28 January 2007, Sweden

Outside my train window is a pristinely snow white landscape. The sun is at about a 30 degree angle off the horizon and it is just about Noon. There is hardly anything as beautiful as Sweden in the middle of winter – when there is snow and sun too. I’m on an amazingly civilized train ride to Malmö, where I will do my first ever Tosca’s. In concert. You even get free internet with your ticket. How’s that for 21st Century convenience. And there’s a no phone zone. Bliss!

I feel like I’ve come out of a long dark tunnel. I got sick a few days ago. The dreaded “winter stomach flu” (an epidemic in the north apparently). And you know how it is with sea sickness or stomach flus…. You just feel like you’d rather die than go through another minute… And then you finally hit the 16 hour sleep part of it, wake up, and feel like a spanking new baby human – ready for anything. Amazing!

Suddenly you respect your body’s feelings and eat only what is good and gentle, you sleep, you go for a refreshing walk, you call a friend and tell them you’re happy because you’re feeling good (!!), and all at once, this blessed state of “un-ruffle-ability” takes over. There is simplicity. Phew! (No wonder we get sick every now and again. It’s like a cosmically imposed reboot!)

Tosca has me completely in awe!
What a score. And what a character. It’s never occurred to me that I should sing her, and, I admit I sort of accepted the job because it was recommended to me. Not because I knew it would be right for me. And I put all my preconceived notions about who really should sing Tosca aside.
I think it’s a role I’ve had up on a piedestal. Something for those lush italian types.
Lo and behold, she is for me too, methinks…
With all her weaknesses, quick reactions, passions and jealousies. And with her loyalty, love and affection too, which I think only Puccini manages to adequately describe through his glorious nuances and twists and turns.

It’s the first role I’ve done where every last piece of me, and my voice, has to be utilized to express who this woman is. It’s not enough to show icy strength. And it’s not enough to hint at surrender. Everything has to be expressed to within a millimeter of its life…. She is as volatile as April weather.

Really challenging. And really fun.

Can’t wait.