I never thought I’d say it, but this role is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve put the role of the Queen off my entire career, thinking it was too aggressive for my voice. I had another, more dramatic voice in my ear for the role. Since I didn’t want to mess with my voice, I left the role alone. I had told friends of mine, “Shoot me if I try to do the Queen of the Night and put me out of my misery!!” So it is with quite a lot of chagrin that I finally told my friends that I would, after so many years, decided to do the role finally!! Patrick Summers believed I could do it, and my favorite coach and teacher Gerald Moore convinced me that if I just sang it with my voice, it would be just right! I don’t think I believed it until my second show yesterday!
The new David Pountney production will be reprised next summer, as well. It’s a spectacular spectacular! Check out the pictures of the show – it took almost six weeks to put it together, but it was definitely worth the effort!
Here’s a link to a preview of the show (it’s one of my colleagues singing – not me!!)
There’s even a youtube video the stunt guys made of their rap on the Magic Flute (they’re break dancers!)
Here are the steps it takes to put my HUGE costume on!
First, makeup (including gluing Swarowsky crystals on my face!) and putting all my hair in braids under a snood.
Then my shoes… We had major problems when the shoes they gave me didn’t stick to the set …and for some reason they didn’t get the one part of the set that we have to walk on (that is inclined and we have to get up on from prone position) fixed with some kind of anti-slip stuff until the dress rehearsal. We had all slipped on it, and they couldn’t seem to get the thing right. It was only when they finally did get it texturized that we realized the shoes I had were not “sticky” enough. But it was already dress rehearsal! So, after a crazy search, they found the only shoes they thought might work, a pair of surfer shoes they keep backstage for the technical crew who might have to go in the water. They colored the white stripes on them black with a pen, and off I went… Only glitch is that the only pair they had in my size were both right feet. So here I am still with two right feet at the second show! The good pair have not arrived yet, darn it! So after my 5 days off this week, they should be there and ready for next Saturday’s shows. Keep your fingers crossed!
Then my dresser puts on the first a a few belts – this one for a transmitter for the mike! Oh, did I mention that we’re miked? Since the orchestra is piped in from indoors and the weather can be both windy and rainy (and thus noisy!), we have mikes to come up with a good mix. Oh, yeah, and there’s the thing of being outdoors on a lake with a public of over 6500 people…
Then my big crinoline underskirt…
Then the sound guy fits me with the microphone, which must fit under my helmet, and the wires go down into one pocket on my leggings to a transmitter and for good luck, there’s a transmitter in the belt around my waist.
Then we have a safety belt because I am up on a slippery surface and could fall and will get hooked into a rope, just in case… Excuse so many shots of my very white stomach!
Then, my shiny sequined skirt that I’ll sing my first act (and works as an underlay to the “lace” skirt for my first appearance on the boat and in the second aria with the “lit up” skirt in the second act!
Then the overskirt…
Then I take a break to greet the conductor – it’s Hartmut Keil’s first show in the run, so I have to wish him good luck (or at least spit over his shoulder for good luck!)
Then comes my bodice, with its fantastic plumage. Did I mention that I’m allergic to feathers? We have to put a scarf on me so that I don’t get a totally red chest during the show…
Then the lovely Stephan and his helper come paint my hands. They have to cover up my wedding ring with a bandaid and then color over that…
Then it’s time for the hard, strap-on part of my bodice! It’s mirrored and kills my arms if I try to bring them straight forward!
Once the inside of my arms are done (it should look like I have gloves up to my elbows that just fade into my arms!), I put on the helmet. I didn’t have the heart to do it until I had to, as it weighs a TON! So, sorry, no picture!
Oh what we do for our Art! This is the side view… I have to make sure I don’t brain people when I turn my head, as it’s about two and a half feet wide and a foot and a half high, at least!
Here’s my first entrance, on the boat, of course!!