In spite of the fact that I run a company, I am so not a typical opera fan. Talking about opera is such a pale imitation of doing it and experiencing it, and (not for lack of trying) I am still not good at being on the downstage side of the proscenium.
Lately I’ve wondered why.
Why I have so little in common with so many opera lovers… Why, if I didn’t work in opera, I’m not sure I could go to the opera… Why I feel like such an imposter (my kids would say ‘poser’) when I travel in certain circles.
A few theories:
Or rather, lack of. My databases are legendary, because my longterm memory brain cells are not. You always have a second chance with me, for I probably don’t remember the first one.
It’s the episodic memory that’s weak. I can’t remember objectives details of specific performances, artists, careers. This makes me spectacularly bad at the favorite singer / best recording / historical performance game.
The procedural memory, on the other hand, is pretty much intact. I can remember how to do things. How the music and the stories spin out. How is all goes if I’m dropped into the middle of it. Process is golden. Product is fuzzy.
My world exists in thousands of shades of gray. To each his own. How calming it would be to see things in black and white occasionally, but how unlikely that is ever to happen. Judging performances, productions, artists on what is best and what is right? Never been able to do it, and not from lack of trying.
Opera lovers are opinionated. They know what they know. Full stop. No equivocating, no acknowledging that someone else’s opinion may be valid. I cannot hold my own in their court.
Opera fans are big collectors. Recordings, playbills, reviews, memories. I don’t collect anything. (I purge.) Whatever show I’m working on right now is my whole world. If there’s anything else on the fringes of my consciousness, it’s the show that’s coming up next, not the ones in the past.
It Takes All Kinds
If you’re a fan, God bless you. We need you. You give our art form energy, edge and passion. We love you. Just don’t be offended if I can’t be one of you.
*Barns fun-house photo courtesy of CameraMan. I’ve been looking for an excuse to use it.