Simone and I backstage.
Closing day. And what a long one. My normal call time for our 7:30pm show has been approximately 4:45. So for our 2:30 show, I made my way to the theatre for 11:45. But the 2:30 show didn’t end until 5:05, and thus continued the incredibly long two show day. However, both shows were really strong. At intermission of the second show our producer came up to me to tell me that he thought that performance was our best so far. Which is a lovely thing to hear when all you feel like doing is falling over from exhaustion.
When we got back to the hotel after our incredibly long day we ordered some bottles of wine, got pizza delivered, and hung out talking and visiting until two in the morning. It was a perfect way to end the show.
Since the only thing to happen all day today was the show, I bring you pictures related to the show.
Lexi’s dress being adjusted by the wardrobe team.
Lexi on stage for Tacea la Notte
Simone doing Estrano
Valentina doing Oh Don Fatale
Outside the Swiss National History Museum
Now that the show is open, I had a bit of time to explore again today. I went back to the main Christmas market and picked up yet another item that hasn’t left my mind in the week since I saw it. And then I made my way to the Swiss National History Museum. Unfortunately, It wasn’t very good. The number one reason it wasn’t very good was that its collection is really lacking. It had more photos of items than actual items. The second reason is that I couldn’t enjoy it as there weren’t English descriptions of what each item was. The third problem was that the museum is housed in a BEAUTIFUL building, but the design of the museum does not allow the use of the existing architecture. Fake walls block grand staircases, vaulted ceilings are hidden by fake ones. It was very disappointing.
Frau Munster through the window of the Art Museum
From there I made my way over to the free art museum near the opera house. Again there were no English descriptions, but it was art and didn’t really need them. Some of the pieces were really odd, but it was fun to look at them.
I did a little bit more shopping and then made my way back to the hotel for a nap before the show. It was a really great nap.
Lexi singing her heart out tonight.Switzerland
The show tonight was really great. The audience still loves it and it sounds amazing. I was standing backstage talking to Valentina, a Mezzo from Italy, about how lucky we are during tonight’s performance. Not only do I get to do what I love, but I also get to listen to amazing music every night and travel the world and get paid to do all of it. So so so lucky – even when I miss my own bed. Which I do.
Tomorrow we have our last two shows and then Sunday is an adventuring day and Monday I head to Sweden. It’s all wrapping up here and I am going to miss these people so much.
I work backstage
Today was another long day in the stadium. Twelve hours with lots of climbing up and down stairs. Maybe I’ll lose some weight with all the walking. Or at least keep from gaining the weight I should be gaining from all the chocolate, cheesecake, and wine I’ve been consuming.
We had our first audience tonight and they seemed to quite enjoy the show. And tomorrow is opening, so I’ve got my party dress ready to go!
Speaking of cheesecake, the wonderful men of the wardrobe department brought Lexi and I a piece (with two forks) this afternoon. It was from Bubbles and is supposed to be the best cheesecake in Zurich. It was definitely some of the best cheesecake I have ever had and we intend to go find the cafe that makes it to get more . Just thinking about that cheesecake is making me drool. It was the perfect finishing touch to our dressing room picnic. The picnic was cheese, more cheese, meat, more meat, bread, pickles, cookies, juice, and gummy peaches. Yum.
Now I have a confession, which may be shocking for those of you who know me well. I have fallen in love with a puppy. Gatsby is adorable. Tonight after dress rehearsal Lexi, Simone and I spent an hour playing with Gatsby. We became a puppy playground on the bed and were all greeted with many kisses and excited bounces. Gatsby is behaving as therapy for the end of the crazy days.
Now Playing: Lights Used to Shine by Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhaur
A Panorama of the stadium, with stage manager Mary Peters in the lower right corner. Photo by stage director, Ragnar Conde.
Today was the first rehearsal in the stadium. It’s starting to look like a show. First audience tomorrow night.
Lexi playing around backstage during our first rehearsal with costumes
Today was our last day commuting out to Huttwilen! And the first day working with the absolutely beautiful costumes. The costumes are just so stunning and detailed and unique. And the costume team is fantastic. Bjorn (the wardrobe manager) runs a very tight ship and is one of my new favourite people.
Also on the list of my new favourite people is Evelina, the head runner/assistant to the stage manager who is backstage helping us out. She makes my life so very very happy.
After rehearsal we came back to the city and I crashed. Absolutely crashed. There was talk about going out or doing something, but I just did chores (like washing my clothes in the shower) and then went to bed. Here’s to 10 hours of sleep!
First view of the stadium, all set up for “floorball”
Today was a bit of a stressful day at rehearsal. It was our first “work through” of the show, but part way through there was a medical emergency that required an ambulance. Everyone is okay at this point, but it was scary and a little overwhelming.
Tonight we got our first glimpse inside the stadium. It was smaller than I thought. But when i was thinking about that reaction later tonight I realize that it must be because a speed-skating oval (the only stadium I have experience with) is so big. We went over to the stadium to meet the lighting programer, and ended up watching the Swiss lose the world floorball semi finals 4-3 in overtime to Finland. It was quite dramatic.
After visiting the stadium I headed downtown to meet up with my friends Kaari & Erin who I visited in London and went to Amsterdam with. They are in town just for the weekend, so we decided to meet up and go for fondue. The first place we went to had an hour wait, so we went to a place that their hotel recommended, and when we finally found the random door with a very small sign, we found one table left in the restaurant. It was a table for two, but they were happy to pull up a third chair for us.
Fondue dinner with Kaari & Erin.
We ordered the fixed menu: salads, cheese fondue, and our choice of desserts. It was fantastic. Real swiss fondue: CHECK.
The only problem was that I forgot my camera at the rehearsal venue, so I could only take photos on my iPhone. It’s less than ideal, but it does the trick most of the time.
On the plus side, I think I picked out moms Christmas present tonight but I still have to go back and buy it.
Today was another day of snow and rehearsals that was completed by wine with friends in the hotel room. Here are some photos from the last couple of days.
The spread at one of our late night “post mortem’s”
Our wine cooling system.
Lexi and I out in the snow on a break from rehearsal.
Simone and Lexi letting the Gatsby pup lick out the wine glass.
Cue out playing in the snow.
The rehearsal warehouse.
Today was the first of our long days, spending 12 or more hours away from the hotel between rehearsal and commute times. It feels as long as it is, and by the time we board the bus to head home I am exhausted and cannot believe how much energy the actors all have.
I did, however, manage to get out of the warehouse for a 20 minute walk around Huttweilen during our lunch break. It’s not enough time to fully explore the town, but it was great to get some fresh air and see some of the area we are working in. The best view so far was from a small graveyard at the top of the hill. I even got a photo of our rehearsal warehouse showing off the the big Viva Verdi posters out front and trying to give a sense of how big the rehearsal space is.
Our rehearsals are now in at least four languages daily: English, Spanish, Italian, and German. Just when I think I figure out what is going on or being said, the language changes again. It amazes me how many languages the people around me hold in their heads and it is inspiring me to learn more of other languages. Speaking only English is definitely a hindrance in this world.
I’m sorry I don’t have more to say, but there is only so much to report when you sleep, bus to rehearsal, rehearse, bus home, and go back to bed.
Exploring small town Switzerland: houses, a woodpile, a church, a graveyard, one of many fountains, and a great view.
The clear day view from the rehearsal venue parking lot
I woke up this morning to brilliant sunshine and clear skies. What an amazing start to our first day with maestro, the pianist, and the soloists!
Rehearsal went really smoothly – we ended up finishing early and doing more than we were originally scheduled to do. I’m still getting used to the opera version of rehearsing: sing through a couple of times with Maestro giving notes, go over blocking with the director, put it all together once, see you at dress rehearsal. That seems like an exaggeration, but it is exactly what is happening with some numbers and some performers. I was nervous about today, mostly because I didn’t know what to expect. I had been talking to a friend in the morning and mentioned this and they laughed a little. Then mid-day I sent my friend an email that said, “I’m not nervous anymore. I’m too busy being awesome.” Which maybe is an exaggeration, but it’s how I felt. Today was the day that I sat in the room and couldn’t help but wonder how this is my life. I am half-way around the world, doing what I love to do, in ac company of great people, and getting paid for all of it. Amazing. Let’s just hope that sense of wonder and gratitude holds as the days get longer and the work gets harder.
Maestro giving his speech at the reception
Tonight after rehearsal was our special “meet and greet” which was really a get-to-know-everyone reception. There were speeches. There was wine. There were many introductions. Lotfi Mansouri gave a great speech about how his goal is to show that opera is “cooler than Lady Gaga” and that he’ll be happy if some audience members who are not regular opera goes leave saying, “you know, that was actually okay. Maybe I’ll go see some opera sometime.” We also were given a tour of the costume room, and got to see one of the costume pieces on a performer, which is a treat because the costumes for this show are GORGEOUS.
They also gave us each a Viva Verdi t-shirt at the reception. I’m not sure I really have room in my suitcase (while staying under the weight limit), but I’ll put it to use here in Zurich for sure. And hey, it’s another black shirt for my remaining months on the road requiring blacks.
modeling the new T-shirt