Closer to opening

We’ve moved a bit closer to opening night, January 29, of “Tristan und Isolde” here in Toronto (Canadian Opera Company). It has been a great rehearsal period. The stress for the artists has been, in my opinion, much lower than is often the case when presenting an epic Wagner musical drama. It’s been a wonderful way to get this production together.

I have, of course, sung the role of Kurwenal many times. It is one of my most performed roles. However, it’s not a role that gets any easier. No, it’s not my most difficult or longest role. However, the character and the range present their own problems. So far, this production agrees wonderfully with how I want to present the role on all levels. It’s a different interpretation, to be sure (especially in Act 3). But it is allowing me to concentrate vocally and do the best on that front that I can. I’m pleased.

Cold weather is moving in. Along with that usually comes the nemesis of all singers--very dry air. The humidifiers are running full time and care is being taken to keep the body hydrated. One has to be so careful to avoid the horrible flu season that is upon us--not to mention the normal colds and other bugs. So far, our cast has got through this month well. I hope that continues to be the case.

I’m surprised at how little snow there has been in Toronto this month. I expected much more. With record warm temperatures last week, the several inches that we had disappeared. We are only getting little accumulations here and there. However, this has not been, so far, the winter that I feared in Ontario. I hope it stays that way.

With opening night slowly approaching, we are on a very steady and productive schedule. As a singer, you try and occupy your spare time with other things. In the back of your mind, though, is the thought that you must get back on the stage in a few hours and you never completely lose your focus. Over the years, I’ve never really learned to totally compartmentalize during these times. As singing and acting are such a part of what you are doing (and is so personal), you have to keep it all in perspective and not let the performing overtake your days. On the other hand, you don’t want to get your mind so far off of performing that you have a hard time kicking back into gear come rehearsal or showtime. Maybe it’s good that winter is here and that other activities are a bit restricted. All I know is that I’m ready to head back to the theater fairly quickly upon leaving. Maybe, for an artist, that’s the way it is supposed to be.