Atlanta Opera: How do you balance getting into character in each production while making yourself comfortable in a new city?
Maria Luigia Borsi: In general, I can say that I am a person that has trouble dealing with change, maybe because I come from a country where there are unchanged monuments and traditions that have been around for thousands of years. On the other hand, the life I live is a non-stop adventure, full of new people, new places and different languages. I have to admit, it’s not always easy to integrate myself into new situations. Basically, I can sum this up by saying, you can take the country girl out of the country but nobody can take the country out of the country girl ;-).
The characters that I interpret cannot have jet lag. Theatre, anywhere in the world, is a sacred place, magical and timeless; where everything takes shape and life in a natural way. Fundamentally, it’s the characters themselves that help make me feel more comfortable wherever I am.
One would imagine that constant travel could strain your voice, as well as your mental and physical fortitude. Any thoughts on keeping in good health on the road?
The voice is a very delicate instrument, it is affected by many factors: weather changes, jet lag, mood swings, hormonal factors and personal problems. I try to have a healthy lifestyle: eating well, a bit of physical activity, sleep well...but it isn’t as simple as it seems because a singer's life is irregular and full of adrenaline. The first thing I do in the morning is drink fresh squeezed lemon juice (no sugar), it' s a natural antibiotic. I normally drink a lot of water and I often have propolis caramel in my mouth in order to humidify and pamper my instrument. In my opinion, it's important to try to be in contact with the needs of the body, be calm and have confidence.
What is your craziest travel story?
Unfortunately I don't have a crazy travel story, but I could tell many stories about crazy tenors ! ;-)
What’s the first thing you do when you go home?
I kiss my husband Brad, my daughter Ambra, il mio babbino caro (my dear father), I hug my dog Mixy and my three cats: Alfredo, Merci, Danke. After that, I gaze upon and contemplate about our beautiful garden, I observe the progress that the plants have made during my absence.
What do you think of Atlanta? Any particular place, meal, or adventure stick out so far?
I live in Tuscany, in the countryside, in a house in the middle of fields, without television. Atlanta is a huge city. Every time I walk down the street I feel so small. Every day is an adventure while driving a car here! But, there are some lovely places in Atlanta, houses and gardens as beautiful as a fairy tale where I could surely feel like a gnome in an enchanted world.
What are the 5 things you must have when you travel?
I need my cell phone to keep in touch with my family, the score, my daughter's photos and drawings, a humidifier, a coffee mocha, olive oil (because good olive oil is nearly impossible to find outside Italy), some pasta, a bottle of wine (or two) and Parmigiano cheese. Pavarotti traveled with his entire kitchen, so why can’t I? ;-))))