It's kinda like I never left.
I guess I've never spent two months in a place (other than New York) only to return for another two months after only 6 weeks away. As I was going through my day today, it felt much more like coming back to New York after a gig than arriving at a new gig. Which is great - I LOVE not having to figure stuff out! Of course, just because I don't have to figure out where the supermarket is (or what kind of bread I like there) - or where the Staatsoper is for that matter - I still have to figure out how to sing this opera with this group, and that's enough of a challenge for me, thank you!
I've been really excited to have the opportunity to work with Rene Jacobs because I know what fabulous results he gets from his performers, and I wanted to soak up all that knowledge and musicality for myself. After the first day of rehearsal, I can say with certainty that I won't be disappointed. His knowledge of everything baroque is extensive - today he was talking about which of Handel's cantatas Handel himself was either borrowing or parodying for these Agrippna arias, and I found it all fascinating. I was imagining we were going to have a sing through of most of the opera today, but instead we worked extensively on the first few recitatives and arias. The work was very demanding of brain power on my part - something I was feeling a little short of after arriving yesterday morning sleepless from a 9 hour flight. Plus we started at 10 AM, which was 4 AM for me, still running on New York time. However, I have to say I really enjoy working exhaustively on musical choices instead of just slamming everything together, which is what usually happens because of limited time. To be able to work and re-work each phrase is an amazing luxury, especially when you have an expert guiding your way. I can tell I'm going to learn TONS about the baroque style from this experience, and I want to eat up every morsel of information. Handel's totally gonna be my bitch by the time this is all over.
As I was leaving the theater in between the afternoon and evening rehearsals, a young, normal looking guy stopped me and started talking to me in German. I could tell he wanted something from me, so I pretended not to speak German (which, let's be honest, is not a stretch for me). But instead of giving up, he tried in English. He said "I artist. I make paintings. I make painting on your face?" Now, I don't know if he just had some wrong english going on there, but regardless, I politely declined. "Whhhhaaaayyyyy Naaaaahhhhht?" he whined at me. "Well, dear sir, I don't think I should return to my first day of rehearsals at the Berlin Staatsoper with Maesto Rene Jacobs, with some kind of weird dragon or Harry Potter character painted across my face," is what I SHOULD have said. Instead I just looked at him quizzically and repeated "Nein, danke" and went on my merry way. I don't know, maybe he was a just make-up artist and thought I needed a make-over or something, but on the subway ride home, I couldn't stop imagining myself prancing back into rehearsal and scooting past the harpsichord with my face painted all green and sparkly. It would have made an impression, that's for sure.