Monday, December 31, 2007

Carmen bare

On the evening of my premiere here, I was feeling a bit exhausted , as we only had 2 pretty full rehearsals the day before, and the night before that. So back to back Carmens is not really my cup of tea, however I still was excited with the opportunity to have a plain stage with no props , no crowd, no skirts nor castanets to hold on too, nothing really but myself in a little silver dress, and the text and wonderful music to play with.
standing on that bare stage ( only with my Jose in the corner, tied up to his TV chair), I realized that due to the very theatrical nature of this production, I can actually do what I truly love doing : bend the music within its boundaries so the text is as dominant as the notes themselves. and by that, I mean: I might not sing *every* single note text-book operatically, (what my manager is usually opposed to: "They won't know you can SING") but I get the pleasure of communicating what I believe was always and still is the most important thing in this opera: the character her self. ( and I must say that I look up to talents such as Julia Migenes who never compromised her art for the sake of being labeled a "legit"- "opera"- "singer").
Once a critic used these words: "...uses the music like promises and threats, coaxing, cajoling, insinuating, bending the melody", and this time , I took the freedom to (if only a bit) explore this (without effecting the singing *too* much) ,enjoying the chance to be not only a "singer" plugged into a minimal production , but also to recreate this expensive woman from the very basic ingredients that are there: music, text, and myself as their medium.
I think it was very well perceived, and I must say it was a lot of fun.

Monday, December 24, 2007


THE DRESS (Carmen, Dec, Jan 2008)
(PS this is not me in it, however, this IS the dress I will wear)

THE TEMPTATION (Germany, Dec, Jan 2008)

...THE DRESS (Carmen, dec, Jan 2008) ...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Il est toujours agreable d'esperer

I had a clue before coming here, about the kind of production this Carmen was going to be. I heard first hand from a friend who once flew here to jump in, that it was "another kind of a" show. She didn't really have the chance to find out much more about it, but from what she had said and from the few photos I could find on line, I knew I did not need to bring my castanets or my corset or any of the usual Carmen stuff I have up my sleeve; This was going to be different.
I also knew, that a returning production in Europe, usually doesn't get the pleasure of ever seeing the original director again, or having a thorough rehearsal process; You most likely get an assistant director to give you the straight dry blocking, over a day, or two (if you are lucky), and then off you go onto stage, and do what you think you should do.

I was quite right with my expectations. However, this show, as much as the cynicals and old fashioned might call it "Eurotrash", (this term refers to operas that are staged completely untraditionally, often to a point where the regie has nothing to do with the piece really), this show actually could make sense to me, and seems to interest me much more than some of the traditional, old n' boring Carmens I have seen (or sometimes done). Here I am the creation of Jose's sick mind. Jose the paralyzed, Jose the mad man.
A lot of (could be great) theater, meticulously choreographed, and not much, or nothing really, of the usual.

Normally , I would rejoice with the idea of exploring such a new concept. But with it, at the moment, I feel a bit overwhelmed; stepping into a character I am absolutely not familiar with (as this Carmen is not my regular Mediterranean, fiery woman, but more of a quiet dominatrix in an evening gown), but lordy lord, would I love the guidance of the director, (N/A) and 2 months of good dramatic work (N/A) , with my Jose (N/A), and with the rest of the cast (N/A).

Right now, I am left to my own devices (or: advices.. ha), with 4 days of Christmas "vacation" alone in the hotel, and a little archival DVD I can watch on my computer and try to remember. After that I go on stage, and show the world whether I can still manage to build and present a true (!) Carmen ,even though of a completely different spelling, out of the comfort of my own hotel room.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wie Suess

I feel so grateful for my good efforts to study German (and other languages) once upon a time, when I had the short-lived drive and (for a sec) went for it. To this day, it makes me so much more comfortable hanging out by my self in a foreign city, and not feeling like I want to die.
Last night I couldn't find a taxi after rehearsal, and it was late and dark, and I was all alone, and know nobody here.
I stumbled upon the S-Bahn train which took me to my stop, except I got out through the wrong tunnel and got lost for another hour or so, in a below- freezing temperature, after a Trans-Atlantic flight and an immediate full carmen rehearsal the same day/evening. It is not great fun then , to get lost, I'll tell you that.
But without my German I would probably just collapse in the middle of the street and start crying till I'd fall asleep and eventually freeze to death. With it, I actually asked some people how to get to my hotel and somehow managed to finally hit my bed. (The reason it took me an hour was because in the first half, I tried to find my street by following the map. The other half was wasted because I asked the WRONG PEOPLE for directions!) But the sense of victory beat it all; I survived the winter night!
This evening though, I decided to come out after rehearsal and find me some food. I must say, that Just around Christmas, the Germans are being all cute; They set little Christmas markets outdoors, where you can buy spicy hot wine, wooden tree ornaments, humongous yummy sausages in tiny little buns, honey cookies, all kinds of chocolate covered fruit... you start feeling like you are on a tour at Hansel and Gretel's
So, I found the Christmas market in the center of Stuttgart, and I enjoyed it so much, even though people were giving me dirty looks because I was wearing my pink Russian furry hat, and my big snow boots and some un-matching scarf.
Sorry y'all; if you want to be warm, you end up looking like a bag lady. That's just how it is, and I don't, especially today, care.
The people here don't understand this. Yea they all look all shiny and "sehr kool" in their tiny leather jackets and newly grown/cut mullets, but even with their hot Glue Wein and lit cigarettes, you can easily notice that they're still freezing their titten off and secretly wishing they'd had some of that ugly hat of mine too.
I munched on a tasty (Mayo, filled with a little bit of a) sandwitch and this time I found my way back to the hotel just wunderbar.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ready, go.

We finally made it to the last show. number 10. All packed, I am getting ready to get back home for less than 24 hours, just enough to unpack my summer gear, repack with heavy winter equipment, and return to the airport. This time, I am flying to Europe. It would make it almost 4 months with only 5 days home. (then I return for 3 days, and off again... basically the same story, for a few more months). Pretty tiring and exciting at the same time. And as long as I can still be with my husband, and get to renew the clothes in my suitcase, I think I should be alright. Good friends are awaiting me wherever I go, (and the ever- promising possibility that I might even score a good, fulfilling production too!). Goood bye lovely Miami. So long, my beloved summer!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Just a passing thought; But I thought I'd share: I want to go to Japan again. (or anywhere around there). Spread the word. Arigato Gozaymas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Today I walked 30 blocks and 11 avenues , jumped into the ocean, got out , and walked back.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Audience VS us

In this current Cosi production, the stage is so lit, drowned with bright white lights. The floor is covered with a milky white material, and to us on stage, it seems like the lights in front of us, in the house itself, were never even dimmed at all.
We can actually look out into the audience, and see each and every person's face.
This creates a unique situation for us; as it feels almost like the intimacy you get as a recitalist, singing very close to your audience. However, this is a hall of 2500 seats, and the people who come to see us, do not at all realize that we can see not only their face, but specifically analyze their expression.

Today's opera goers are not so much used to a close exchange with the artist on stage; I speak even of my self; we are so used to watching TV at home, or going to the cinema, where you can take your shoes off , stretch your self , sink into your seat, chew popcorn or pick your nose if you chose to; You are unseen and can consume what's presented without the obligation of giving anything back in return. No appreciation needed in the darkness.

This I find can become a slightly hurtful situation when it turns to be us on stage, and our forgetful exposed audience right there, not unseen at all. Here is my recollection:
People Yawning, looking down, fidgeting, talking, rolling their eyes, bored stiff, texting their phone (!), thinking about work, deep asleep, (yes! head tilted back, mouth open, the whole real deal!) or even leaving.
When any of this happens, I can't help but feeling extremely discouraged.
Of course, I *know* that out of 2500 people, some would have to do something else other than sitting on the edge of their seat and being lovingly taken by our 3.5 hours of Cosi Fan effing tutte. But this rational knowledge still doesn't help me to feel any better at all. Yes, I take it personally.
People, please realize that there is no screen between us, it ain't dark, and wev'e got feelings too. Thank you. lol.