New York, 10 March 2007

The beginning of this year really was fun, and so exhausting. I am certainly on a major learning curve, and one of the things to get under my belt is how to pace myself and how to make sure I stay healthy through stressful periods.
Tosca in Malmö was a complete delight! My singing colleagues were wonderful and inspiring. Working on-stage with Tito Beltran was a treat, as both he and I are pretty comfortable improvising, and we certainly hit it off in terms of going full out in any given moment. It felt very much like a staged drama, even though it was a concert performance. Much play, and so much fun!
Our conductor, Markus Lehtinen, is a complete gem. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as generous, enthusiastic and completely uninhibited in such a benevolent way. It is amazing to work with someone whose musical and emotional intensity is not inextricably intertwined with being unstable in communication…
There simply was no room, or need, for short fuses or tricky personalities – Just focus, fun, excitement, and an enormous spirit!
To my great joy, Ingvar Wixell and his wife Margaretha came to the first concert. I had just watched a video of his Scarpia from Arena di Verona before I flew over to Sweden, and was reminded of this huge artist. Amazing! And they are just the sweetest and most supportive people.
As an audience member I am often awed and impressed by artists – but then it is sort of filed away at some kind of arms length kind of distance. But, when you work on a role and you live with it and the other characters, and you get to know the intricacies and psychological matter you have to put yourself through to grasp it, even at a remedial level – and then you meet someone who spent their life in that drama, steeped in the personal experience of putting themselves through it on stage night after night – well, it is amazing, because there is this intant recognition and respect. And understanding. You know the depth and twists and turns this person has put themselves through – even if you don’t know them so well personally.
And it is a treat to get to share the experience over generational lines – and get to absorb a little bit of the accumulated wisdom and insight – even by osmosis!

I hope I get many more opportunities to dive into Tosca!