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.

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