Thursday, November 19, 2009

From the Other Side of the Curtain

“Kiri, these are the men who will be carrying you out of the window. Would you like to practice this a few times before the show begins?”

We had never rehearsed with the chorus or orchestra before the first performance. So here I was with my hair in rollers being carried down from the window on stage just a few minutes before show time! What a way to prepare for my mainstage debut as Adina in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love

I could hear students entering the theater as I returned to my dressing room to put on the rest of my costume. The entire cast was abuzz with adrenaline! I was nervous as I stood off stage waiting for my entrance … I could hear the audience talking in their seats and the orchestra beginning to play. At that moment, I remembered my elementary school days when I wished with all my heart that one day I would be an opera singer. I thought of all the students who would see their first opera today and be hooked just like me! Somehow, I found strength and tranquility in that thought. As I walked out on stage I expected to get even more nervous. I looked out into the theatre, and I could feel the audience’s presence. I took a deep breath, and I had an overwhelming feeling of peace. This is where I belonged. I knew that this was the chance I had been waiting for all my life. Today I was performing on the Houston Grand Opera stage, and no matter what happened afterward, no one could take that away from me. This was the chance of a lifetime.

As we began the show we were a little hesitant until the first outburst of laughter. As the audience began to respond to the actions on stage I could feel myself relax and just enjoy performing. I don’t really remember too many specifics about the show. I just know that we were all trying as hard as we could. It was all a blur up until the last scene. I told Nemorino that I loved him and then he dropped to his knees and hugged me. The entire audience gasped and began to clap. In that split second I realized that the students understood our story. They were with us on our emotional roller coaster. We had made a connection—that is what this is all about.

As we finished the last note and waived good bye to the audience, Nathaniel Peake and I looked at each other with eyes of relief and congratulations as we waited for our turn in the curtain call. He grabbed my hand as we ran out to center stage, and the reception we got was breathtaking. That was a day I will remember forever!

Kiri Deonarine- First-year HGO Studio Artist


Andrew said...

I love you kiri!!! so so proud of you. and even more excited that you're performing up in my hood!! keep knockin' 'em dead. -andrew sullivan

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