I’m sitting in the Warsaw airport nearly two hours before my short flight to Torino is set to depart, so I have plenty of time to write a wrap up of my experiences in Warsaw.
First, a few thoughts from the performance side of things. The performances both went well, although, as often happens, the second performance was better for me than the first. Not only did I have the hindsight of knowing how I felt in the first performance, I also had the extreme advantage of being able to watch a dvd of the first performance, and this gave me great insight into things I wanted to do differently. I feel like opera performances rarely get put onto video (except maybe an archival video where you can’t see anything) and so I don’t get to watch what I’m doing physically that often. Watching this video was a real eye-opener for me about some things I was doing unconsciously with my body that I really needed to correct. I was making all kinds of extraneous movements that were not adding anything to the drama, and to my eye just looked weird. In the first aria, when I was standing still, I noticed that I was rocking back and forth on my feet a lot (I think I do it to try to feel my grounding and to eliminate tension – but it’s totally and completely unconscious) and it was very distracting. During the duet and the second aria, I was unconsciously swinging my arms way too much– also distracting. During the second performance I was able to focus on tranquility of the body, and I think it made a huge difference. This lesson goes right along with the one I learned during Cenerentola about how unconscious body habits (like lifting my shoulders) can have negative effects on both vocal production and dramatic effectiveness. I wish I could have a dvd of every performance to try to correct any weird body things I might be doing – but since I probably won’t, I will just have to be vigilant about my body in a way I haven’t up til now. I think it will be a great tool in fact, for when I’m feeling nervous or not centered – to focus on relaxing the body and staying still and tranquil. If 2008 was a year where I learned a lot about my voice, 2009 is proving to be a year where I learn a lot about how my body and movements affect my singing.
Now for some general thoughts about the experience of working in Warsaw: In a nutshell, I had a great time! I liked the people I was working with so very much – I am sad to leave them and to say goodbye. At first I thought it was going to be bizarre to come back to Warsaw in June for just one performance, but I’m so glad now that I didn’t actually have to say goodbye, and could just say see you later to everyone. I don’t know if most opera singers are incredibly nice, or if I’ve just been really lucky, but it seems like so many of the gigs I’ve had in recent memory have been extremely enjoyable because of the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet. There aren’t too many professions that allow you to constantly meet new and interesting people with whom you have a great deal in common, and this is something I really treasure about this job. And the people on this gig were particularly nice and supportive which made the time fly by.
And now I’m on my way to Italy, where I will rest a bit before having a bunch of auditions in various countries and cities. I’m salivating already at the thought of my first gelato.