Sunday, May 26, 2013

No bed of roses

I feel like I’ve neglected this blog a little bit over the past few weeks. Yes, of course I wrote a 7 page long post about Tosca just last Saturday but even though. Oh and by the way I delivered the Tosca essay (my last post) in English to my teacher, he was kinda shocked and said “No, I mean, it’s ok with me, it’s quite marvelous actually, but I don’t know about the school. I mean, this has never happened before.”
Well my week could be easily described with a roller coaster; there were ups, downs, upside downs, throw up moments, utter joyous moments, butterflies in my stomach moments and finally the “what the hell am I doing here” moment.
From the very beginning our teachers try and show us how this career we’ve chosen is not easy and you’ll sometimes lead a “love/hate” relationship with it. And you feel prepared; you know it’s no bed roses and that you have to protect yourself against the bad energy ill intentioned people throw your way. But knowing it only gets you as far as being aware of it; it doesn’t magically help you be strong in the moment when needed.
As I said before this week was tough, I even thought about giving up completely (for about 30 seconds I think). It all seemed to be thrown right at me, tests, rehearsals, due dates, rehearsals, and tests, and more rehearsals and tests, tests, rehearsals…
As I am desperately studying for my tests I also have rehearsals for many a number of things I’m doing this semester, the end of semester recital (in which I’m graduating in and singing two arias and a duet); the Il Combatimento di Tancredi e Clorinda operaish performance (in which I’m playing Clorinda) and Monteverdi’s Ariana’s Lament (in which I’m the second soprano, only the hardest vocal line ever invented and most uncomfortable one too).
And it was during the rehearsal with the orchestra for the opera that it happened. I was kind of nervous because it’s a very difficult piece especially because even though all my parts are written in 4, my teacher wants to do them in 2. But I’m no Monteverdi specialist so I fight all of the 4 studying that I did to do it the way the maestro wants. But then I start making a mistake, I get out of air, getting more nervous meaning being able to hold in even less air and the maestro starts getting pissed off about it and shouting comments about how I made a mistake here and there over the music he’s conducting.
It is at that moment that time seems to freeze around you, you see everything in slow motion,  the musicians in the orchestra (some of them being really good friends of yours) look embarrassed or smug about the whole thing, you see the girl who is also playing your part laughing quietly while she mouths the correct way to do the line you just missed, you have a girl that was supposed to get the part you are playing but didn’t sitting right next to you during the ENTIRE rehearsal playing with her phone, you see the juniors standing by the door watching the rehearsal with dilated eyes. And all the eyes are looking at YOU! Burning wholes into your skin, that’s exactly how I felt, like Snow White when she goes into the forest to run away from the hunter and she sees all those evil eyes looking at her. And you can just listen to yourself inside your head say frantically “Don’t cry, don’t cry, DON’T CRY!”
And then you think “What the hell am I doing here? This is utter torture! I’m not having a good time, not by a long run. Why am I still here? I should just give up and go and work with my good friends back in my home town. This is making me miserable.”
All this happened in about 15 seconds I think, and then I was up to sing. I had to do something in order to go on and not break down, so I fixed my eyes in the sheet music and just sang my part (correctly, must I add) and when the teacher said he wanted to rehearse it with the other girl I asked to be excused. I went straight to my piano teacher (who also acts as a sort of grandma figure to me) for a shoulder to cry on. But she was rehearsing her duo with a clarinet player and as I sat watching them play I suddenly thought to myself “This is it! This is how it’s supposed to be, you can see they are having so much fun.” Their lines entwined with one another then went to different paths but still connected and you could see that they were having a ball, and that comes through in the music like a slap on your face.
And when he left I sang my two Cherubino songs that I’m doing in the recital and felt it again, “SENTO UN AFFETO PIEN DI DESIR, CH’ORA È DILETTO, CH’ORA È MARTIR!” There’s some deep Cherubino wisdom right there, isn’t that exactly what we feel? At least I do, when I sing I feel utter delight and utter fulfillment, but sometimes there are moments when it hurts you so bad! Cherubino sings of love, but I found that this aria speaks much more than just about the teenage hormones he’s experiencing but about being in love with anything in general. Love is never easy; it’s no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise, ma pur mi piace languir cosi! I love what I do even though sometimes it requires of me to be strong in a way I didn’t even know I could. (Because in normal circumstances I would have just started crying or shouted back or something, I’m cancer, VERY EMOTIONAL)
And after chatting with my teacher I found out why I was also kind of miserable to the point of thinking about quitting. Because I hadn’t seen my TRUE friends in weeks! My friends from my home town from the theatre group, my real friends, people I’ve known for years and years, I’d neglected them and didn’t even notice!
So on Friday I had my singing lesson and told my teacher about all this that had happened and she gave me everything I needed: understanding, love, compassion and killer advice (this woman is the best I tell you!). And she also told me to do something quite torturous, to, for the day, make it my reality that I truly gave up on singing. Only for that day, for me to feel how it feels to not do what I love anymore. And let me tell you, it hurts like hell!
But that day I decided I would treat myself like a normal human being and went to straight to Cultura (the language school that is like my second home where we rehearse our plays). As I got there I met my best friend in the entire world (who is also the director) and helped him out with some ideas for both plays he’s directing. My other friends arrived for rehearsal I felt home, I felt so wonderful that the next day I went there again to watch their rehearsal and help. And turns out that was exactly what I needed, my friends, the family I chose.

Me and some of my marvelous friends at a party yesterday. I hadn't had this much fun in weeks!

So this was different, hun? More like a diary passage or something, but I felt like writing it down, I don’t feel people talk about the hard aches as much as it’s needed. So, yeah, it was awful, horrible, but I managed to get through it with inner strength and the help of my marvelous singing teacher and a little help from my friends. (And also with the encouraging words of my opera bff by the phone)
Peace everyone! ;)

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