14. April 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Opera, UCSC

… all in one blog entry! (Plus some of the days before, just to fill you in.)

I’ve been in a bizarre place since sometime last Saturday. My ear was acting up, and Sunday I woke to find that I had what I call “the dizzies”. No church. No concert I was planning on attending (sorry, Russ de Luna). It was mostly a couch day. Monday and Tuesday were okay, but Wednesday I woke up thinking “Oh no! HOW am I going to play opera AND get to Karl’s recital?” But sleeping in, taking meds, and attempting to deal did the trick.

Last night was Karl’s recital. I had heard his dress rehearsal on Monday so I knew he’d manage to get through the grueling program. Sure enough, he did! And a very fine job he did, too! Bravo Karl!

This is the stage prior to the start (I didn’t take photos during the recital until the encore, and I won’t post that without Karl’s permission):

Fancy, don’tcha think, with that lighting and all? 😉

Opera began Wednesday as well, and today we had our first sitzprobe. I’ve played Bohème more times than any other opera, so I certainly know it. I also happen to love the opera, so I’m happy to be back at it! I do puzzle over dear Mr. Puccini’s dynamics sometimes … a solo marked pppp? Really? And the most clear solo one played entirely alone: I begin on C (middle of the staff) for two bars to the B right below. Softly. Alone. With a dimunuendo. Did I mention it’s all alone? I have never enjoyed playing this solo … I can’t figure out what the heck to do with it, and I don’t think of those notes as particularly lovely. I’ll see if I can’t take some photos of the pages that are fun or drive me nuts or perplex me at some point … but I didn’t manage to get any in focussed pictures today. (My mistake!)

Today was our first sitzprobe. This morning I woke up with a migraine. Good timing, don’t you think? So it was another couch morning. Fortunately by the rehearsal I was able to function. Whew!

We “met” the singers from one cast before we began. They always introduce themselves at their sitz; it’s the only time I actually get to SEE them. Again, the photos aren’t great — but I’ll put ’em up … just proof that I really was there:

We are always so thrilled to have the singers join us. We aren’t much of anything without ’em when we are doing opera, after all!

Tomorrow we meet the other cast. I’m looking forward to it and I’ll try to take more photos. Maybe I’ll even get things focussed, but don’t count on it. I’m just not looking forward to that one C to B solo. Someone wanna play it for me?

As to my ear … I believe this evening I’m finally nearly normal. And nearly normal is about as good as it gets with me!


  1. That C to B solo IS a funny spot, isn’t it? I think I flinch mentally because playing a long, exposed C is not my favorite activity on oboe: not the best note on the instrument. But I finally resolved not to do anything with it. It’s a suspended moment in the plot and I just put a slight Ooomph on the C and relax slightly on the B and make the prettiest sound that night’s reed will produce. But I never enjoy it…

  2. Yeah, it’s just a crummy “no-nothing” note in my opinion! And yeah, there’s really nothing TO do with it. It’s just so contrary to what I like to do! Ah well … it is what it is. And you can quote me on that! 🙂