Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'm running out of titles for posts

But that doesn't mean I'm running out of things to say! Although as my rehearsal schedule thins out, I might post a little less frequently since I doubt you all want to read about my random tourist experiences in Berlin. I do have a post percolating in my brain about the psychology behind singers and their egos, so maybe on a slow day I'll start to sort through those ideas.

One thing that is cool about being double cast is that you get to experience the production from the audience, and see how things gain a different perspective from the outside. It also helps when you get to see how the audience reacts to certain jokes, and in this case, how a german audience might be different from any other audience. I went to see the opening of Barbiere last night, and the theater was packed. The audience seemed to love the production and the singers, which is always lovely to see. As soon as the overture started, my stomach dropped a little in anticipation of my performance, but at the same time, the whole atmosphere seemed very relaxed, and I realized that the less of a "big deal" I can make this situation, the better off I will be. There is no curtain in this show covering the set, so before the overture started a tech guy in his sneakers and jeans came out onto the stage to adjust the prompters box which was apparently loose. All the lights were on and all the audience members were in their seats waiting for the performance to begin, so after he sauntered in and used his electric drill to tighten the offending screw, the audience broke into spontaneous applause and cheers as he exited the stage. His only acknowledgement of the ovation was a casual wave of his hand in the air as he walked offstage, which only elicited more cheering. The feeling was very positive and relaxed - not at all stuffy as opera can sometimes be.

In this production, there is a lot of coming to the front of the stage and singing directly to the audience- and the theater is small enough that there can actually be some real connecting between the singers and the public.


The show went well - the new tenor did fantasically well, and didn't even seem remotely nervous. I need to take a lesson from him. I had one of those "everyone's a critic" moments when I realized the older gentleman seated next to me was deciding after each aria whether he liked the singer or not, and then either leaning over to his wife and saying "he was good" and enthusiastically clapping or curtly shaking his head at her and staging his own silent protest by folding his arms and refusing to applaud. I wanted to nudge him and say "I'd like to see you get up there and try to sing all those notes" after seeing his reaction to some of the singers, but I restrained myself. I mean, everybody's got opinions, but refusing to clap? Come on. But he was speaking english, and was clearly not german - the rest of the audience, mostly german I'm assuming, seemed very enthusiastic about the show and laughed at all the jokes heartily.

It was all a good thing to experience, to remind myself that the audience (mostly - except maybe the mean non-applauder) is there to have fun, and my job is merely to aid them in that adventure.

4 comments:

ken said...

I don't know how you could not make it a "big deal," but I do hope you have some fun performing. Do you think the attitude of the man you sat next to is one of the problems with opera gaining a mass audience? People new to opera always feel that even though they might love something, some critical person with greater knowledge is behuind them pointing out why they are wrong.

Ann said...

I adore opera and what a treat to get this glimpse into the day-to-day of a performer. Thank you so much for your honesty and insights!

Julie said...

This is so much fun to read! I sang in the chorus at BCF the week you were there, and I'm glad you had as much fun as we all did.

Diane said...

Jenny,
I LOVE your posts. You must get lonely sometimes on these road trips, but know that we're routing for you!