Monday, July 1, 2013

Jo – Ho – Hoe!

I’ve been at Glimmerglass Summer Festival for just over two weeks now and we have hit the ground running!
I am here performing the role of Senta in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman.) We have twelve – TWELVE!!!!!-  performances starting July 6th and going through August 24th. Luckily, we have many days off between performances (most of the time) and I’ll be able to enjoy this beautiful countryside. 

I had heard from other colleagues of mine just how stunning mid-state New York was, but these views are remarkable. Just three minutes from my apartment is a farm with free roaming horses that graze all day and hide in a little hut for shelter from the sun if they need it. A few minutes north of the horses is a duck farm where you can buy a dozen duck eggs for $2. There are babbling brooks EVERYWHERE. Both Cooperstown, where the actual opera house is located and surrounding areas like Cherry Valley, where I live, have large Amish and Mennonite communities and there are wonderful farmer’s markets where one may buy fresh pies, breads, cheeses and dairy along with free range eggs and meats. As someone who cooks for myself a lot, I’m in HEAVEN!

Beautiful Upstate New York
Now…Herr Wagner’s score is NOT to be eclipsed by all this natural beauty. The orchestration, themes and scope alone are so powerful; not to mention the vocals.  Senta’s Ballade (her opening scene with aria) is absolutely riveting. When I first looked at the score, I really focused on the Ballade in order to assess whether or not I thought I could sing the part. It turns out that the most difficult singing is actually the duet with the Dutchman. In retrospect, I think my ignorance to the difficulty of the entire score became a benefit as I was learning the role. It reminded me of training at the gym – you have no idea how many repetitions your trainer will make you do – you just have to keep going. 

I am in love with the music – every note. I had not previously heard this opera or seen it  on- stage and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the opera in such a relaxed and healthy setting with lots of fresh air for the lungs!

The story is both compelling and frightening and our director, Francesca Zambello, has done a powerful job setting the atmosphere of a ghost ship cursed to roam the seas. Our Maestro, John Keenan, does a masterful job of balancing the breadth and spectrum of power coming from the pit. The orchestra is singing with him. The Met does a much better job of describing the plot of The Flying Dutchmanthan I do; so, here is a nifty link.

I’ll also include a photo blog of some of the beginning stage preparations of Dutchman – amazing shots of our lights and set! Click here.

This year has been a whirlwind of travel, music and learning and there is still half a year to go! 

So, lift the sails and pull in the anchors! Let’s go on a ride!


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