My autumn news has been rather a long time coming. I am reaching the last days of almost two months in Paris and the time has rushed by. I had ten wonderful days in Brazil earlier in September: three concerts in Sao Paulo and a glorious weekend in a seaside paradise further north before coming to Paris to rehearse for ‘La Fille du Régiment’. It was a treat to meet up with Laurent Pelly, Natalie Dessay, Juan-Diego Florez, and Alessandro Corbelli again: I had applauded them all at the Première of this production in London several years ago, with Dawn French memorable as the Duchesse de Crackentorp. Doris Lamprecht, Francis Dudziak and the conductor Marco Armiliato make up our merry band, and now Désirée Rancatoré and Celso Albelo have taken over the roles of Marie and Tonio for the final performances. They are quite different and quite wonderful too. It is a long time since I have been in an opera- Albert Herring in Aldeburgh last autumn, but that was in a different context. It has been a complete joy, even though- or perhaps because- I am playing a tiny part with only a few bars to sing. I’ve never been part of an Italian Opera before apart from Mozart; the audience is quite different. The show doesn’t stop for ten minutes’ applause after the Marschallin’s monologue- maybe it was the way I sang…Actually at the Met when Pavarotti was singing the Italian tenor there was invariably applause as he left the stage and I would have to wait for ages before whispering to mein lieber Hyppolyte that he had made an old woman of me. Perhaps Pavarotti’s fans all left after Act 1?
The second half of November is full of concerts and recitals in and around London, and in December Jason Carr and I have two performances of Parlez-moi d’amour at the Opéra in Lille, with a music only (without Olivier, my dancing partner) version at the Institut Français in London on December 6. Then I shall close the shutters until the end of January. When I look at my old-fashioned paper diary I am amazed I got through it all. It has been a very busy year with no holiday but filled with beautiful music, great colleagues and exciting journeys. I wish everyone a healthy and happy last two months of 2012. FL