We finished up with The Pearl Fishers yesterday. It was a fun run, and after doing so many performances of Les Mis, and doing them six days a week, the Pearl Fishers run felt like nothing at all! It was also a very short opera — only 2 1/2 hours. If you know opera you know that’s not typical.

I had one little solo of four measures. When I write solo I mean it. It is entirely alone. Audience members might think that makes for a more stressful solo, but in many ways it makes it easier. The solo was also very “oboey”, making it pretty darn fun. I still didn’t want to write much about it until I was done, though. I’m not superstitious, but the minute I say something like “it’s easy!” I tend to start hearing negative voices in my head telling me otherwise. It’s funny how those voices work. (Sigh.) But now that it’s over I can admit it’s an easy solo, and it really does, as I wrote in my Day Of Gratitude post, play itself. I felt a bit guilty receiving any compliments on the little thing, to be honest. (Yes, I’m goofy that way.) At the same time, some people never comment on my work at all so I wonder if they just don’t care for my playing. (Yes, I’m goofy that way too!)

In any case, goodbye easy solo. It was fun spending time with you! (If I can find a video with the solo I’ll post it here, but first I do have places to go and things to do! No people to see, though … well, until students!)

Next up is the Symphony Silicon Valley set and I have a rather lengthy English horn duet with the flute in the love music (Scène d’amou) from Berlioz’ Romeo et Juliette. Here is Esa-Pekka Salonen and the BBC Orchestra:

It appears that the flute is much more important than the English horn (the duet begins at around 6:10). I’m okay with that. The challenge is, as you might guess, playing all of that in tune, and phrasing well with the flute. (We double reeds don’t have to breathe as frequently as flutes, but we do need to phrase together when possible.)

The rest of the program has be on oboe 2, which is just fine for the most part, aside from having to deal with two sets of reeds. There are sets where I really don’t like to double because the English horn part is too major, but in this one I’m fine with doing this.

Still, if any reeders out there want to send reeds ….


  1. I don’t always comment but I shuffled my feet on several occasions during the run – does that count? 🙂

  2. And very nicely played, too…

  3. … and I heard you, too! Thank you so much, dk! 🙂

  4. I’m assuming, Bob, that you are referring to the flute & English horn duo in the Berlioz? They are fine musicians, aren’t they?! 🙂