Jan Capinski’s latest blog about life on the road with #MWOCarmen
This week marks the beginning of the tour proper. 4 shows over 8 days, but what does that mean exactly? Well, Carmen is about 2.5 hours long, of which I personally spend just over an hour on stage performing, so 4 shows gives me say 5 hours of performing. With that comes about 2.5h rehearsing to get a feel for the diverse venues we visit, 14h of hanging around backstage (before the show, during the show), and then there’s the killer – 23 hours of driving.
Everyone deals with it differently. Some travel the day before the show, some stay over after the performance, others blitz the journey there and back to London in one day. We try to stay with friends when possible, for one leg of the tour in North Wales some of us have booked a cottage in Snowdonia for a whole week. And everyone tries to fit their ‘normal’ home life around it all – family, teaching work, singing lessons, preparing for the Autumn round of auditions, etc. Try as you may though, the tour does take over…
Now the hope is that no one in the audience can see that all of this is happening. And judging by the response we’ve had so far, we’ve managed to avoid bringing any of the weird touring mindset onto the stage. In fact, every time I walk out it feels like I’m back in Newtown, inhabiting the familiar set that has become our home away from home. And as the show becomes the overpowering constant in our lives, it is settling and evolving at the same time – different every night, but secure and consistent.
It’s a strange lifestyle, one I haven’t ever experienced before. Sometimes lonely, often silly, tiring, rewarding, unsettled, exciting… And though the night-time drives home through storms while listening to history (almost) being written (yes, referendum coverage) take their toll, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. I can see touring life may not suit everyone, but it’s something every singer should try if they are given the chance: it’s an extremely condensed version of the classical singer’s lifestyle and you learn a lot about yourself doing it.