And as all good things come to an end, this is the last post about my FAB New York trip.
I woke up and my mum was fussing because we had to get about a million things inside our travelling bags. I bought about 20 CDS, 10 DVDs, 15 books and a bunch of other stuff. So I actually wrapped each CD in a piece of clothing so there wouldn’t be a chance of anything breaking. I got my things inside the travelling bags and headed out on my own to buy some Starbucks for breakfast. I sat at the Colombus Circle sipping my coffee and eating my cheese danish not wanting to think too much about the rest of my day, just pretending I had all the time in the world in this fantabulous city. I went back to the hotel and me and mum resorted to stuffing everything inside the bags and leaving because checkout time was way overdue! We ended up with 4 travel bags (the big ones), 2 little travel bags and our purses, a lot of stuff for me only to carry since my mum had broken a rib and couldn’t lift much weight.
We left the bags stored and headed out to PJ Clarks for lunch. We had a lovely lunch and I went to the Met Shop for the James Levine signing! I got there about 2:30 I think but there weren’t as many people as last time. One thing I found quite awful was that the people in front of me were bad mouthing just about any singer you can imagine. I get it that some people think Angela Gheorghiu isn’t the nicest of people but then to openly say at the Met shop that she has no technique and her voice is awful is kinda extreme. And they weren’t young smug people, they were middle aged smug people who thought they knew everything about opera. I was so embarrassed, I just hoped they wouldn’t bug Maestro Levine too much.
The lady at the Met shop said he was not taking pictures and that he was only to sign two items per person. I get it, I mean, he’s sick and it’s already so cool that he’s willing to get out of his busy schedule to do this signing so I was happy with whatever I could get. The whole process didn’t take too long though, he arrived punctually at 3 o’clock and at about 3:10 I was in front of the great James Levine with my heart racing and hands trembling! I was able to keep my cool (after meeting so many people that I admire I acquired the skill of not showing I was bursting on the inside, not too much anyways), I told him I was so thankful for everything he had done for the Met and that I was there at the Carnegie Hall concert the day before and that I had cried like a baby. He was actually really pleased with that information plus he was so nice and polite and attentive I just wanted to cry! It was over too fast though, but not quite.
Because my friend Alexandra had asked for someone at the Met shop to keep a special CD of Wagner something for her to buy today and have James Levine sign. But the peeps at the Met shop couldn’t seem to find it and she was getting VERY nervous. I succeed in calming her nerves telling her everything was gonna be fine and that they’d find her cd for sure. As her and the desperate shop assistant looked and looked for the CD I started browsing through stuff at the shop. It was quite odd to just be looking at CDs and every time I turned my head to the left I’d see James Levine in the flesh. Then the most brilliant idea dawned on me as I clutched a copy of a Tosca high light CD with Placido Domingo, Renata Scotto and James Levine. I bought the CD, along with quite a lot of other things, and went back in line. I talked to maestro Levine again and he was again very nice and I said “Sorry for bugging you again, but could you sign this for my friend, he’s going to have a fit!” he laughed and said “No problem!”. And so I possessed the coolest gift a friend could ever get to an opera bff, a Tosca CD autographed by James Levine.
After that me and Alexandra hanged for a while at the Met. I was kind of delusional because last time I had gone to a signing there I had agreed to meet my mum there at about 4, but this time she told me to meet her in the hotel but I thought she was meeting me there like last time. So it was a good hour before I realized I’d made a mistake but I didn’t really rush to the hotel, after all, I wasn’t in a rush AT ALL to leave.
Alexandra helped us getting the bags in the car and after some emotional goodbyes we were off and I had to hold on to my dignity not to cry (as I am right now as I write this) in front of the driver. Again we got a pretty nice Brazilian driver with whom we chatted through the journey to the airport.
I was so upset when I got to the airport, especially because Sondra was singing Norma that day and Angela Meade and Jamie Barton were going to be interviewed at intermission and I wanted nothing else but to be there. It was a long wait until we finally got our asses in the actual plane. The flight was ok, I didn’t get much sleep, I never can, but I did make the mistake of watching the Live in HD of Eugene Onegin in my laptop which resulted in tears and tears and tears flowing as the entire plane tried to sleep and I was there looking at the audience part of the Met and breaking down.
We got to São Paulo and our most horrible nightmare came true, customs wanted to check our bags. Well, no wonder since we were two females with a ridiculous amount of bags. You see customs here in Brazil is a freaking BITCH! If you spend over $500 in purchases outside Brazil and they find it out they will tax your ass off plus charge you the price the product would have here. Needless to say I was TERRIFIED since the CDs I had gotten there for $15 are about $70 each here in Brazil. I had, obviously, taken all of the plastics and price tags off of everything, but even so.
Me and my mum didn’t utter a single word to each other, as I hoisted all of the 30 kilo bags on the X-ray machine and prayed to God that they wouldn’t open our bags. They didn’t, the X-Ray machine lady said we were clear and we walked off to liberty relieved. My dad went to pick us up and he dropped me off in my house. They left and I had a bang moment of “did all that actually happen?” and then I looked back at my gigantic bag full of opera goodies and was reassured that it indeed had happened.
I was sort of upset that day because as you can imagine I NEVER wanted to leave NYC. It’s odd because I was talking to my sister about this yesterday and she went to NYC once before with me and she told me “It’s odd we feel so drawn to that city, I feel like a little piece of me is still there”. And she was there almost 3 years ago and still feels that way. So you can only imagine how I felt. It’s so different from what I’m accustomed to that it hurts, specially because I never quite fit into the reality in my home country and to find a place where everything seems to click with your beliefs and dreams is just heaven. But then to be yanked off to reality is pretty brutal. I tell you, it was only after about 2 weeks after I was back that I was able to stop cursing everything about this country.
And still, I’m absolutely resolute about going back and actually staying. I’m finishing writing the letters for the four colleges I’m applying to and the day after tomorrow and Friday I’m recording ALL the repertoire I’m sending them. I know it sounds awful to bad mouth one’s country so much but I truly do not see any perspective of thriving as a musician here. Plus I don’t feel I belong here, I never have, but I’ve never had something in me strong enough to make me resolute about leaving my home country. Until opera, my teacher has told me that this love for art we have is like a good sickness because it’s wonderful and brilliant but it also hurts how much we love and want it. And I totally get what she means, I feel actual pain in my chest sometimes and I know that’s love, it’s never easy, it’s never simple, but I simply don’t care because it’s my calling and I could not imagine myself doing anything else but singing.
Wow, that was deep. (I cried while writing that just so you know, I cry all the time, geez!)
I went back to normal life feeling both fabulous and miserable. My true friends asked me excited questions and wanted to know all the details of the trip and almost burst when I showed them my ReJoyce signed and all. My fake friends only made little negative remarks about some of the performers I had met, gave little laughs and said “how nice” when I mentioned ReJoyce and actually did not believe me when I told them I had met James Levine. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about them though, thank God I know who they are.
Well that’s it! You guys have a great week and I don’t know when I will be posting again since I have many tests these following weeks and also a lot of college applications to fill out.