Greetings from Geneva, Switzerland

Happy New Year!

It’s 10 days already into the New Year and I’m only just now getting around to writing my first blog entry for 2009. I enjoyed being home with my family so much over Christmas and New Year’s. It seems that we had an activity of some sort just about every day. The best part was just being together. I enjoyed being able to sing at our church on Christmas Eve and also spending time with friends. One of the greatest blessings is that my Mother, who had a bypass operation early last week, is now on the road to recovery.

I flew to Geneva last weekend and have had several rehearsals already on a new production of “Salome”. This is always a piece with a great deal of impact on the singers and audience as well. We have a rather long rehearsal period ahead of us since we don’t open until February 13. Basically, I’m already fully staged so I’m not sure what we’ll do with all this time. One always has to pace themselves in order to not “peak” too soon---that may be tough with this show. I always enjoys singing Jochanaan (John the Baptist). It can be a tough sing but, after having sung it so many times, I’m finding ways to enjoy it more and more in each outing. It’s always fun to meet and sing with new colleagues as well. There is only one singer in this cast who I’ve worked with before and so there has been a lot of getting acquainted going on.

It has been a tiring week in many aspects. I arrived on Monday and found out that I needed to fly to Vienna on Tuesday. The make-up artists who specialize in special castings reside there. I was heavily jet lagged when I left Tuesday afternoon but didn’t mind leaving since Vienna is one of my favorite cities. I got there in time to have a late dinner at a cherished restaurant and walk a bit around town. I had the molding of my head completed on Tuesday morning in order that the finished product would be ready very soon for rehearsals. For those of you who don’t know, I literally “lose my head” in this opera and Salome sings to it during the last scene of the show. It can be quite gruesome and haunting (especially with a head like mine) but always very moving.

I flew back to Geneva on Wednesday afternoon and have enjoyed the very physical rehearsals. I always forget how bruised and scratched up I get during “Salome”. In Chicago a few years back, I had bruises on top of bruises and more scratches and cuts than I’ve ever had during a show thanks to the ground cloth being as rough as sandpaper. Here, I have to move around and fall on a very uncomfortable grating (barefoot) for much of my scene. Ouch!!! Hopefully, the aches, pains, and bleeding will stop soon---except for when I lose my head. Then let the stage blood flow.