different for most of us, with our operatic expectations, since this was staged more as a musical. I'm still processing my (very positive) thoughts about this and haven't yet figured out how to explain the impact it's had on what I feel I can bring to future productions. The main thing I can say at this point is that while opera and MT do have common ground, they are NOT one and the same, and it was interesting to watch us all growing and adapting as we fused expectations on both sides of the theatrical divide.
Biggest challenge I faced throughout the very active production was a foot injury - two weeks into rehearsals, I turned my ankle while out walking. The mild sprain healed surprisingly quickly (thankfully, since I've had problems with this ankle for years due to multiple sprains), but I must have been compensating for it badly and in doing so ruptured the plantar fascia ligament on the base of my foot, causing excruciating pain with every step. Sport tape, painkillers and some (ridiculously expensive, but effective) shoe inserts improved matters enough that I could mask the injury while onstage, but it was a distraction I could have done without.
And now, back home again. Plenty of work to do on a forthcoming recital (hopefully to become a series of recitals) and the start of the semester with its necessary preparations coming up fast. But sometimes you have an experience which doesn't necessarily change you as such, but which allows you to view everything that comes after it through a different lens, exploring new and different options, and expanding your perceptions and understanding in ways that you'd never considered before. This was one of those gigs, and I'm profoundly grateful to have had such a wonderful opportunity, and one which came at the perfect time. A friend of mine is fond of quoting Hamlet whenever something perfect seems to emerge at just the right moment:
there's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.
If it be now, 'tis not to come;
if it be not to come, it will be now;
if it be not now, yet it will come:
the readiness is all
I can only agree.