Thursday, July 2, 2009

You may choose a ready guide in some celestial voice

Well, I'm going on a week here in Charlottesville, and I've made nary a comment about it in the blogosphere.  We finally have our full cast contingent (better late than never I guess, eh?), and have staged many key scenes.  Just getting started is the hardest thing I think- the first scene always is tricky.  We're all still finding our sea legs and getting to know each other, and have to jump in the deep end.   

We have another great group of people here, and I look forward to the work.  Anyone who has worked here knows the inherent challenges involved with doing so.  I don't want this blog to become a forum for those challenges per se, so I will keep them to a mimimum....I'm being cryptic aren't I?  I'll tell you all about it after a beer sometime.  

My last entry got tons of comments- thanks for reading!  One of them hit the mark so well I'd like to repeat it here (hope that's ok!!!! I'll leave it anonymous for now):

After years of reading reviews not only of my productions but other operas, plays, and art exhibitions I've come to the conclusion that there is nothing so wonderful that someone in the world won't hate it and there is nothing so horrible that someone in the world won't love it.  That's why I think it is important to trust your own instincts, do your very best, always be true to yourself, and respect your colleagues, the author/composer, and the audience.

I concur.  Well said my friend.  This is the ideal we should all live by.  It's still hard to not get rattled by a bad review, though.  Human Nature I guess.  When you're dealing with something so personal as your art (especially when your instrument is located inside your body), it's hard not to take each criticism personally.  

I have been posting links to stories about the firing of Bill Theisen at Skylight Opera for the last few weeks.   I just found out last night that Bill is going to direct most of the season next year (including my final two Figaros....Figari?), and I have to say, I am quite relieved.  I have been thinking about this whole situation for weeks now, and it is hard to know what the right thing to do is.  I don't agree with the decision that the Board and Mr. Dillner have made, and I have made my opinion known, publicly and privately.  But what do I do?  Do I withdraw from the 09-10 season as a show of support for Bill?  If I do withdraw to make a statement, what statement am I actually making?  Is it the right statement?  Furthermore, If I withdraw, The Skylight has two months to find another baritone who is willing to sing Barber who has no stake in the recent goings-on at the Skylight (and no doubt there are plenty).  Is it a stronger statement to honor my contract?  Dedicate my performance to the now-defunct positions of Artistic Director and Company Manager?  As a singer who has had contracts dissolve a month before rehearsals were to begin (Hello? Opera Pacific?), is it in bad form to drop a contract so close to the start date? If I quit in protest, what is it that I'm protesting? The firing of Bill or the elimination of the Artistic Director and Company Manager positions?  Or both?

These are the questions I've been asking myself.  I was leaning toward honoring my contract anyway because, selfishly, when will I ever get the chance to sing Figaro in Barber and Nozze at the same company in the course of one season?  I thank Bill for making the decision for me- if he's directing, I'm there.  no questions asked.  It's still going to be weird though.  

For the present, though, it's putting another marriage together in Seville.  I don't have a car here in Virginia, so I'm fairly confident I will sweat enough to fit into my costume (even after eating the amazing dumplings at Marco & Luca).  It's a great town and a great cast.  Completely different than last time, and that's a good thing.  There is no point trying to re-create what I had last time.  This is a different cast, a different concept, a different set, different costumes (I gushed about the last costume I had, and automatically thought this one wouldn't be as good- WRONG!), and, I guess what I'm trying to say is, a different feel.  I would be short-changing this production if I gave a performance from a past one.  Does that make sense?  I feel what I'm trying to say can best be summed up with a line from Goonies: "Its their time.  Their time! Up there.  Down here, it's our time.  Our time down here."

Peace and bacon grease.

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