15 March 2009

Life is pretty awesome!

I think I am finally finding a little bit of perspective on this crazy life style of mine. It’s still crazy and terribly overwhelming at times, but there are also insights that pull the plug on some of the nerviness of it.

Here are some silly ones:

When you travel to an unfamiliar place, loaded with luggage, dog, and pre-rehearsal or performance nerves… I tend to be uneasy about the practical things. Where do I get my train ticket, am I on the right train, did that announcement apply to me…. Are there going to be a zillion stairs to maneuver (like in London), and will I find a place to let my dog pee (a very important detail although he is unbelievably cool about it!)… And is it OK to take the bus driver’s time with a stupid question while other passengers are waiting to go home after long day at the office??

In the midst of these worrying, flashing-by thoughts (because they are lightning fast, but oh so undermining), it occurred to me that every place I go ~ which to me is new, “other”, unfamiliar, and in its workings a bit mysterious ~ is HOME to a whole bunch of people!

It would be like someone arriving at the suburban subway station I commuted to school through as a kid, and being befuddled and nervous about it…. Hm! Clearly not necessary in reality!

Maestro (my little puppy!) has a beautiful way of relating to each and every apartment we sleep in. Actually, I am not sure what makes an apartment a home to be happy about for him – maybe his bed, his toys, his food, all of the above…. Or, maybe it’s simply because it’s a door behind which you get to arrive “at home”…

Regardless, he get’s so excited to come home (even from a 5 minute walk) that he literally can barely keep his skin on. He wiggles and runs and jumps and looks back at me with this excited question of: “Why are you just walking so calmly? This is the coolest thing ever!!!”

I have to remind myself just how lucky and comfortable I am ~ wherever I am!

Right now we are staying in Munich in between my tour performances of Salome with Welsh National Opera. Time is flying too quickly, as I am really enjoying Munich. I found a wonderful coach, I have friends here, there are lots of places to walk Maestro, and somehow, there is a nice and relaxed feeling in this city. A good mix of north and south.

My time at WNO has been a lovely, calm and sweet experience.
I think you get a natural kick going to work every day and facing a theater that has its motto etched into the facade.

“In these stones horizons sing!”

Is it just me, or isn’t that one of the most inspiring thoughts one could bring into this job every day? Something not to forget. There for everyone – performer and audience alike!

The rehearsal period was easy and nice, and everybody working on the show is so lovely and competent! Just totally pleasant!
It is always strange to come close to the end of a contract where you have felt so comfortable. There is an urge not to leave. A recurring question of whether the next job will be as nurturing.

I guess that is how I would describe this experience. Nurturing!
Being hired by John Fisher (formerly head of the music department at the Met), and conducted by Lothar Koenigs ~ and so supported, respected and appreciated by both, has been the kind of experience that fills up your reserves of strength and confidence. It’s really important.

I am also increasingly grateful for the tender, fun and always enthusiastic support of my agent, Ann.
So many of my colleagues are unhappy with their agents, or simply having to fire them for incompetence, gross negligence, or simple lack of interest. And I do understand that no agent, or for that matter, no singer will ever be perfect. There is always someone else who has better contacts, or more clout, or knows more about this or that. BUT, I would rather share this trip with someone with whom I share mutual respect, admiration and commitment. Someone who gets as excited about music and my singing and the potential in my career as I do. Someone who doesn’t think my value or theirs is derived solely from how many Euros we clock in this month.
I can call Ann to talk if I’m feeling low or high, if I need to discuss strategies in a sticky situation at work or if I need some advice on dog training, I can argue repertoire or fees or vacations, and most of the time she is the one taking a protective and wise stance.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is on my side and that she will fight like a lioness to keep me safe, healthy, and putting my best foot forward. How many people in this business can say that?

I am indeed blessed with the best of all worlds right now: A great boss, an amazing and inspiring conductor, my friend and agent, Ann, and wonderful colleagues whom I can also call friends.