Back to the beginning

It seems like I've basically stopped blogging altogether. I'll talk about the reasons for that later on in this post. For now, I have to write a little bit about being back in Torino, the place where my blog was born. I started writing this thing in the first place because I was coming to sing in Italy - Europe, for that matter - for the first time, and I knew I wanted to record my successes and failures. Now almost three years have passed and I'm back in the city where it all began,  I can't help but think about all that has changed since then. Hence: blog post.

I'm in Torino to sing a concert version of L'Olimpiade, the opera by Pergolesi that I sang this past summer in Innsbruck. The entire cast has been reassembled, and we first met in Vienna a couple of days ago for one rehearsal, followed by a concert at the Theater an der Wien. Then, while most of the rest of the cast went home for a couple of days before coming to Torino to perform the second and final concert, I came directly here. I have spent the last couple of days eating my weight in carbohydrates, and discovering that thankfully, I still seem to remember how to speak italian, despite my little sojourn into trying to learn to speak german. 

A couple of funny things happened in Vienna that I wanted to blog about. First of all, I was at the mercy of a lot of jet lag and schedule craziness, because I left Berlin for New York only 10 days before returning to Vienna, so I had some sort of reverse jet lag coming back. I left on Monday night, arrived Tuesday afternoon, rehearsed wednesday, and sang the concert on Thursday. My voice was surprisingly okay despite all that running around, although my body was so confused by the time changes that I only managed to sleep for about one hour the night before the concert. I get particularly nervous for concert performances because I feel very naked without the staging. But in spite of these obstacles the concert went fine, with a few things that I wished I could have done better. 

One interesting thing that happened is that when I arrived at the theater for the first rehearsal, I was having trouble finding the stage door until a few seemingly random people standing outside somehow knew what I was looking for and pointed me towards the correct door. When I went in and they followed me, I realized that the reason they knew to tell me where to go was that they had been waiting for me (as well as the other singers) with photos of us that they wanted to have autographed. This is a tradition that seems to only occur in the german speaking countries, where there are more avid "fans" than in other places. I was so utterly shocked by these people a) knowing who I was and b) having photos of me (that had been printed from the internet on glossy card stock), and c) wanting my autograph, that I almost couldn't speak. But even more shocking (and flattering) was that after the concert, there was a gentleman waiting for me who had about 20 photographs of me from the Barber of Seville at the Staatsoper that I didn't even know existed! He handed me the stack to start signing, and I had to stop and look at all the photos because I didn't even know they took photos of me doing that show and had never seen them! I asked him where he got them, and he explained to me how to find them on the Staatsoper website, which I did as soon as I got home. I found this one, which I thought was pretty funny:

And then the next day flew here, to Torino, to have a couple of free days before performing the second of the two concerts. 

I love Italy, I really do. I mean, there is so much to love (you can read pretty much any of my posts from the two months I was here in 2008 and they all sound like love letters), and in addition I get to see how I've changed and grown from when I was here three years earlier. Of course, re-reading some of my posts, I still have a lot of the same fears and anxieties about singing that plagued me back then, and some of the anxieties have probably intensified a little bit (I have this unusually big fear of forgetting words which seems to have increased over the past couple of years even though I've never ever forgotten the words in a performance - go figure!). 

But something has really changed for the better, and it is actually illustrated by the fact that I haven't been blogging much lately. See, I started the blog in order to share my experiences because, to put it bluntly, I was really lonely. I was thrilled to be able to travel all over the place and sing, but it was a very lonely existence at that point in some ways. I have always been someone who needed to feel like I was sharing things in order to gain the most from experiencing them - from my spaghetti bolognese to my feelings on performance anxiety and constant travel. And something that has changed enormously in my life is that instead of spreading out that sharing among friends, family, and blog readers, I now have one person that gets it all - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the extra bolognese. Not to say that those other people I mentioned aren't just as important to me (including you, dear readers!!) but I don't have the same feelings and emotions floating around in my head all the time, because I'm lucky enough to find someone who listens to all of them, every day, several times a day. And that type of sharing has made me feel fulfilled in a way that I think I was searching for during the whole time I was blogging regularly. 

It doesn't mean I'm going to stop blogging - it just means that I might need a period of adjustment where I recalibrate a bit and figure out what kinds of things are now important for me to share, and with whom, and how much. I just need to get my thoughts back in order now that they are flowing out of me at such a rapid rate to one person, and see what that means in terms of getting them on paper (or computer screen to be precise). 

Oh - and the reason for the re-design is that I've been obsessed lately with many design blogs, and I just needed my blog to look different before I could even bear to look at it again. I may be in a period of re-definition, just in general. Bear with me, and maybe I'll even have some kind of fantastic epiphany or something. I mean, I'm not promising anything, but I do think that eating gelato definitely turns me into a genius for the 30 seconds it takes me to inhale it, so, you know, anything's possible.