Sunday, October 25, 2009

Arrivo in Firenze!

October 21, 2009

First night in Firenze. Ugh…the traveling. Don’t think I’ll EVER enjoy that. Unless Marjorie were with me. I wonder what next spring, 2010, will be like. That will be a HAUL!! Six months straight, on the road. Albeit, the first and third gigs that will make up that stretch will include a higher level of familiarity than they would have otherwise. New York from mid February thru mid April. Then to London until the end of June. And from there, we go back to Bregenz, Austria for more Aida with the festival. And NOW, Mgmt is talking about more after THAT!! I wish United and American flew to all these different destinations so that I could cash in on all the accumulated miles!!

More coughing morons on planes. Goofy British woman spraying some sort of smelly aerosol around the cabin as we all emptied out onto the “ramp” to board buses to international terminal 5 at London Heathrow. Listening to her, she claimed she’d had whatever this aerosol was for the entire US trip and never got to use it. So she decides the coach cabin of our British Airways flight is the perfect place to release some random fragranced CFCs into the air. Morons. And everybody…EVERYBODY acts as though they’ll all die of some unknown virus that attacks people who DON’T charge off down the aisles once the plane pulls up to the gate. They flood the aisles as though there’s some instant millionaire drawing going on in the terminal, and they’ll miss it if they don’t haul ass off the plane that instant!!

Speaking of Terminal 5, why do we need to go through security…again?! I don’t get that. We’ve all gone through security in order to board our flights that brought us to Terminal 5. And then, they decide to run us through more hoops, like channeled cattle through the narrow gated alleyways at the stockyards. And I love the security personnel who wear their distaste for their jobs right out on their faces. Well SURE. Of COURSE I wanna be there NOW!! Pug-faced, squat little blonde woman with spikey hair and black gloves on. So demanding. No patience. I understand that they constantly encounter folks who have no clue about taking their shoes off, digging all their liquids out of their bags, and placing everything in the hard plastic bins to be run through the metal detectors, but for God’s sake, how about a smile, huh? Or at least SOME semblance of a positive attitude. Good GRIEF!!

Oct. 22nd

First rehearsal, late this morn. The language barrier isn’t proving to be TOO much of a burden on things. Made my way through a staging of the 2nd bar scene in the show, with Dennis Petersen, one of the familiar faces I was so happy to see last night on my arrival to Firenze. And then, after a pausa in rehearsal that would have made ANY other American opera company cringe, I continued staging. This time, the final scene of the opera. I was fed a bunch of Italian which I loosely followed. Rehearsal staff seems to be headed by Elisabetta, the cute little brunette who visited the production in Japan last year, I’m guessing, to observe and prepare herself for when she would have to be directly involved. We quickly walked through blocking just to help it resurface in the memory before adding music. Apparently there is a prompter as well. He chirped out cues for both rehearsals blocks this morning. The entire staging took maybe 15 minutes after which more instructions were given for the next day’s schedule and then I was released. That’s another thing that would cause American companies to swoon. None of us have as yet been supplied with schedules. Not even general overview-type things. I found out from Lauren last night over dinner what the schedule for today would be. And Dennis and Kevin filled in the afternoon part about the music rehearsal.

I don’t see this taking very long to put together. As long as the local singers and the children are all ready to go, I feel like this show could go up quite fast. We’ll see what happens. After this week, there are exactly three more before we’re done and gone!

Need to make arrangements for a hotel in Milano for a night. I’ll catch a train around the middle of the day or early afternoon out of Firenze the day after Vixen closes, and then relax that evening. The next day, I’ll check out of the hotel and make my way to La Scala for my scheduled coaching. I hope there’s no problem putting the schedule for the coaching together with my flight out of Milano. S’posed to bug out around 7pm-ish from Linate airport in Milano back to London. That’ll be nice. 2 hour flight back to the U.K. Then I’m actually in London for three nights before flying back to the East Coast. So at least no need to stomach all that traveling in one fell swoop as I did on the way over here!

That’s the main problem. Lots of traveling in one day is what kills. But from Firenze back to the US will be MUCH easier. 2 hour train ride and then about 24 hours to breathe. Then a 2 hour flight to the U.K. and then 3 days to breathe. The flight back to the East Coast could easily be 8 hours, but I’d’ve had a full night’s sleep before I needed to fly, so who knows; maybe I’d stay up for most of that flight, watching movies or something. Once on the East Coast, I’d have 2 hours to get through Customs and check in again at my Continental flight (assuming everything’d be on-time). From there, it’d be maybe an hour n change from Newark to Norfolk. By late afternoon, I’d be safe and sound in Virginia.

It’ll be good, too, in the spring, now that I think about it. Six months straight through won’t be so bad, partly because the traveling will be all spread out as well. The return, not so much. New York for two months time. Then six hours to London, and then London for another two months. And when that’s over, the flight to Bregenz (most likely back into Z├╝rich again) will take an hour n change. The hour drive from there to Bregenz will go by quicker now that I’m slightly familiar. It’s the long travel days that really run me ragged. That and the international terminal at London Heathrow (but you’ve already heard me whine about that).

Now then…packing. I’ll admit, I didn’t pack the best for this trip. Chose the wrong shoes. Both pairs. Packed too many tops and not enough bottoms. Packing for next spring/summer will be fun. When I first go to New York, I need cold weather gear. But as the months pass, I won’t need all the warm clothes. Question is, what do I do? One option is to load the cold weather stuff in a box and mail it home. But then that could pose a whole new set of hassles in the packing scheme. Guess it doesn’t really matter. I’d’ve had to plan for all the cold weather stuff in my packing anyway. Grrrrrrrr. And if more work comes following Bregenz, that’ll just make for MORE fun. Ugh.

Oct. 23rd

Had most of the day off today. So I slept in. Got back at the jetlag for coming back to bite me on the ass like jetlag always does. It was nice to be able to sleep past noon. Lauren and I both woke up around 1pm apparently. She had rehearsal at 3pm, so she left earlier. Still need to meet with the lady from the housing mgmt company to get the other set of keys, sign the contract, and pay her. As long as she isn’t harping after me or Lauren, I’m not gonna worry. Too much. Soon as Lauren and I put together the balance of what we owe, I’ll make sure to meet with Kit and get everything finished.

Figured out my shoes issue. Just need to keep those damned boots tied tightly. It’s when they sit loosely on my feet that blisters begin to plague me. Funny how the laces undo themselves. Lil suckers. Loose shoes and the unruly streets and sidewalks of Firenze, not so good. At least for MY feet.

Oct. 24th

Halloween is a week away. Wow. Halloween’s a Saturday. And of COURSE I’m in no capacity to enjoy it how I want. Too many obligations while on a job to think of face-painting or costumes or trick-or-treaters. How festive the feeling must be back home in Chicago. I can see the trees’ leaves along the neighborhood streets turning colors. The street cleaners’ favorite time of year!! Lots of Halloween decorations in front yards and office and school windows.

Not so much here in Italy. Well…Firenze, anyway. I dunno. Maybe I just haven’t noticed.

And then just two weeks more after that. Amazing how quickly time can fly, and on the other hand, how amazing that time can slow down as well. Now then, if only time would be more cooperative; slow down when you needed and whiz by all the other times. Funny how it’s the other way around.

Oct. 25th

No work today, Sunday. No work tomorrow either! Slept til about 9ish, which should’ve been 10ish but Daylight Saving has ended, so we gain back that hour. Interesting how Europe gets the hour back BEFORE the Americas do. I never knew that. The Americas get their hour back in a week, I’m told. So anyway. Woke up around 9 am. Lauren had gotten in the shower. She had to work today. Not very long, tho, judging by the time she returned. It was about 12:30ish. And then we ventured back out to look for some lunch.

Didn’t realize how close we were to the Palazzo Republiko, I think it’s called. It’s the one with the carousel. There’s a plaque up on the arch overlooking the palazzo that’s states that the area was the old center of town. We wandered in there and were immediately heckled by servers of the nearby open air restaurants. I dunno; I felt funny about being treated like a tourist. Because of the traveling I do for work, I don’t ever have TIME to be a tourist of sorts. Growing up in Hawaii, I sorta grew a distaste for tourism, partly because of how Hawaii relies so heavily on it as the main export of the state, and partly because of the generally insensitive reputation that tourists adopt. As we finally decided on a restaurant that still had the sun shining on its dining area on the palazzo, Lauren thought she picked up on a feeling that the servers didn’t care for our speaking Italian to them, what little it was.

Wandered around a bit of the tourist part of town – our ‘hood – and then Lauren opted to go back to the flat. I stayed out a bit longer, making my way to the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo di Firenze before returning home. The Palazzo Vecchio has the tall bell tower with the steeple-like roof on it. And of course the Duomo was just magnificent. SO huge!! And it’s bell tower rang loud and strong just as I entered the square on that end of the Duomo.