Monday, October 11, 2010

Circles of Life

There's a long tunnel that leads from the Theater District parking garage into the Wortham Center. And as strange as this may sound, it's one of my favorite places in the building---the passageway into a musical world that is flat-out magical. My daily walk through its tiled halls accounts for approximately half of my commute to work. And since it's empty 90% of the time I'm in it, it's a first-hand witness to my eccentricities. Skipping, running, singing bits of opera, talking to myself...maybe these are things best not confessed, but so it is. Through my comings and goings it's seen me in just about every mood: eager anticipation, nervous excitement, pure bliss, frustration and inadequacy, utter exhaustion, and so on. Basically, it's been watching me grow up.

Monday morning I entered that hallway and as I started my commute through the building, I laughed aloud. Yes, I was THAT excited to go to work. Crazy, right?!? Why? We started production on the project I've been looking forward to since spring, Peter Grimes. As an opera coach, so much of what we do is about preparation. First there are the hours of personal preparation: studying the orchestration, adjusting the piano reduction to be accurate and orchestral, learning to play it, translating the text (bless Grimes for only have bits of bizarre English), learning the vocal lines, and basically stamping your soul with the specific piece of music. And then there's the coaching and preparation that's done with the singers themselves.

Then production begins and preparation is put into practice.

On Day 1, I played for the first staging session we had and it was completely surreal. I sat at the piano in RR1 and played the Prologue for a conductor whose brilliance never ceases to amaze me and for a cast of world-renowned, talented singers. And it was all I could do to keep from grinning the entire time. Because almost two years ago I was in that exact room, sitting at a piano almost identically positioned and playing the Prologue to Peter Grimes while singing all the parts. Auditioning for the HGO Studio.

Needless to say, when I left Monday evening I was still completely ecstatic. Amazed at the talent that converges in a rehearsal room, awed by the genius of a masterful composer, and 100% overwhelmed because I'm blessed enough to be a part of it. And while I didn't laugh on my commute out, I walked through the tunnel that night profoundly satisfied and so happy I thought I might burst. At which point a quick skip seemed perfectly appropriate.

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