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This blog is a combination of new material and previously published archives... Mostly about singing, music, opera and the life of an artist. Thanks for reading!


Friday, 4 March 2011

Suprise!!! You're on...a text message diary of a sudden debut

10:13 Voicemail: You have 1 new voicemail

Exiting the shower, in preparation for a routine day’s teaching, I find a new text message on my mobile. Lovely husband has taken the kids away to the cinema and lunch (this is in the half-term school holidays) so I can have a bit of peace, quiet and practice time before my first student arrives for her lesson. The voicemail message is from my agent, asking me to ring back urgently…Covent Garden needs a Königen der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte for tomorrow night. I ring her. Oops, make that TONIGHT. She will ring back to confirm what is going on.

10:30 Me (to my Husband): Please ring asap

Dear husband steps out of the cinema and rings me. No problem, he will entertain the kids as planned and on into the evening if necessary. Don’t worry, go up to London if you have to. Hurriedly get dressed, dry hair, etc. Several phone calls - and some mad scrambling for my Zauberflöte score - later, I’m heading out the door.

12:03 Me (to my Students): Sorry about being so last minute, but I have to cancel today’s lesson. I will see you next week as per usual.

12:04 Me (to my Husband): On a train to London. Well, this should cover the overdraft in any case...

Hope the other passengers in the train carriage aren’t getting too weirded out by the mad woman whispering German to herself. And scribbling. Hoping they don’t actually understand German, either, what with all the talk of knives and killing…

12:37 (from fellow cast member and old friend): Hear you’re on!!! FantAstic!! See you later…xx

12:46 ROH Asst Company Mgr: Hi Laure. Thank you so much for agreeing to jump in this evening. I think you will arrive around 2:00. Please ask for me when you are at stage door. You will then first have a costume fitting, followed by a production rehearsal. Could you please let me know if you need any tickets for the show? You can get 2 comps. Thanks. Cu later. X

Forward this one on to my husband.

13:40 Me (to my Husband): Think I left candle burning in shower room!

Perhaps I am a little nervous. Having visions of the house burning down. Arrive at stage door in good time, whisked off to promised fitting and rehearsal.

14:08 Husband: Back home. No Fire. X

After rehearsal, a little time to relax (yeah right) and gather my thoughts. Tell myself I only need to hold it together for Act I aria, after which I will have a bit of time to prepare for the rest. Take it one scene at a time, Queenie. Try to remember what I normally do to prepare for a Flute performance: Eat a light supper – tick; Warm up – tick; Relax, and lay out knitting and crossword for later – uh...but this is NOT a normal situation. No time for knitting tonight…

16:49 Husband: Cant west? X

16:50 Me (to my Husband): Yes!

Pleased that hubby will be in audience. Worked out that teenage daughter can babysit younger ones while tweenage daughter comes to see the opera with him…clever man.

17:01 Family friend: Break a leg (in German)! Xx

17:36 Husband: Ashford intl. Due charing x just before 7. Wolf mouth thing. Enjoy it, you deserve to be there. Love x

I’ve explained to him ‘in boca al lupo’ but he resolutely refuses to remember it. Never mind. Wig and make-up person arrives in my dressing room to begin transforming me into evil incarnate, which I’m told will take at least an hour. It involves a lot of glitter, which confirms many of my suspicions (about glitter that is)…Conductor pops in to check tempos with me. Director checks to see I’m OK with the blocking.

19:08 Husband: We’re here! (Tweenage daughter)’s impressed…

Wig on. Dressers come in to lace me into several layers of sparkly black taffeta and escort me to the stage. Get into position behind wall that is about to fly out, listening to Tamino sing his aria...so far, so normal...except for my heart thudding so loud I worry I won’t be able to hear the orchestra. Tell myself just to focus on blocking, words, oh and not letting giant crescent moon hit me on the head as I cross downstage...

20:42 Husband: Fabulous, darling. X

Aria #1 done and dusted. Time now to rehearse dialogue and review text for Aria #2. Pamina comes into my dressing room to go over dialogue (my version is severely cut down from what she is used to, but she is cool about it). I try not to let the fact that she is a major international name freak me out too much. She’s even more gorgeous close up.

21:43 ROH Repetiteur and Coach: Well done, Laure. You did fabulously. Your voice carried full and true. X

Done with Act 2 aria and no one has come back stage to shoot me yet. Must be doing OK. Haven’t even tripped over the dress. Only Finale Quintet left to survive. Lucky there are a few minutes (!) to rehearse it in dressing room. Friendly 3rd Lady comes to stomp through it with me. (This is usually my knitting time.)

22:33 Husband: Superb! Back stage? X

Finished! Did it! Can’t get the glitter off fast enough…curtain calls were fun, even if my applause was probably just for showing up at all…

22:47 to my Husband: Stage door asap

22:47 Husband: Here now

We catch the milk train home. I’m still covered in glitter, wig glue, and sweat. So that’s what ‘einspringen’ means. Can’t quite get my head around it yet, but I do believe I have just made my debut in a Major International House…completely and utterly by surprise.