Thursday, May 28, 2009

The fifth Element

For opening night of my Israeli debut, I was forced to deal with a few unusual elements: One was the extreme allergy to the horses on stage , the other was having to sing on Cortisone pills and a steroid inhaler (just to be able to breathe), and just for fun, I had to sing for the very first time with my tenor, who only got here a couple days before. (Of course we brushed up on all the specific spots we have together in advance, but we have never sung together on stage before).

If you ever watched my Online Interview, you might remember me talking about "not being 100% for a show, and having to know how to deal with only 75%).

Sometimes, this 75% descends to an even greater depth, and you are left with whatever is given to you that night.
That's what I call: Dealing with the elements.

In this production, I get to sing with three different tenors. This for itself , is not an easy task. If there is no sense of built- rehearsal process, and not enough clue as for what your counter part is going to do, things can get a little fuzzy.

My opening- night- guy is a busy man and one of these "nervous" types. (In opera, I can put singers under these 2 categories: "casual, channelling their nervousness into excitement and cheerfulness backstage" (*me*) , and "nervous"; Do *Not* Speak. just be there for them").
So my absolute calm and support, was something I had to provide, not only for my tenor, but for my self as well.
The horses pooed all over stage, and we had to maneuver ourselves, skipping in between their doodoo, and trying to keep our own drama going.

It was really not an easy night, what can I say.

For the next show, thank God, they realized that they HAVE GOT to get rid of the horses. I wasn't doing all that well on meds. and stepping on poo while singing the Seguidilla...

So .. I had no horses, and a completely new tenor this time.
You see what I mean by "deal" and "Elements"?

Show biz doesn't always smell of roses...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Can't be horse.

The physical difficulties I thought were only a passing matter, have not stopped back then.... After arriving onto stage, I discovered that what used to be an allergy to the touch of a horse, became an extreme asthma to the area where a horse might be "parking". And this production, a typical Zeffirelli production, has not only one horse, but three plus a donkey.

For an opera house, having a main-role singer who can't breathe (and therefore can't sing) is worse than having to clear off the already well paid, beautifully costumed stable guys on their trained horses... However ,it is a huge deal to try and re-stage all the scenes involving them, and give up this big part of what the PR here has been using as a selling point: a spettacolo. a grand show. So we are trying all kinds of solutions.

On the top of that, having been weak for a month now (with an un-identified stomach thingy), feeling like hell and not being able to breathe, I was starting to panic.

The doctor suggested that this is all related to stress, and that I was losing too much weight on this "blood type" diet, and suggested to reintroduce some wheat and dairy (which I immediately did... being "skinny" is great, but losing strength and voice, is something I'd rather correct ASAP). I also went to a healer who has once helped me a great deal with other allergy issues.

So, I have been forcefully (I never imagined I would come to that!) gaining some weight back, so I can sing normally, the horses will be waiting on Stage Left, where I will never set foot, and we hope that where they pass, on stage itself, the contamination won't be too strong for my system to handle.
If tonight's dress rehearsal proves differently, as much as I love these wonderful animals, they will have to be respectfully released from their stage duties (and doodies).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How I *should* warm up!

(thanks to Lar who fwded this !)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


For somebody who usually hears the voices of children and hurries away, just to not get annoyed, I was surprised to come back to Israel, and actually listen in on local kids' conversations, and to have an unusual reaction to it...
I must have probably found it painfully endearing, because I burst into tears, walking away , trying to figure out what was happening to me;

I was finally *understanding* them.

Of course I understand the meaning of words spoken by Americans, or Australians, or Italians for that matter. But here, for the first time, I realized that there is so much more into my own mother-tounge that I was willing to admit.

Other languages, are understood by my brain as translated. As is. But Hebrew, Hebrew is an entire different matter. Hebrew to start with, is a language with words that are like trees: each word is based on a root, each root has a stem, , which has many secondary branches. One single word, can have multiple meanings, connotations, and of course a rich, old history; General, and personal.

That's why, it just dawned on me, that all of a sudden, I can't let meanings pass me by, untouched, and live the light existence I usually do, where I can *chose* to understand , or *not* to.
You see, I can chose to read some political graffiti in Paris, or wall-posts in Italy, and I can chose to understand the argument between the German lady and the fruit vendor, but I really don't have to, especially if my day is demanding enough. When it's not *really* your mother tongue, you can ignore it, (like it's somebody else's child).
Here, however, I just can't shake anything off my shoulder and go on with my day uneffected.
And everything, EVERY thing, is rooted deep in me, deeper than I imagined.
The very specific smells, the asphalt on the side walks, the bushes and trees and flowers I grew up with. The sand and the dust. The mentality, the foods, the sounds, the innocent words of a four year old.

This suddenly hit me, like a huge wave.
To be continued after I somehow finish swirling in it.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


It turns out, that this time around, I returned to my home land to be treated almost as if I were a war hero; I guess a certain level of international success makes people appreciate your home game in a much deeper way.
The phenomenon of having made a little name for my self out side, in fine-print English letters, has enlarged my Hebrew-prinetd name to bus-size signs and newspaper titles .

I can finally see how the big opera starlets of "Universal" must feel; It seems that no matter how bad their performance night might be, (sh*t happens, to stars too...), their ground is so previously- padded with admiration that the margin for failing to deliver doesn't even exist.

When people already "know how good you are" , marvel in your beauty and with almost religious-blindness, believe in your talent and promised goods, no matter how you'd do, like a cat, you will land on your feet, (and into a big round of standing ovation!).

I don't foresee that a taste of stardom would be something difficult to deal with; Giving a 3 hour photo shoot, a four hour interview and repeating the same for other papers the following day, in between 7 hours-a-day rehearsals, is nothing I complain about.
I might be exhausted, It slightly feels like I am cutting a deal with the dealer, but hey , what's wrong with sprinkling some love potion on my people a head of time...It's all kosher.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Land of anxiety

I don't know about you, but whenever I go back to the place where I grew up, I feel like I automatically regress to whomever little person I used to be when I was there, before I left.
do you get that too? visiting the house where you grew up, your home town, your local park, (all looks so small all of a sudden , doesn't it), your family, maybe your old friends, (if you are lucky to still have them)... you kind of revisit your own self as you were. As you used to be.

The clock has gone back, and I turned backwards with it.

I guess it could be a wonderful feeling for someone who's had a magical childhood, and adulthood turned crappy... but for me it's certainly not the case; Not to say that I had a crappy childhood, but what I have today, in my thirties, is a way sweeter deal. (for one, I am not the 186 pounds sun-burnt braces-smile frizzhead anymore ).

Going back into childhood, turns me instantly into that goofball , with all of her problems, and when I can observe the situation realistically, this almost makes me laugh, (or cry), because here I am today, feeling the most comfortable playing (=being) the femme fatal ,sexiest lady alive called carmen, but at the same time, in a drop of a hat (or a 10 hour flight), I am able to turn into ugly betty. poof.

Usually this condition disturbs me, but not that much, because my visits to my home land, are only that: visits.
This time, however, I am about to work there , debuting my carmen, and showing off the adult that I've become.
How do I float above the muddy swamp of regression?

I've been having these anxiety dreams about taking taxi's there, that drive me to unknown destinations, people speaking to me in languages I don't understand, I get lost.

Today , would be my challenge to look the past in the eye and conquer that ugly duckling with my present tense, and what has become my salvation:

I . am. singing.