Sunday, May 30, 2010

I got a blog too, baby .

A couple of years ago, I sang Rosina in Venice. (you can still read my blog entries from then- March/ April 08). I was nervous to be the only foreigner among an all Italian cast, singing an Italian opera. Although I did alright, I agree that it wasn't my best, and for that, I got trashed by a known mean-spirited Italian blog (it's a group of different Italians who go to every opera they can, then review it).
At the time, I came across that blog and was devastated to read how badly I was received (by them). I remember a day of trying to get to the one and only, far away supermarket, in the rain, with too many tourists blocking my way.. and me crying the entire way).
I learnt my lesson- don't read these blogger reviews.

Something interesting happend to me recently. An older Italian gentleman (living in Germany) asked to be my friend on my private Facebook page. Since I don't know him in person, and have never met him, I wrote him a nice message directing him to my public "Fanpage". (This is my own general policy regarding FB, for my own privacy sake). He replied and said that he would come to see my show in Baden Baden. I wished him an enjoyable evening.
Looking at his page, I noticed that he had an opera review blog.

That's how I came to visit his blog now. A fan on Facebook. I was quite curious to see what he would have to say. (pros and cons).
To my surprise, his review attacked me in some ways I couldn't really imagine:
He was explaining that I am a Soprano in disguise, who has no low note, but no high notes either... etc etc: an unimaginatively harsh, cold, and hateful review (which was almost word to word similar to the Venetian one) but underneath, in a side comment, as he criticizes the "production", he mentions that my Carmen is a "Zingara, prostituta, ebrea e terrorista. Che si vuole di piĆ¹?" (Gypsy, prostitute, Jewish, and a terrorist").
While you can somehow explain the "Gypsy", or even the "prostitute" (the costumes?) or the "terrorist" (I was at one little point carrying a gun), I truly don't recall wearing the yellow star on my arm or praying to the bible in this production.
In other words: an antisemitic remark which shines a whole other light on this new FB "fan" and his "review". (He is no longer my Fan on FB). .... UPDATE: Mr. gianguido mussomeli has quietly and cowardly erased his little fascist remark.

I decided to do something I never do; This just infuriated me too much- I responded to his comment.
I wanted him to realize that since he actually WAS in personal touch with me, I came to read his blog. I wanted him to realize that I am a human being, a real one, and especially because we HAVE met on cyber space, he might want to reconsider his offensive ways. ... UPDATE: Mr. gianguido mussomelli has quietly and cowardly also erased some of my responses, and other readers comments, and has left his blog nice and "clean".
I don't expect privileged positive reviews just because we exchanged words on the Internet, but reading such a harsh critic which is laced with an anti- Semitic foot note, was really an unpleasant surprise.
To my comment, he replied by digging up and posting this 2008 unrelated (Barbiere!) VENICE review from that other blog I was mentioning earlier. LoL.

I guess here is where I should really stop. and I am. But at least I am not crying all the way to the supermarket anymore (on the contrary- I am smiling all the way to there, to the theater, AND to the bank, too!) :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bad 'N baden

The Icelandic volcano gained me a week of suspension at home, but I was anxious to be already in rehearsals. I actually hate knowing that they have begun without me. What I find the most interesting about my operatic life actually is the process itself. (Appearing a day before opening like what seems to be a desired situation to some of us is not at all my cup of tea). At least we had a few good weeks of rehearsing for this new (and very interesting) production, so when I got here to Baden Baden, I easily caught up with work (and work is all we have been doing- on a 6 or 7 hours per day, every day).
I think stress, which got me before hand, made me join the opera singers main disease club: "The heart-burn sufferers".
It's been a known fact that we singers get acid reflux more than anyone else, but I wasn't aware of this until recently, when I became a "sufferer" my self.
Here in Baden Baden- a disneyland of a town,(clean air, flowers and trees, smily vacationers sipping on white wine), I thought I would relax and get rid of the stress , but it turns out that the problem never deserted me, and here I was, several days short of opening night, on all kinds of medication. Over- rehearsing plus uncontrolled stomach acid is bad news for a singer, and having it eventually effected my poor little cords, I had to fly to Berlin on an emergency trip to see the best voice doctor on this continent so he could diagnose me correctly and try help me to regain my old self before the premiere.
No price would have been be too high to pay because I was so excited about singing this one: Period instruments and a genius conductor , on the top of a well thought -out new production with a most talented cast.
For this one, I decided to take a big risk. The conductor has recognized some qualities in my instrument and in my musical personality- some of which shown best at my gentlest; Accompanied by most sensitive historic instruments (and their maestro) I was asked to sing this opera as if it were a chanson.
This, as you can imagine, goes against the operatic norm, and against what people expect to hear from an opera singer, especially a Carmen. But I agreed to oblige and with much pleasure too, and interpret this music in a new and fresh way, where the audience can *if they want to listen* hear new colors and nuance they usually don't get from an operatic stage.
By that, I have almost signed a condemning contract over my own head, being (as I was expecting) criticized for "size of voice" .
But let me tell you- I take full responsibility and pride in my work. I so enjoyed creating something special, that I don't really care (anymore) if someone grills me for not getting the usual generic brand they expect.