Of course, we often go back to work in places where we have previously worked, and if it's someplace we liked, we get to arrive and feel a pleasant sense of nostalgia as we ride from the airport through town once again. But with Portland I have all kinds of memories, and they are all flooding back. When I worked here last time it was X number of years ago (I don't even want to calculate when it actually was because then I will feel like a grandmother) and I sang Cherubino. Later that same season, my best friend Georgia sang Rosina here. Now that Portland is back to doing Barber again, I'm here (and coincidentally, Georgia was also back here for the first time since that Rosina/Cherubino year, earlier this season for a production of Phillip Glass's Orphee), staying in the same Marriot Residence Inn, in what appears to be the same room.
But also, after I sang in Portland last time, my parents moved here and lived here for two years before relocating to New York, so not only do I have memories of when I sang here, but also of the countless trips I took here to come visit them during their time living just outside the city. It's really a wonderful town, and the only thing one could possibly complain about here is the weather - but even fog and rain can be rather nice and cozy for a month.
I was delighted to discover that on the leg of my flight that went from Minneapolis to Portland, I was joined by my cast mate and friend Daniel Belcher, who is singing Figaro. Danny and I have worked together a lot, including several previous productions of Barber, and a couple productions of Little Women where we played opposite each other. I love him because he's a wonderful, kind, supportive guy, but he also enjoys sarcasm and giving me a hard time. In fact, when he saw how many suitcases I was pulling off the baggage claim carousel, he couldn't help but cry, "Oh my GOD Rivera, how much stuff do you NEED??" and even though I was quick to retort, "But it's for 4 months!!" he too quickly remembered, "Well, I seem to remember that when we went to Japan for TWO WEEKS, you had about the same amount of stuff." And he would be right about that.
See, when we went to Japan (with New York City Opera, to sing Little Women) I wasn't as good at packing light yet, and not only did I bring way more than I needed, but I also bought literally 7 kimonos, among other stuff, to bring back with me to the states. And since we were on tour and going from city to city, it was up to each of us to schlep all our stuff on and off of buses and trains and planes constantly. And since I had WAY more than I could carry, it was left up to my friends, like dear old Danny, to constantly be helping me. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that once we loaded into the van to take us to the hotel, he called his wife and 5 year old daughter to tell them he had arrived, and after talking to his daughter for a minute, he told her, "Remember Jenny? Well, it took Daddy and Jenny awhile to get to the van because Jenny brought about 14 bags with her." I had to explain to him that 5 year olds don't understand sarcasm. But knowing his sense of humor and how smart his daughter is, she was probably totally chuckling at my expense on the other end of the line.
Well, I think at this point I'm rambling like a crazy person because I'm super tired and delirious from the long day of traveling, and I would really love to fall asleep right now. But it's only 8:30 PM here, so I have to force myself to stay awake awhile longer.
Oh - and Danny might have been right about the over packing. Upon unpacking my suitcases, I've noticed that I seem to have brought 11 pairs of shoes.