Premieres can take a lot out of you, especially if you find yourself emotionally invested in the success of the performance. I say “if”, because not everyone is, and that is not necessarily a terrible thing. I have sung for years in opera choruses, and my experience there is that, with so many premieres during the season, chorus members are not affected by nerves in the same way. One has that protective shield of singing in the group, of anonymity. If you’re sharing the spotlight witha large group, the pressure is off. And without jittery nerves, there are less surprises during the performance.
So last Friday I sang a premiere in which I was one of four singers onstage. It was a nice-sized role, and my character sings a substantial bit of music (including a 14-minute-long, rather dramatic “Ballade”, and a Mad Scene/duet in which I OD on pills and kill myself.) The entire performance went well, in that all went according to plan. Reviews were mixed but all were positive for the singers — either lauding us for a great evening, or pitying us for the staging, an argument I won’t go into here.
Now, one of the things about mid-sized European opera houses is that the singers are pretty busy. We are involved in a lot of shows at the same time, as works are performed in repertory. Ergo, after this premiere I sang in three more performances in the following three days (a repeat of the new production, a rock musical, and a traditional opera.) This morning was my first free day, and I was looking forward to sleeping late and winding down from the weekend, finally.
Heh. At 9am sharp, what dulcet tones waft through my open window to wake me?
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