On my way to opera today I thought it might be a good idea to get a cup of coffee because I was a bit tired.

First act was fine, aside from some man in the audience who sounded like he was dying of some horrendous disease. But the first act doesn’t worry me much. I have a solo, but it’s just a fun one.

Coffee isn’t always good for me, though. Today coffee was a bad idea. I hadn’t really eaten well before the performance. Cocoa Puffs do not a good lunch make. Sigh.

So second act. Solo time. Lots of solos, actually. Sometimes I get a tunnel vision sort of thing going, and I know what this means; I’m near blacking out. I’ve never actually fainted, but I get to the point where I can’t see very well. Sometimes things go kind of black. One time this happened completely during a solo and I played through it. It’s amazing what you can do when you know your part well enough and have rehearsed enough! But I don’t recommend it. (The blacking out, that is. The practicing that much and really knowing your part I DO recommend!) I didn’t get to that blacking out point entirely, but I was close. Some of it has to do with tensing up. When I sense that something is awry, I think I breathe incorrectly too. So a few of the solos were a tad uncomfortable to say the least. But I made it through.

After the show I talked to a couple of friends and colleagues. No one had any idea that I was near passing out a few times. I guess that doing this for eons means that I can deal with these difficult moments okay. They just aren’t very fun.

But I have to remember to eat better. This sort of stress is not something I need! (And I probably shouldn’t even ‘fess up about this stuff. Oh well.)

And now opera season is over. It was a good year. The California Theatre is a joy to have as our new home (although I still really want sound monitors!). I had a great time. And I’m already looking forward to next season!

1 Comment

  1. Ehg blacking out is no fun. I’ve started to black out several times while playing the oboe. Thankfully never passed out from it though. And yes each time rather than puttting down my instrument (and in some cases sitting down) I have finished my part with out being able to see the director or my music. Practice does help! Listen to what Patty (or who ever you teacher, director parents are) say when it comes to practicing. It does help a ton and I know I need to do even more of it.

    Thankfully this near passing out thing hasn’t happened to me for a while. At least you have managed to pin point what sets your blacking-out episodes off. I am still not 100% sure what sets of mine. I think it is a combination of factors but I am not sure how many or what combination they need to be present in.

    Good luck with all of your solos!