Monday, April 23, 2012

Carmen update

It has been two weeks since the beginning of rehearsals for Carmen. I have been soaking it all in, loving being there. I do not love the drive there (about an hour and 15 minutes each way), but the goal at the end of the drive is always well worth it, whether it be song or home. The men and women I am singing with are so nice, many of them with really wonderful voices to listen to, and many with such encouragement for me, which is really nice when I feel that much of what I hear is veiled criticism from well-trained ears. Not that the criticism isn't warranted, but it's nice to hear that fellow opera singers think there's something nice to listen to there.

Anyway, we have learned the music, some songs better than others, and have begun blocking as of yesterday. We blocked the Gypsy Dance, with my character, Mercedes, leading with the first verse. It isn't traditionally done this way, but the director wanted to give each of the gypsy women a verse of their own, for some variety. I have never had a role where I am to be blocked specifically, except in college when I was Pitti-Sing for the Mikado, so it's been a while. It's a bit nerve-wracking, having this director tell you where to stand and asking you to make up little gestures on the spot, which happen to be a bit sensuous in nature, as they are gypsy dance moves, all while the entire cast is watching you, most of them whom I do not even know their names yet...I had to try to throw my inhibition to the wind and just try it. Everyone was very kind and helpful while we fumbled through the blocking. Apparently, we are going to get actual dance moves to the song portion at a later date. I just hope I can do them while singing, as I have no formal dance training. But, hey, I love to dance! So, we'll see.

It's so great with this company, because I know the key team pretty well, even if I don't know most of the singers. This really helps me feel comfortable...plus the fact that the producer is an evangelical Christian. That always comforts me and helps me relax my crazy stranglehold on worry...wish I could just trust Jesus all the time, right, instead of just the people who trust Jesus?

The other thing I wonder about is inviting people to come see it...I have many friends and family interested in coming to see the performances, but I find it a bit intimidating to invite them. I find it so much easier to slip into a character or be dramatic and over-the-top with people I don't know. I think it's harder to do that with good friends and family.

On a different, although related tangent, I have found my favorite Carmen. Elina Garanca completely conquers the role in this superb production from the Met. Her Carmen is beautiful, dangerous, earthy, and captivating. Take a look at her "Habanera"...a song that has been done so much, but I think is given new life in this version.





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