And on the sixth day, God said, “Let all exhausted foreign singers chill.”
In other words, Shabbat Shalom, blogosphere! It’s my day off! Calloo, callay, no singing today!
It has been quite a week. On Monday I had a coaching with Raul in the 20ème and a voice lesson, on Tuesday breakfast with a friend and then wandering about for a while and practicing. Wednesday I had nothing to do, and it was so stressful; I know that sounds insane but it was the longest, most depressing day I’ve had in a long time. And then Thursday was operetta all afternoon plus a voice lesson in the evening, and Friday I was operetta-ing from more or less 11 AM to 11 PM.
Add to that making arrangements for an audition in Valencia, Spain and schlepping all over the city to track down sheet music, buy costume pieces (ever wondered where to buy a not-particularly-chic reasonably-modest black skirt in Paris? C&A!), and drop off materials for yet another audition at Théâtre du Châtelet, and you have one wiped out soprano. Oh, and did I mention that I have a blister on my left foot that is about to take on a life of its own?
Let’s face it. I’m tired.
But I feel like something has shifted, because a couple of months ago by this point of exhaustion I would be curled up in a ball under the covers weeping homesick tears over my Ritter Sport. And I’m not.
You see, blogosphere, I’m feeling a little undecided about the future of my European adventure. I have a plane ticket to go home, and I plan on using it. But now I kind of feel the way I felt when I left Chicago last year–that I’ve started to build up something really valuable here, I’ve made important connections and sung for a lot of people, and why would I want to leave in the middle of all of that?
Last night we had our first showcase concert for my operetta class. I was so tired. We had already had music rehearsals and staging rehearsals and a run-through of the show, a break for dinner (to the tune of “My Favorite Things”–Eggplant and pumpkin and white rice with pickles…–because if you can’t go to Juji-Ya for dinner when you’re performing around the corner, when can you, eh?) and then a run-through of all of the entrances and exits in the space. And then we all waited around for a while until we finally took our seats to start the concert. It was a very long day, and the concert was nearly two hours long. But every time I got in front of that audience to sing to them in their native language, which I have worked so hard to get right, I felt this huge surge of energy. I felt bad for some of my colleagues because their voices were really suffering, but everybody did beautifully and the audience was wonderful and receptive–and I got laughs!
By the end of the night I was so exhilarated (if still tired), and I thought to myself, this is what I’m meant to be doing. I feel like I’m just on the edge of some kind of break–the good kind, not the psychotic kind. I’m so happy with my singing, and listening to my recording of last night I can hear myself engaging with the text in a way that I don’t think I ever have before. (If anybody wants to hear my unbelievably cool uvular rolled French R, I’ll send you a recording–I’m pretty impressed with it myself!) My classmate Carole had told her friend that I was the American in the class, and he told me after the concert that if he hadn’t known I was American beforehand, he wouldn’t have been able to tell from the performance. I think I actually GLOWED.
And I decided that I have to do the second showcase. Wait, let me back up, because I never actually posted about that situation. So as I mentioned, I’m auditioning for Théâtre du Châtelet (for musical theater and opera chorus for the 2012-13 season…we’ll see), and the only day that I could do the audition was next Wednesday–the day of the concert–between 5 and 7. And my director said, but if you come to rehearsal the day before and the morning of the concert and then do the concert, I’m worried that you’ll be tired for the audition. I didn’t really agree, and it did rub me a little bit the wrong way for somebody who isn’t my voice teacher to tell me what would make my voice tired…even so, I was initially not going to go to the concert, or to rehearsals for it Monday and Tuesday.
But last night, I was so thrilled to be performing that all I wanted to do when it was over was do it again…and I also felt a bit guilty to be abandoning ship. I finally feel like such a part of things, even though I was the only American and I still can’t understand a couple of the people in the group, and even though I complained and cried and ranted through the whole three months of this program. All I could think of was Josh Lyman getting the card from the NSC.
Though this is musical theater and not nuclear war, but you know what I mean. So I took a stand with my director and got myself put back into the program for Wednesday. I feel much better now.
I don’t know, blogosphere. Part of me is intensely curious about what the next thing will be. What if there’s somebody at one of these showcases who wants to hire me to do something? What if Châtelet wants to hire me? What if by some miracle I get into one of the young artist programs I’m auditioning for? And there’s a little voice in the back of my head that says, why shouldn’t I be one of those people? It’s a question I’ve always wondered about when thinking about my career, such as it is. They always tell you that if there’s anything else you could be happy doing instead of singing, you should do that. I’m increasingly aware that there isn’t something else I would be happy doing, even when the singing is driving me mad and I’m exhausted…so I wonder why I shouldn’t be the one-in-however-many-people who makes a living as a singer?
Okay, this entry is taking forever to write, and I don’t even remember where it started, so I think it’s time to stop and watch an episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, or maybe go to the library. Yeah, I think I’ll do that.