Now that was something.
I’m not given to superlatives. I’m a fan of quietly shepherding and shaping something until it speaks for itself in the most eloquent way possible. Whether it’s my own kids (who are two of the best people on the planet) or the artists we work so hard to support (who do so much to keep the human spirit spit-polished and shiny, reinvigorating audiences so they can go out and do their own hard work in the world), no matter how much I believe in it, I’m not always the best saleswoman.
As we approached last night’s 40th Anniversary Gala, almost 100% of our efforts were focused on getting everyone here, making everything run on schedule, taking care of these artists who donated their time and talents to our cause, and jumping hurdles like travel snafus, illness, and a garden-variety earthquake. It was an event worthy of promotion, discussion, blogging, tweeting, shouting-from-the-rooftops. And yet the silence from this end was pretty deafening, and for that I apologize.
I wish you all could have been here.
There was music-making of all the best types. Full of passion, tenderness, humor, irony, risk and reward.
Old friends met and new friends were made among the 31 participants who passed through the gates of this program. And because the opera world is so small, there were few degrees of separation between all of these folks who represented a 36-year spread of our 40-year history.
The testimonials were both formal and personal, and they all came from the heart. Of course, it was wonderful to hear how important this program was in the artistic development and career building of dozens of people. But at the end of the night, what meant the most to me was that the act of coming back and singing here seemed to mean almost as much to the artists as it did to us. A wise soprano (not an oxymoron, in spite of what they might say), said it best. It can be tough out there, and in this career as in all walks of life, you can go through stretches where you almost forget who you are, why you constantly put yourself on the line. And, she said, it was a gift to come back home and be reminded of these things – who you really are, where you come from, and why you do what you do.
This 5-month-long journey started with the premiere of The Inspector, led us through an exhilarating three months with the 2011 young artists, and then dropped us out here, in this place of heightened emotion and supreme exhaustion. Our foolish reach often exceeded our little company’s grasp, but in the end, the rewards outweighed the risks. Much more deserves to be said, but this shall have to do. Audition applications for 2012 are coming in daily (Singers! Deadlines are in September this year!), and the next cycle has begun.
I shall now disappear for about a month, most of it underground and largely unplugged. There is stock to be taken, depleted batteries to be recharged, and a wedding to plan! See you again in October, when we’ll take you along on our annual cross-country opera adventure.
40th Anniversary: Performance Photography by Andrew Propp
40th Anniversary: My View from Backstage Right