Crossing the globe

Oddly enough, I’m sitting in the Milan airport on my way to Chicago. How did this happen? I just got to Europe on Monday!

Well, when I arrived in Mondovi, I discovered that 3 out of 7 of the singers were ill, and wouldn’t be coming to Mondovi at all, and would be arriving late in Innsbruck as well. In fact, the only two characters with whom I have any interactions during the first act would not arrive in Innsbruck until Thursday of next week. So on Wednesday, the director told me that I would not be called to rehearsals from Thursday afternoon until the following Thursday, and I was free to go somewhere else if I wanted to.

I know from experience that being stuck in a town where there isn’t a lot going on and where you’re not working can be really awful. And while Innsbruck is supposed to be beautiful, it’s also pretty quiet, and I’ll have 6 weeks there to explore every nook and cranny as it is. So I furiously started searching the internet to see what I might do with myself with this free week. I thought about visiting one of my many friends in Europe, or taking a trip to southern Italy, or visiting my lovely Berlin. But I knew where I really wanted to be this week was in Chicago. See, I may or may not have moonily mentioned in my last blog that there’s now a special someone…… So anyway, I found the cheapest ticket I could from Milan to Chicago, and then Chicago back to Munich (the nearest big airport to Innsbruck) in time for my first rehearsal, and I’m on my way.

I left Mondovi yesterday afternoon after a morning recit rehearsal with the director, and took a train to Torino. In Torino I managed to spend an hour and a half with my dear Italian “brother” Vincenzo (about whom I wrote this blog), and stuffed my face with some delicious gelato. I couldn’t believe I’d been in Italy for 4 days and hadn’t yet eaten gelato – what a sin! Then I boarded a train for Milan, where I spent the evening with another dear friend who I have also blogged about, Kate Aldrich, who is currently in rehearsals for her La Scala debut as Rosina. We ate at this amazing restaurant that her boyfriend had recommended, and I mean to tell you that my last meal in Italy was exactly what I had in mind.

We started with a plate of utterly amazing cured meats, cheeses, and bruschetta with the freshest tasting tomatoes (how do they DO that in Italy??) and this other crazy thing called Straciatella, which is a type of fresh cheese that is prepared in the same way the Mozerella burrata is – it’s very hard to describe, but it's kind what I imagine butter would taste like if it were made out of cheese. Plus there was something called lardo – which is what it sounds like – very thinly sliced pieces of fat that you put on bread. I was rolling my eyes back in my head and stamping my feet in ecstasy when I tasted it. We also had a perfect insalata mista – I love how the Italians just give you a few vegetables – arugula, radicchio, carrots and lettuce, and some really good olive oil and balsamic vinegar to put on top. Finally, we had tagliatelle with a sauce made out of tomato and wild boar. It was very rich and utterly delicious. I realize I don’t usually go into such detail when I describe my meals, but if I go back and look at the blog entries I wrote when I was singing in Italy, I did that often. What can I say? Italy makes me a foodie.

And now I’m on my way back to the States. I can only imagine the effect all this back and forth across time zones is going to have on my jet-lag. I’m hoping that somehow it will cancel itself out, and by the time I arrive in Innsbruck on Wednesday I will somehow be perfectly adjusted.

Wow. Woody Harrelson is standing right in front of me at the airport. Nobody is talking to him – I guess he’s less famous in Italy. He’s downing two bottles of water. Smart thinking Woody – hydrating is key for transcontinental flights. By this point, I should really know