As I said a few weeks ago, learning an opera role is an adventure, and it is definitely a challenge. Alberich is proving to be every bit the challenge I expected–Wagner is not easy, folks! So many words, so many chromatic passages, odd leaps...it is definitely a full-time job right now working through it! But it’s also really satisfying to have such a challenge, especially on the end of a year without really doing much performing to speak of. So here I am, minding my own business, learning this difficult role, when I get an offer to revisit another role while still prepping this one.
Last summer I sang Vodnik for the first time in Rusalka (basically the operatic version of The Little Mermaid, and Vodnik is her father..so King Triton). Luckily it’s with the same program I did last summer (and the same program for which I am preparing Das Rheingold now). That being said, it is still a bit of a daunting prospect adding this back into the mix. This role is truly wonderful to sing, so on the one hand I am thrilled to get to explore it again and see how my characterization may have deepened with time. On the other hand, it’s a very short timetable to bring it back up to scratch (especially the Czech language!), and I’m having to balance it with Alberich as well as my summer teaching load.
So...of course I said yes.
Will this be a challenge? Yes. Will I be worried about all of it? Yes. Is it a quick turnaround between start and finish? Yes. But it’s also an opportunity to delve back into a role I love, a role that I had no idea I’d be able to sing again so soon. It gives me a chance to have some extra artistic fulfillment and fun, so it is worth the extra work and the stress.
This is often a dilemma artists face in their careers. It’s always a balancing act, and you almost always have multiple projects going on at the same time. The real trick is to be able to weigh each project and say either yes or no at the right time. I have certainly gotten myself into situations where I was overworked and barely hanging on, simply because I didn’t say no when I should have. And I honestly did consider whether or not this was going to be one of those times. But in this case, I didn’t have the nagging feeling of unease or worry that normally tells me to say no. I was just excited to get to do this role again, and also excited to be asked!
So here goes a really busy 2 weeks. The center ring show under the big top: watch me juggle summer lessons, a church job, book club, Dungeons and Dragons, reviewing one opera role while still learning another, and putting a virtual opera on its feet in 2 weeks with little advance preparation. It’ll be a bit of a circus, but I think it’ll be a fun one–off we go!