My husband and I took a vacation to Chicago this past weekend, and it gave me time for some much needed rest and relaxation. It also created some space for reflection of this entire process and where I am with the role of Juliette.
Obviously with the pandemic, I have had a lot of time away from the stage and performing for an audience. This has been so hard, but in some ways it has been really beneficial and fruitful. I’ve missed performing and working with pianists, coaches, and other singers, but it really has given me an opportunity to put the blinders on and hone in on my voice, technique, and all the other aspects of personal life that impact my singing. There is an interesting freedom and introspection when you’re not performing for others.
It’s been almost two years since my last performance – last time I was on stage was November of 2019 singing Fanny in Rossini’s La Cambiale di matrimonio.
As rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet with Lawrence Opera Theatre are quickly approaching, I am getting so very excited, but also SO nervous!! After so long away from the stage, and only singing for others in my lesson or studio over FaceTime or Zoom, I’m a little overwhelmed (with both excitement and anxiety) to sing in a room in the presence of other humans! I know I will be a bundle of nerves before those first notes are sung, but my hope is that it will feel so amazing and will fill my soul with joy.
Getting some time away from home, work, the normal routines and adventuring around a new city really gave me some perspective about this whole process. I’m learning a role all by myself for my professional debut! The process has been so vastly different than learning a role in preparation for singing in the academic/collegiate world. I have been feeling somewhat lonely as I’m used to working with a coach weekly, rehearsing with other singers and having that feedback and support.
One of my past teachers once told me that to be a true artist, I must learn to be lonely. I feel like I finally understand what he meant. I have learned the entire role on my own, with only myself to gauge the forward progress with the music, language, and developing the character. I’m not used to feeling so isolated in the process and I think in realizing that, I’m almost mourning the community, feedback, and social aspect of preparing a role while in school. While it has made me somewhat sad, I am also so thankful for all of those past roles that I’ve learned with the support of coaches and colleagues. I am also thankful that I have had those educational experiences, and now I am taking the next step in my career. It also makes me so eager and excited to start the rehearsal process with Lawrence Opera Theatre! It’s truly going to be amazing and liberating to sing in a room larger than my office and knowing that my voice is going to be heard after such a long time working in isolation.