Sunday, November 17, 2013

Trip to NYC - Day 11 - Meeting James Levine

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.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Trip to NYC - day 10 - Joyce Didonato, James Levine and Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall

So the day has finally come! On that faithful Sunday, the 13th of October I had the best time of my life!

I made plans with Melanie (aka Ms Opera Geek) to meet for lunch at 11. But as fate would have it, my mum got stuck in the elevator of the hotel, just her luck. I laughed at her, I must admit. Well I got to Carnegie Hall about 15 minutes late and there I met my good friend Melanie! I was really so thrilled to meet her because we’d been talking for such a long time over the internet, it was a very special moment for me. So me, Mel and her dad (real cool guy) went to a restaurant called Carnegie something (sorry I forgot the name of the restaurant, shame on me!) for lunch. Me and Melanie ordered a quite large basically all bacon sandwich each and devoured on as the three of us talked nonstop about opera. I really had an amazing 2 hours talking to those two about opera while slowly ingesting ridiculous amounts of bacon. Plus we had a cherry cheesecake that was to die for, but we couldn’t finish it!

Then we went to Starbucks and the opera talk continued! We met some real nice people and also people from the orchestra. One problem, I picked my coolest dress to attend Joyce’s concert, gold and strapless and gorg and the only shoes that matched it had very high heels. Now I’m not a high heels person, I went to all the operas in pretty flats but I just couldn’t wear flats with this dress. So I put the heels inside a Starbucks bag and wore my havaina flip flops thorough the whole lunch thing. We got into Carnegie Hall through the stage door (COOL OR WHAT!) and I still had my flip flops on as Melanie and her dad introduced me to some important people like this and that soprano who sang with Pavarotti and I’m wearing flip flops for CHRIST SAKES! I dragged Melanie to the restroom and changed my shoes to those torture machines, beautiful, golden and sparkly but absolute foot killers!

When we came out Melanie introduced me to Carrie-Ann Matheson! Mel said “This is Carrie Ann Matheson, she works at the Met” and I said “Oh, hi, I’m Isabela, I know you from “The Audition”” kill yourself Isabela! But she was so nice and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. Unfortunately I had to find my mum because the concert was almost starting so I had to bid the gals goodbye and search for mother. After some panic I found her and we headed to our seats, we got quite nice seats in the Balcony front, although it was covered by another level above us so I don’t think we got the best sound, but anyways.

The concert started and the Met Orchestra was already on stage, James Levine comes in to a gigantic wave of applause and I count myself so damn lucky to be able to see him conduct both at the Met and here at Carnegie Hall.

We started off with one of my favorite composers, Verdi. They played the overture of Il Vespri Siciliani and aaah, I could just die then. Ah, what gorgeous sound, what gorgeous music, tears came to my eyes and it was simply the best way to open! Then they played a piece by Carter that I did not know and since it was a modern piece it didn’t particularly touch my heart. I started to get anxious about seeing Joyce. The piece was over and I could barely hide my overflowing enthusiasm.

And on stage comes my beloved Yankee Diva. Guys, I broke down the minute she walked on stage and I could not stop crying. Joyce for me is such a huge idol and hero and all sorts awesome so to see her like that was just too much for me. The music (Rossini’s Giovanna D’Arco) had a pretty long intro in which I cried all the way and then when she started singing I thought I wouldn’t be able to not make noise while wept and wept. Again, I was able to cry with my eyes open and watch all of it. It was just so amazing, I didn’t know this piece but it’s Rossini so of courses we had those beautiful Joyce cadenzas and those sparkly trills that make us go over the edge.

Intermission time and was I embarrassed or what? Wiped my tears and met up with Sasha and a friend of hers and chatted. Ah I love talking to my opera friends, it is so refreshing to have people who get you and can discuss stuff at the same level. Sasha showed me the AWESOME job our friend Xenia did, an actual photo book of Joyce’s performances, it’s gorgeous (well done Xenia!)!

Well intermission was over and I walked back ever so slowly, because Carnegie Hall stairs are steep and I was in killer heels, back to my seat. Second part started and I almost thanked God that I managed not to cry, I mean, getting emotional is fine but my weeping was embarrassing me. Joyce sang two arias from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Sesto’s “Deh, per questo istante solo” and then Vitelia’s “Non piu di fiori”. It was so gorgeous! The treatment she gives Mozart is just remarkable, Gosh what an artist! And such a big voice, those brilliant, brilliant high notes soared! And it was quite interesting to hear her sing the aria she coached at the Masterclass only the week before. Then you could really notice the fine detailed work she had with this piece and how she absolutely makes it her own. Just incredible!

I was upset that when “Non piu di fiori” was over the would be no more Joyce. I mean, I love orchestral music but I love sung music so much more! Joyce had quite an ovation, I think it took about 4 minutes of coming in and out and bowing as the crowd cheered and cheered!

After Joyce was gone (snif!) we have Beethoven’s 7th Symphony to delight on! My favorite part of this Symphony is without a doubt the second movement, I’ve been in love with it ever since I was an annoying teenager. Funny story, here in Brazil when a girl turns 15 her family usually throws a debutant party for her. And there’s a part in this party when you have to come out with a beautiful dress and waltz with your dad, granddad and godfather and optionally boyfriend but I had my best friend dance with me. So we get to choose a cool song for when we come out and guess what I chose? Second movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, guess what my mother said? “NO WAY, it’s too depressing!” What? It’s fucking gorgeous!

Back to 2013 it was in fact, gorgeous and poignant and amazing! And the crowd went wild and it was incredible! The very second the clapping ceased I flew down those Carnegie Hall stairs to the backstage area entrance to meet Melanie. I had an amazing feeling going on, something like “Oh God I gotta get there quickly, oh man I’m gonna fall down these stairs if I run, HOLY MACARONI I’M MEETING JOYCE!”.

I met Melanie, her dad and her lovely, lovely mother in the backstage entrance and after giving our names to the thug looking security guard we were in! We went up on an elevator and me and Melanie were hopping like two rabbits with excitement! It was SUCH a happy moment, Mel’s parents seemed to be so happy to bring us there and me and Mel were just over the moon! Well we got to this nice big room where I could spot Joyce talking enthusiastically with a group of people. It was so funny because we went in and walked past her to wait for her. I remember I tweeted “I’M IN THE SAME ROOM AS @JOYCEDIDONATO WITH @MSOPERAGEEK”. I was so happy! Probably one of the happiest moments of my life, definitely!

Well, the people who were speaking to Joyce left and she came to talk to us! First she greeted Mel’s parents, then Mel and then she turned to me and with that beautiful smile on her face said “ISABELA!”. Now do you know how amazing it is to actually meet the person who most inspires you? Nevertheless to have her greet her saying your name, I cry just remembering about it! She gave me a huge hug that lasted about 20 seconds and while we hugged she started thanking me for the stuff I had sent her and all I could say was “Oh my God I’m gonna cry!”.

When we parted from our tight long hug she complimented my clothes and I was like “Omg I can’t believe it’s YOOOU!”. We took a lovely, lovely picture together and as we took it Joyce said this one was for the next CD, hence my facial expression of total and complete rejoyce!

I seriously do not remember what I said to her after the photo but the guys from Carnegie Hall were pressing her because she was giving a signing and she was kinda late. So she told me to come along with her to the signing and wait for it to end so then she could sign all my CDs and we could talk better. What? Yes! It was so surreal, I bid Mel and her parents the quickest goodbye and followed Joyce and the 791948 security guards escorting her. I must admit it was very surreal to walk along Carnegie Hall’s backstage with Joyce. We got to the signing only too quickly though and it was packed!

I went to some solitary place to wait for her and lean on something because my feet were absolutely killing me. One bad thing about the signing, the stage door freaks were there being as inconvenient as they could possibly be, cutting line, being rude and all that crap that they do. After about half an hour the place started clearing out and I met a lovely German lady named Alexandra who was last in line. She asked me to take pics for her and sure enough I did, I was happy to help, she was so excited about meeting Joyce.

But then what happened was that when it was her turn there was only me, her, Joyce, 3 girls, 834798 security people and the stage door creeps there. You see the stage door creeps had already gotten their stuff signed so they could sell it on Ebay or something but they insisted in harassing Joyce to the last minute. Taking pictures and being their rude selves until a moment when Joyce hit the table hard with the palms of her hands and said in a scary tone “ENOUGH!”

They backed off but did not leave, she told us (me, Alex and the 3 girls) that she was gonna pretend to leave so they would go away. And as she left I started calling out “Bye Joyce! It was so cool meeting you!” and the girls followed me suit with loads of goodbyes and thank yous. The security people actually threw the stage door freaks out and Joyce came back!

I got to talk to her again but again I seriously do not remember what I said. I just remember I said “It’s Isabela with one ‘L’” as she wrote my name with 2 Ls but I don’t really care. And then I remember quite vividly looking at her while she was signing the 289840 CDs I brought and just saying “You know you are my hero, right?” and she said amused “Ah, swap it!”. We took another picture and exchanged a few words about her coming back to Brazil in August next year, she’s very excited to be back! Then she left and me and Alexandra just stood there star struck.

Then we went out for some Starbucks and I was the happiest puppy in the world! What an amazing day! Truly one of the best I’ve ever had! Now there’s only one post left to go, the day I met James Levine and unfortunately the day that I left! Gotta go peeps! Peace!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Trip to NYC - Day 9 - Cinderella and Eugene Onegin

I started writing this post on Halloween and only ended now.

Happy Halloween everybody! We unfortunately do not do trick or treat here in Brazil, far too dangerous and I would have been a MUCH chubbier child if we did. Ah well, the plan was to post everything about my NYC trip until the last day of October but as you can see that’s not gonna happen. I’ve had a hard horrible week but I’m glad that I was able to get through it and get my tests done without having my physiological state interfere with my grades. But I must tell you it was not easy to rehearse everyday with a person that has his own universe of pitch and not just smack him in the face, especially because he would act as if he was on pitch all along. That made my blood boil, I had to actually sing with this person in two tests last Thursday and he totally screwed his part up but was unable to throw me off my game and as the never ending Bach quartets ended I was pretty in pink and in pitch! But my teacher assured me that my grade was not going to be affected by his horrendous performance. Very Halloween themed test I did come to think of it… Plus a man hit me in the head with an enormous bag he was carrying on his shoulder on the subway that morning just as I was heading to that said test (that I had to wait 2 hours to do btw). I felt like crying, like bursting into tears really, but I was able to control myself and did the walk of shame to my train with tear filled eyes.

But I’m not here to talk about my problems! I’m here to talk about the best place of earth and that’s NYC! Well now we’re on Saturday, the 12th of October. As we were heading towards the end of our trip we decided to start going back to places we only went by and said “Ah, we have time, we’ll come back later!”. So off to 5th avenue me and mum went. We bought ridiculous amounts of chocolate and went ALL the way to 34th and Broadway to get a chance to go to Claire’s again. Remember we were at 57th and 9th, went to 5th and then back to Broadway and 34th in the morning.

But we had tickets for Cinderella this day and it started at 2. And we were already late and still deciding which earring to take at Claire’s. Result, we went to this place with a French name and got two sandwiches and ate them as we battled the ocean of people who all seemed to be on our way on Broadway at 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon. My sandwich was good, it had pesto sauce in it, I love pesto sauce.

We got to Cinderella just in time! I felt slightly out of place being in a matinee of a Broadway show surrounded by little girls dressed up as princesses. It was cute, don’t get me wrong and I love all things princess and fairy tales, but it’s a big change from the Met I must say. For one, people where in jeans and flip flops and the amount of food they had in the audience was alarming! It was a beautiful theater, The Broadway theater, in which I had seen Sister Act the last time I had been to NYC. 

View from my seat

Another thing that was SO disturbing was the fact that the conductor came in and lights were still on and everybody in the audience was chatting as if they were in a cocktail party. The overture started playing and the lights were still on and people started shutting up little by little. I know, this is not opera, this is musical theater, but it was just weird, especially because I had been to operas all these days so I was used to different conventions.

One more thing before we talk about the musical itself, microphones, the use of these gadgets for singing on a stage strikes me as odd and ‘whatever for? Don’t they teach these kids to project these days?’. I will leave it at that, I know not everybody has a voice the size of Sondra Radvanovsky’s.

But on to the musical, the production was ADORABLE! Very pretty, every place is sort of forest themed even the indoors places. Every single performer was REALLY good. They all had really good singing voices and seemed to be made to play their roles. It was quite amazing.

Cinderella was played by Laura Osnes, who I remember from some years ago that won that “You’re the one that I want” reality show thing to decide who was to play Sandy and Danny in Grease. And reality show people aren’t usually good, but she is. Really good! She had a lovely Disney princess voice plus is a fantastic dancer, I mean, her high kicks were as high as it gets. As my ballet teacher used to say ‘knee hitting forehead’. Plus she was so graceful and most importantly very genuine. Because roles like this, not very differently from Cenerentola (actually not different at all since it’s the same character only different language and composer), the lady playing Cinderella can come off as false and not believable. But when the performer is able to really channel goodness, kindness and forgiveness genuinely, like Laura and Joyce do, it can be a life changing experience. 

And I’m telling you, it kinda was for me, but let’s talk about the musical itself. As it starts you can notice that things are slightly different in this version of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. The prince is a good soul and full of good intentions but extremely naïve. He’s a hero, who slays dragons while frying a egg but is clueless of how to run his country so his steward (warning, the bad guy) runs the kingdom for him.

And then we have Cinderella who is the kindest person ever to absolutely everyone, from the crazy homeless lady to her despiteful stepmother. Her step sisters are a bit different from what you would think. Charlotte is a short kinda chubby girl who is overly confident about almost everything, she is the comic relief of the piece. I was SO happy to actually see Ann Harada, who plays Charlotte, live. She originated the role of Christmas Eve in Avenue Q in 2003, she’s hilarious! I’m a big Avenue Q fan, I know all the songs and lyrics by heart! And then there’s Gabrielle who is a bit of a romantic and is actually smitten by Jean Michel, a simple but super well read young man with revolutionary ideas. Of course Madam (the stepmother) completely disapproves of him, she has higher plans for her daughter Gabrielle, to actually marry the Prince and the evil Steward is in in this as well.

So the Prince must marry so what better way to find the perfect lady than to throw a ball to which every girl who has a gown is invited! This number (The prince is having a ball) is quite impressive, the ensemble did a fantastic job dancing wise and the whole number was such a delight to watch. This musical really transports you to a land of fairy tales, it’s quite beautiful. Well, as you can imagine the stepmother forbids Cinderella to go to the ball and she’s left home in tears while the other three ladies leave for the party.

Cinderella is crying outside and crazy Marie appears and they start chatting about all the impossible things they wish would happen. After a little talk Marie miraculously and in full front of everybody magically turns into her fairy godmother! It’s very impressive, one minute he’s in rags the other she’s in a beautiful pink gown. Cinderella is stunned and says “Marie! But you are a crazy woman, what are you doing in that beautiful gown?” to which Marie replies “You have no idea how many beautiful gowns have crazy women in them” and the audience roared with laughter. They sing “IMPOSSIBLE!” and after a while everything they dreamed about starts happening, animals turning into men, the pumpkin into a beautiful carriage and seriously ONE SECOND Cinderella is in rags, she leans over on a tree and BANG she’s in the most beautiful white dress EVER! It’s insane how quick and magical these transformations are! My mum was particularly stunned. 

Well all magic aside the scene is quite beautiful. Cinderella gets to go to the ball! Now the ball is also really gorgeous, they put together some GREAT choreography for this bit. The thing about this ball is that every girl gets to dance with the prince for about a minute but since it’s a masked ball the girls don’t know who the prince is. In that minute Charlotte totally screws up and says some pretty nasty things to the prince while her sister knowing that he was the prince was overly cordial and kinda freaked him out. 

Along comes Cinderella and it’s really like one of those magical moments of love at first sight. Only the prince had already met Cinderella when she was in rags helping crazy Marie in the beginning of the show. They dance and it’s so adorable. The guests go about playing this game of insulting other people (YIKES) but when it comes to Cinderella’s turn she’s unable to bad mouth the person she’s supposed to. Even though the person she’s supposed to insult is none other than her own stepmother, instead she compliments her to everybody’s horror. She explains how much more profiting it is to be kind to people instead of trying to tear them to shreds. Cinderella’s thing catches on and suddenly everybody is complementing everybody and it’s adorable. The prince is absolutely fascinated and infatuated by her and they dance and talk all night, UNTIL, of course, midnight!

Midnight strikes and Cinderella runs for it. We have the classical scene of her running down the stairs and her crystal slipper falling off her foot. The prince is on her heels and grabs the slipper but just as she’s escaping she realizes she’s missing a shoe and comes back, hanks the shoe from his hand and runs for it. End of act one and I’m like “WHAT? But, but, how? What’s gonna happen? How is he supposed to find her now?”

We didn’t even leave our seats at intermission, I actually spent the whole intermission talking to my sister on the phone because the night before there had been a totally awesome party that I was obviously unable to attend. Ah well, missing the party was totally worth it.

Act two begins with the most incredible chase ever. Loads of dancing and acrobatic feats as the things started turning themselves into their original state. The humans being turned back into animals was particularly incredible! It was quite a long pursuit but eventually, again just like magic, Cinderella’s dress turned back into her rags and she was safely at home just in time to catch her stepmother and step sisters returning from the ball. They sing one of the loveliest tunes in the musical “A Lovely Night” which I sang along to.

Cinderella lets too much information about the ball out to Gabrielle and she recognizes her. But then Gabrielle tells her she’s really smitten with Jean Michel and they make a pact to keep each other’s secrets! ADORABLE!

Well the prince is looking for Cinderella like crazy and decides to have a banquet hoping that she’ll show up. Now Cinderella is dying to go but can’t because she doesn’t have a dress and doesn’t want him to know who she truly is. So as one hand washes the other her and Gabrielle make a plan, Gabrielle pretends she’s sick so her mother will leave her home and go off to the banquet. When Madam leaves she lends her dress to Cinderella and the door bell rings and it’s Jean Michel and they have a totally cute moment and kiss and it’s adorable. But, MA, as they kiss and Cinderella comes hoping like a happy rabbit with her sister’s dress Madam comes back! I totally gasped at this moment, like really loud, like “SHIT!”. Madam throws Gabrielle out and rips Cinderella’s dress to shreds.

It’s so sad! But of course, fairy godmother comes for the rescue and in a split second Cinderella is wearing a gorgeous golden gown! BAM, magic! Seriously, I so wish opera houses would do this magic transformation in Cendrillon or Cenerentola on stage, it’s so cool! Can you imagine Joyce DiDonato turning and suddenly her dress transforms itself! Life doesn’t get any cooler than that! (Only if you get cast as Tosca, that’s pretty hard core cool too!)

Oh well, Cinderella goes to the banquet but instead of just going and having a good time she actually uses her time to help others. You see the runaway Gabrielle is with Jean Michel and some very poor people who had been thrown out of their land by royal decree. Cinderella introduces the clueless prince to Jean Michel and JM tells the prince what’s really been happening to the kingdom. The prince cannot believe his ears and wants to find a way to make things right, so he actually calls upon an election! What? An election in Cinderella? What a plot twist! He names Jean Michel and his steward as the candidates and says everybody, rich or poor gets ONE vote. 

As they are all happy and rejoicing midnights strikes and oh no, Cinderella has to run! The prince begs her to stay but she’s ashamed of her true identity thinking he’ll not like her as she truly is. So she hands him her slipper and tells him to find her and runs for it.

Well, the prince has every single girl in the kingdom to try on the shoe, but obviously no one was a good fit. But finally Cinderella comes to try on the shoe and everybody is like “HAHA, as if!” but then we all know what happens and there’s the election and Cinderella and the prince get married and it’s adorable and cried and there I’ve said it, the end! I really liked this musical! I feel like I hit jackpot with is musical because it’s so cool and has such an incredible message!

Well, I didn’t have much time to process anything really because it was about 4:30 and I had to meet Harry (aka Opera Teen) at 5:30 in a restaurant on 68th street. So I ran back to my hotel, took a shower, got ready in record time and then as I was getting to the elevator I see a message from Harry. He’s gonna be late, rescheduling for 6:30, MAN! I go back to the hotel room, see if I didn’t forget anything, get my “Clash of Kings” and head off in the city. 

It was quite nice, I didn’t have my mother’s nagging presence and it was a beautiful end of afternoon. I decided to go to that grass field just between Juilliard and the Met, that one that is on top of the Lincoln Center Restaurant and read a bit while I waited for 6:30. But as fate would have it Harry had serious traffic issues and we weren’t able to have dinner together, so I was there, alone and like, what do I do? It’s so funny because I remember quite clearly standing in front of the Lincoln Center stairs and thinking “what do I do?” and just taking my time and breathing in the opera filled air, ah I wish I could get back to that moment, it was quite wonderful!

I ended up going to some market place and getting sushi and a fruit salad and eating all by myself in those iron tables just in front of The Empire Hotel. It was nice! Then I went to the Met and I was inside alone so I called my opera bff in Brazil and we proceeded to talk. About 7:45 I went up, up, up to my Family Circle seat and spotted the newly arrived Harry, I went to him and screamed his name, it was fun! So cool to see the “man behind the twitter”! We didn’t have any time at all to talk then though, I went to my seat and here we go, let’s watch Onegin AGAIN!

What’s fantastic about watching something from different seats in the house is that you can notice stuff that you couldn’t before. Like for instance, I found it so cool that there was actually a table on the farther part of the stage amongst the trees and there were ladies setting it and that the chorus actually ate there! 

Another great thing about different seats is definitely the sound. I’ve already said this on my “The Nose” post, for me, the best sound is up there in the Balcony and Family Circle. It’s unbelievable how good it is, you feel pure sound just hitting you in the face!

The performers were their usual awesome and this time I really tried to see the things I hadn’t paid attention to the other time. I felt so happy I was able to catch all of the mute scenes going on between Tatyana and Onegin and the adorable exchanges of Olga and Lensky. The letter scene was again, GORGEOUS, amazing! I cried, AGAIN! It’s just so powerful, especially in the end when the orchestra comes in and she’s spinning and writing, it’s very powerful, you totally feel like a wave of awesome has just washed over you! Then Onegin comes and today I felt he was more of a bastard. He had a cynical look on his face as he sang his sermon to Tatyana and she’s like “Please, let me die rather than hear this”. And that kiss in the end, again, when he did it I was like “What a jerk!”.

Well, intermission time and time to finally meet Harry! I was so excited to see him! Harry was one of the first opera twitter people I started talking to and now he’s become a really good friend. We talked during intermission as if we had known each other all our lives. It’s a funny thing, because I think that when that happens you were really destined to meet this person, even though he lives so far away and how on earth would we get to know each other if it weren’t for twitter/opera? I also got to meet another operarox fellow, Sasha! Who is also the sweetest! This was one intermission I never wanted to end but unfortunately since I was having such a blast of a good time it was over in a minute.

Me and Harry at intermission!
We come back for act 2’s ball! Oh, the set I just so gorgeous! And I really don’t know how I noticed this from my far away seat as opposed to when I was sitting much closer in the orchestra, but Onegin totally steals some kisses from Olga when he’s dancing with her. No wonder Lensky is beyond pissed! And you don’t fool me Olga, I know you were enjoying it! Ah well, the couples glided their ways through the stage until Lensky has had enough of Onegin groping and kissing his girl and we all know what happens.

Again the second half of act 2 was so, so heartbreaking and when Onegin was clutching Lensky’s lifeless body and you just breakdown because it’s just too much feels! The people sitting next to me were not the nicest people in the universe. An old man with a serious candy paper wrap problem, YES, he opened candy while Anna was singing, what? And a oriental lady who slept during half of the whole thing. I mean, COME ON, you people do not deserve to be here! I know so many people who are actually worth of their seats!

Second intermission was just as fast as me and Harry tried to talk about every single thing at the same time. He was quite amazed that we don’t get cool people like Anna or Renée to actually do opera over here in Brazil, yeah, we don’t. But we did get Sondra doing Tosca once a couple of years ago that I heard was just sublime. We said our goodbyes as that horrid gong rang and rang.

Last act and I’m already holding my breath as it begins. It begins with my favorite waltz and I’m again frustrated to see that lifeless dance for such a wonderful music. Onegin sees Tatyana and it’s BAM, it’s love! So heart ripping when he sings the letter song melody to express his love and you get hopeful for just a second.

Curtain comes down for quick set change and what do I see but annoying old man who’s sitting next to me and his wife simply LEAVE! THEY LEFT! What? They left right before the last scene? THE BEST EFFING PART OF THE WHOLE OPERA? What is your problem old man?? Ah well.

Last scene and I’m on the edge of my seat. This scene is perfection! And I think this production was just right for the performers that were singing it. Because when you come to think of it, even though it’s the same character, can you see Renée Fleming’s Tatyana kissing Onegin like that in the end? I can’t, I don’t think she’d be able to resist him if she kissed him at the end. Or can you see Anna’s Tatyana running away from him at the end? I can’t, because it doesn’t make sense that the character she created should run away. I’m not saying that Renée’s Tatyana is weak or that Anna’s Tatyana is cold. No, they are just different and I love that, to have a fresh interpretation of a character you really like, for me at least, is heaven!

Well the scene was so full of energy and passion and I was again mouthing the words and leaning and crying and a mess. The final kiss, again, did not disappoint, Anna was like a leopard or something and kissed him like there was no tomorrow and then walked away like a BOSS. I was crying a river at the end and clapping and cheering like crazy. I took a while to get up to applaud and I’m gonna tell you why, that Family Circle is high as hell and steep as fuck, when you get up excited to clap you have the terrifying sensation that you will fall to your certain death.

After all the clapping I went all the way down to the stage door. I met Sasha and we fangirled together. I asked Piotr to sign my “Heart’s Delight” cd. And complimented Anna on her amazing performance, and guess what? She remembered me, AGAIN! Isn’t that awesome or what? We actually got to talking for quite a while about tonight’s performance and she told me she liked this performance better than the last one. I was so delightfully surprised with her simplicity and interest on what I had to say, most of the singers I met were extremely nice and attentive. I was grateful for that because I don’t think there is anything more horrible for a fan than to idolize somebody and then the person comes in and treats you with indifference or badly, but that was definitely not the case for any of my favorites that I met in this trip. 

Then I went to talk to Mariusz and he also recognized me and we talked for a while as well. He signed my CD and I asked for another picture just because. Sasha and her dad took them for me, thanks guys! Man, Mariusz is so handsome it should be illegal for someone to sound so good and look so damn hot. Oh man, imagine when I meet Dmitri Hvorotovsky, I might faint! Hahaha

Well, 8 pages later that’s what happened on that fantastic Saturday, next post, Isabela meets Melanie and Joyce DiDonato!