Okay, so this place is sort of a paradise. And having become the somewhat cynical and jaded new yorker, I am slightly suspicious of it. How can it be so beautiful? Is the ocean really supposed to be that warm and that blue?
I arrived yesterday in the Orange County Airport, and was immediately shocked by how hot and tropical it feels here. Apparently it's even warmer than normal for this time of year, but it was probably 85 degrees when I landed yesterday. I picked up my rental car, and thanks to my trusty new gps device, found my way to my "bungalow" in Laguna Beach. I had my sunglasses on and the windows all rolled down, and at some point I rounded a corner and saw nothing but white sandy beaches and blue ocean. I thought to myself, "you have to be kidding me." I mean, I grew up in California, so I shouldn't be surprised, but I've lived in dark an dangerous new york city for 11 years now, so seeing people hopping around the beach with their shirts off and playing volleyball made me feel both joyous and nervous. And my little bungalow is about a 5 minute walk from this shirtless volleyball ridden heaven on earth. I have all the fans on in here and I'm still a little hot. Phew - rough life!
Today was our first rehearsal - a musical run through with the conductor. I learned today that 3 out of 6 principals had cancelled in the last couple of months for various reasons, so don't despair if you're a singer with no work - I mean, 3 out of 6 - you never know when something's going to come along! Luckily they found great replacements (that's the singing business for you - there are good singers around every corner) and everyone involved in the production is extremely nice. I had a two hour costume fitting after the rehearsal. It was long, but I never mind standing around and getting laced into corsets when I have the pleasure of wearing costumes that have been made just for me. I've had my share of god-awful costumes, so I was thrilled to see that these are going to be totally beautiful and interesting. Plus I get to wear a red wig, which always makes me feel saucy.
When I finished my day I was too exhausted to cook, so I stopped at an italian restaurant very near my house. The food was really good, so I asked one of the waiters if the owners were in fact italian, and it turns out they are, so I started speaking Italian with one of the brothers who runs the place. As is typical with Italians, he was totally friendly, and especially impressed that I was an opera singer (again - Italians know exactly what that means - there is never an awkward "what does that mean" moment when you tell them you're an opera singer). After offering me tons of free dessert and limoncello, he made me promise to come back, and meet the rest of the family. Who knew I would get to practice my Italian in southern california? I asked him why his family had chosen Laguna to open a restaurant and he replied, "It's very nice here, no?" I answered "Si - e come un paradiso!" and so far, it really is.