an act of God

So…first day of class, and word of where it would actually be held didn’t get to all of us. When Dona Vaughn (acting coach with whom I am sharing a flat) and I didn’t show up, Jack sent one of the local MOS coordinators to pick us up and take us to the elementary school where the classes are held this year.  Now, there IS an elementary school a short walk from our flat, and that’s where Dona thought the classes would be held. Not so…they are in ANOTHER school. OY!

Finally, we gather…22 singers (about half of what we had last year), Nelly, Jack, and the 3 great Italian vocal coaches, Giovanni, Daniele, and Felice. Each of us stands and sings one aria. When I stood up to sing mine, I didn’t feel very warmed up, and this could be why:  6 hour flight from Logan to Amsterdam (departing Logan at 7:30 pm Sat…I had been up over 12 hours by then), 2 hour connection Amsterdam to Florence (by then it is 7:30 am in Amsterdam), half our bus ride Florence to Greve-in-Chianti, then settling into the flat and finally finding a restaurant for dinner…didn’t get to bed till abotu 9:30 Sunday night, so that means, oh, maybe 30 hours w/out sleep?

…and almost no time or place to warm up, just a few scales before “Death by Aria” began. Unlike last year, there are almost no “beginners”, rather about 8 singers at my level, and another dozen or so very fine non-pros, but I see great futures for them.

All of the voices are good, but several of them don’t sing all that well…I am sure you know that that means (you will be tested in September).

I sang “Voi lo sapete” from Cavalleria Rusticate…it went better than I thought it would after so little sleep and so little warming up, and I have had lots of kudos throughout the day. But I know it could have been better.

So after “Death by Aria” (I have no idea why Jack calls it that), we rehearsed the 2 ensembles with which we will open and close each concert…”Libiamo” from La Traviata and “Va, pensiero” from Nabucco (both operas by Verdi). We were scheduled to sing these ensembles on a pubic concert tonight in the town square, and one or 2 MOS singers were also going to sing a solo. While we were rehearsing, a huge thunderstorm blew up…wind, rain, lightening, thunder. Jack got a call from the city fathers to say that the roads were bad and the concert had been called off…they are calling this a “hurricane” (isn’t that quaint?). Anyway, Jack decided things might be too risky for us to be walking around town finding restaurants for lunch, and classes were cancelled for the day. 

Big groan from everyone – singers and staff alike – because we got all excited about hearing all the great singing in the morning, and were primed for some serious vocal study.  After all, that’s why we are here.

By then the rain had abated and we walked to a local restaurant that is “hosting” us for 2 meals a day on study days…pasta, of course, cooked perfectly; salad; crostini w/pate (never thought I’d see that kind of crostini in Italy).

After lunch, I came back to the flat and have the rest of the day off. Maybe I will do some studying and also try to catch up on my sleep. The rain has lowered the temperature and we now have a couple of floor fans which are blowing away the pesky mosquitoes that kept us awake last night (though very little could keep me away after all that traveling).

Stopping now…stay tuned. Hope everyone is well…Janice
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