This was the first performance for me since the MET season started. I felt as if I was operating at about 80-odd % of optimal – small flaws, touching in and out of depth as opposed to living in the depth of the music…humbling to recognize the increased degree of preparation to perform at 100+% in front of a small group of people when in the midst of the opera season. Definitely more mental and musical effort in preparation is required than the 15-20% difference between 80% and 100%. Causes me to remember a comment made to me by an experienced colleague: that it was much harder to improve as you get to increasingly higher levels of skill and artistry. Determining exactly *what* needs to be applied into your daily routine in order to proceed is a significant question.
I am not intending to be negative – the music did flow, as was evidenced by the attention and gratitude expressed by my listeners.