Tonight was my concert with Washington Concert Opera of the rarely performed Donizetti Opera Maria Padilla. I actually felt really good about the way I sang, and felt proud of my performance. But as happens frequently with mezzos, I was definitely playing second fiddle to the soprano. Never was this more clear than when I exited the stage and walked towards my dressing room. Leah, the fantastic soprano, was surrounded by admirers while I trudged alone to my dressing room. However one woman leaned away from the soprano sandwich to comment to me "Oh - you were good too, Jessica." I said thank you and continued to my dressing room. This is the second time this month someone has called me Jessica - because there is a Jessica Rivera, and people very frequently think I'm her, even though she's little, has dark hair, and is a soprano. Then, when we arrived at the party, I was seated at a table by myself with several older couples who weren't particularly chatty, and when Leah entered the room, the whole place burst into applause. I joined the clapping and then quietly continued eating my raviolis.
I can't complain too much, however, because Evelyn Lear introduced herself to me (she's a great soprano who was very famous in the 60's) and was very complimentary. She had such nice things to say about my singing and I could tell they were genuine and heartfelt, and I was deeply flattered by her compliments. The other person who introduced herself to me at the party was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and I think I actually said , "wow - thank you for speaking to me." Very classy. Everyone at the party was quite nice and friendly and I started to feel like being me wasn't so bad. But then Evelyn Lear came back up to me and said, "Darling - you're so beautiful, really you are. But we have to do something about this hair. You have such a long face - you need more volume on the sides. Also, those earrings. Not crazy about them either." And the funny things is, I actually think she was right about both the hair and the earrings, so I didn't even mind. But I also had to laugh about the fact that this is my life. From meeting a justice on the supreme court to having a famous soprano give me hairstyling tips. I mean, you can't make this stuff up.