I first felt at home in this business when I discovered Eloise Ristad’s A Soprano on Her Head. I had fallen into the opera world completely unintentionally, and it was as confounding as it was intriguing. But with this book I actually felt that there might be a place for me here. However, there was one piece of advice I could never absorb: Juggling.
The logic was perfect – that mastering the art of juggling couldn’t help but make me a better performer. I bought into it completely, got an instructional video, and did my humiliating practice in private. To this day I can’t even catch ball #2.
But I still have pursued the art of virtual juggling. Stay loose and calmly alert, and complete parts of your life will graciously share the stage with others. The summer is, of course, all about juggling. And sadly, every year, there is a moment when I feel the balls begin to slip from my grasp. They fall, in merciless succession, while I watch in frustration and anger. Every year I practice; staying limber, breathing deeply, and bathing in optimism. Still, there’s no escaping this deterioration.
Life goes on, of course; but people are disappointed, goals are ill-met, and opportunities are missed. Yet the mantra is still true: It’s Only Opera.
There’s a tunnel vision that results from being too long immersed in anything. It creeps up on you stealthily, even though you know that too much of anything – even a good thing – is asking for trouble. So I seek to regain my peripheral vision.
A quick evening trip to a friend’s exciting new venture was a good start. Actually getting to have a meal with the great people I live with helped a lot. And I was stunned at how good it felt to listen to my new mix-CD. Thanks, Morgana.
In spite of my personal funk, the typical amazing array of things took place at the Trap today.
There was show #4 of Instant Opera, wherein Pluto the Dog and a Silly Cow learned to jump rope while Tweety Bird was pursued by a mezzo-soprano Sylvester (“Thufferin’ Thuccotash… Thmanie Implacabili!”). Ariadne auf Naxos is underway (photos next week), Tales from the Vienna Woods is ready for tomorrow night, and the Studio is finishing a week of dance classes (from which they’ve banned my camera:).
See you tomorrow night from the Wienerwald.