I was emailed a couple of reviews today (I can't bear to look for them myself in case I've been trashed, so I rely on other people to send them to me if they're decent) and luckily they were positive. I had a period of time when I was deathly afraid of reviews - it went with my panic attack before performing anxiety phase, and I would start to panic just opening a paper that might contain a review. Thank god I've calmed down about it, and I know I can't really believe the good ones, or be too happy about them, or I would have to believe and be devastated by the bad ones. However, I found the review of me in the Los Angeles times to be very interesting. Here is what he said:
"The mezzo soprano Jennifer Rivera was a fascinating Rosina-sufficiently opulent and agile in voice; wily, brainy, and pert
in manner but also carrying herself at times with a dignity that suggested the future countess of the 2nd "Figaro" play, "The Marriage of Figaro."
It's not a rave exactly but I'll take it. The thing that I find interesting about it is that he focused on exactly the thing the director (the illustrious A. Scott Parry) and I had many conversations and even arguments about. I ended up doing what Scott wanted me to do, and it seems that, well, he was right. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had trouble doing away with my desires to be a COMEDIENNE with a capital C, and I just wanted to play Rosina for laughs. But he always encouraged me to play her for real, to avoid the easy laughs, and try to understand the truth behind why she is who she is. We even had a big argument the night before the dress rehearsal because he told me he wanted me to be "more of a woman". "Well," I quipped, "then you probably should have hired someone else because obviously I'm just too strong and masculine to do this the way you want it." (I know, I can be bratty sometimes, but we're friends so it was okay). He very gently coaxed me off my ledge, and I agreed that I would do my best to stay true and honest to the character, and avoid "trying" to be funny. Many times Scott asked me to "channel the Countess in Marriage of Figaro - remember who you become!" he chanted. Well, it worked. I wasn't even thinking about that, but somehow the reviewer got it.
I must give credit to Scott - this looks like it's a good review of what I did, but honestly, I kind of fought him tooth and nail about doing it this way. So actually, it's a good review of what he did, and what I created because of what he told me. It takes courage to be a young director and ask a cast who has sung their roles many times to do away with the very things they feel make their characters funny. But he quietly insisted, despite protestations, and he was right. I think this is probably how I'm going to play Rosina from now on, so I owe him big time. And as it happens, he has some very interesting ideas about how he wants me to play the Cenerentola he's directing me in at Florida Grand Opera in a couple of months, so I'm sure I'll be asked to pay up soon enough.