Blog: It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World…
Well, I just finished my very first Lucia performances – I can hardly believe it! After loads of lessons, weeks of rehearsal, and adjusting to understandable yet unavoidable surprises, I performed my first run of Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Birmingham this past weekend. Looking back on the experience, much was as I expected; the opera felt wonderful to sing and I loved sinking my teeth into the story. But some was not at all as I expected. Even getting to Birmingham had its challenges…
My flight from NYC to Birmingham was delayed… then delayed some more… and then finally cancelled (a familiar story to anyone who has tried to travel to/from New York City this winter). I must admit that I wasn’t totally disappointed. I got one more night in my own bed before I headed out to travel for many months. I flew out as the sun rose the next morning, and arrived just in time for the music rehearsals that afternoon and evening. These served as a reunion among old friends and a meet-and-greet for the newbies. You learn so much about a person by their musicianship, and I knew right off the bat that this would be a good group professionally and personally.
We sprang into staging rehearsals the next day, and we really jumped into the deep end. Staging it in under a week was scary and challenging, especially with this being the first Lucia for most of the cast. I am a big fan of concept productions – things that push the envelope – but I was thrilled that this was a traditional interpretation of the piece.
I think the thing that surprised me the most was how much this part got to my head. Towards the end of the rehearsals, when we were running full acts to get a sense of the piece as a whole, I began to pile thought upon thought in my mind. There were moments where I had to stop and just take a breath. I knew that Lucia would be a challenge. But man! Not only is it vocally demanding, but for me it was navigating the dramatic choices that were the real challenge; and there are so many choices to make in this piece. Slowly and methodically I made the choices, and the opera began to come together.
I was proud of the show that we put up in Birmingham. Yes, there were flaws, but it was a strong interpretation of the piece. The cast, conductor, director, and crew were all well prepared, thoughtful and flexible, and each one contributed to making this opera a success. It felt so good to sing this role, and I can’t wait to tackle it again soon.
So here I am, at the airport, waiting for my delayed flight (AGAIN with the NYC travel this year!), with a smile on my face. What an amazing part to play, what a great group of people to be with for the month, and what a wonderful opportunity to have this experience in Alabama. Couldn’t have been better!