21. April 2007 · Comments Off on One — Seven · Categories: imported, Ramble

So one performance down. Seven to go. But who’s counting?

The opera went very well. I think this audience was the most enthusiastic that I’ve seen at an opening night recently; even the balcony was standing. Or at least the people in the balcony were standing. The balcony really didn’t do anything at all.

Anyway, it felt like a good performance to me. But I’m in the pit. What do I know?

21. April 2007 · Comments Off on Opening Night · Categories: imported, Ramble

Tonight is the first Opera San José performance of Madama Butterfly. No matter how many rehearsals I’ve had, I always have … oh dear … butterflies (sorry!) at the first performance. It’s just the way I am.

When I was younger I thought I’d be less nervous when I was older. When I was younger I would often be a mess the entire day before a performance. On the night of a performance I’d be pretty darn wacky with nerves. But there was something innocent about those nerves; I didn’t know, at that point, just how hard some solos were, how incredibly exposed they were, and how many things could go wrong. I was just nervous because … well … I was nervous.

Now nerves are different. It’s about more specific things. I know exactly what’s difficult. I know how I can suddenly experience brain freeze. I know fingers can do the most amazing things and rebel at just the wrong moments. I know how easily one can get water in the top octave (even while swabbing a lot) and that it’s then a pain for the rest of the night. (I now have two oboes set up because this past week has been a problem; by the last act I can’t guarantee I’ll keep water out and I use a different oboe for the first two pages so I don’t worry about the high notes.)

I also know I won’t cry buckets if I make a mistake. When I was younger it was devastating every single time I made even the smallest little bloop (many not even audible to an audience). These days? Heh. Repeat after me, “At least I’m not a brain surgeon.”

Still, here’s to a good night and no embarrassing moments. (It’s also very wise to remember the whole thing isn’t about me, yes? Even though it feels as if it is.)

Last night I went to see and hear Into the Woods. Mike R was the Baker and he was excellent. My son’s girlfriend, Megan, was Little Red Riding Hood and she was great too. It wasn’t a fully professional group, and there were little glitches here and there (of course we have those too!), but I love the musical, and I love seeing the cast give it their best. I do wonder … do they get as nervous as those of us who do this for our living? More? I’m guessing, actually, less. But that’s just me. Because I like to think I have it more difficult than anyone else.

21. April 2007 · Comments Off on BlogWords · Categories: imported, Other People's Words

The lead cell players from Spain, Italy, Finland and France. The french one was a girl and I was staring at her the whole time!! She was so coool .. with her curvy muscles in her hand (I guess playing those instruments develop your hand muscles a lot)!

(This is exactly as I read it, but the typos are merely a language issue—please know I’m not mocking the writer. I just loved the curvy muscles comment!)

21. April 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

Undoubtedly, part of the reason students did not rush to the event is that most are simply not interested in classical music. If this applies to you, I am going to make an effort at conversion. In an age when the greatest sin is to make a judgment on someone’s personal preferences, I am going to make a big one: Classical music is simply better than contemporary popular or rock music. The great composers of the Western musical tradition were able to perform incomparable musical feats, and, at the peaks of technique and sophistication, their music simply cannot be compared to anything modern in terms of melody, harmony, complexity and spiritual or emotional expressiveness. Bach, even when using no libretto, was able to invoke the divine in ways that no one even aspires to today.

-Goutham Ganesan (RTWT)

(Hmm. Will this causae anyone to comment? I wonder!)