I guess I should just stop apologizing for the fact that I haven't been posting as much lately. By now, you know the drill. The thing is, I really feel like you guys know everything I'm doing, so I don't have anything to write unless something out of the ordinary occurs. And since I was in the exact same place at the exact same time last year, doing a new production with the same conductor and a few of the same people involved, I almost feel redundant telling you what's going on. Instead I want to reminisce a little about the past year.
2010 was definitely the best year I've had professionally to date. The year started with my performances here in Berlin of Agrippina, which was not only a very successful production, but a very fulfilling artistic experience on every level. Also, that project led to my entering the recording studio for the very first time in my career and actually making a CD, which happened in the summer. Even though it won't be released until next year, this felt like a huge accomplishment and a real stepping stone in achieving something I had only dreamed about.
After I finished up in Berlin and had some time off, I embarked on the longest period of gigs (without any breaks in between) - a total of over 4 months without ever returning to my apartment. First in Portland, where I got to remember how incredibly fun this job can be when you are surrounded by colleagues that you enjoy both on and off the stage. It also got me started with video blogging, a new and interesting hobby I picked up, which I hope to continue. Then I got to create a role for a world premiere; Veruca Salt in "The Golden Ticket" in St Louis, which was pretty much just as fun as you'd imagine being in the Willy Wonka opera would be. It also marked the period during which I met Michael, which as I've discussed on the blog, changed my life in a huge and wonderful way. The end of this long series of gigs was in Innsbruck, Austria, where I somehow managed to memorize a huge role in an opera that lasted 5 hours by Pergolesi called "L'Olimpiade". The opera was recorded for Sony (to be released I have no idea when) and was a huge challenge to me personally (such an enormous role with mountains of secco italian recitative to memorize, and four huge dacapo arias to sing) as well as a personal challenge, since I got to experience being away in Europe for a very long time just as I was starting a new relationship.
Then the year ended with me back in Berlin, first performing some Rosinas, with a brief trip to Chicago for only my second foray into Bach, and then back here for yet another Christmas and New Years celebration very far from my loved ones, but luckily surrounded by some of the dear friends I've managed to make in Berlin after having spent so much time here. That's actually quite a lot to have happened in just one year, dontcha think?
Being in the same place for the second year in a row causes you to reflect on just how much has happened since what seems to have passed by in just a few minutes is suddenly an entire year. I can't believe how much has changed in my personal life since one year ago, and how much happier I am as a result of these changes. I also can't believe, honestly, how little has changed in my professional life. I thought that with all the things I was doing and accomplishing and succeeding at last year, I would be in a new position by the beginning of this year, and maybe more doors would be opening and things would be a little easier. Alas, it seems that the lot of a singer is to be constantly wondering, hoping, and slogging through the same set of difficulties, regardless of the level your career has reached. For those of you who are looking at careers in singing, I have to warn you that it doesn't really get easier as you go along in your career. Either you keeping making it to higher levels and therefore having more pressure placed upon you to live up to what you have accomplished so far, or you have trouble ascending to new levels, and fight the frustration of the invisible roadblocks that seem to be placed before you.
But then - just look at some of the videos I made, especially when I was in Portland, and you'll see how lucky I am to get to not only work with such wonderful, funny, warm, intelligent people, but also to get to spend time with them, and know them, and have them warm your soul with their kindness and support (I mean you, Nick and Danny). Look at the beauriful videos from Agrippina that you can find on youtube and see how lucky I was to be involved in a piece of art that had such amazing vision and talent creating it and taking part in it, that it actually became somewhat transcendent. People were literally getting into fist fights at the box office over tickets - not for a Justin Bieber concert, mind you, but for a Handel opera! I got to scream and throw tantrums nightly onstage as Veruca Salt, and make people laugh and be transported to a dream world that we all have nostalgia for from our childhoods. And even though the Pergolesi opera was really a challenge, there were two arias in particular (one crazy vengeance aria where I was slowly moving in the opposite direction as the turntable that covered the whole stage in order to illuminate the madness I was experiencing as I walked through my own life, and an incredibly beautiful lullaby aria) both of which made me feel like I myself was being transported to another place and time, out of this world, and into an ethereal, special place that I think one can only experience in the moment of creating art that moves you to your full, extraordinary potential.
So those are my thoughts about 2010. It was a very, very full year, and I'm actually sad to see it go. But I'm very excited by the new possibilities that 2011 holds for me. Life ain't bad.