February: Short on days, high on drama
Today was the final rehearsal "run-thru" for the alternates (understudies/covers) in Francesca da Riminiwhich opens at the Met Monday evening. When you enjoy it as much as I do, even performing in a tiny rehearsal room with mock sets and minimal props is exciting, nerve-wracking and exhausting all at the same time. The Assistant Conductor, Prompter, Diction Coach, the head of the Music Staff, 2 Musical Coaches and 2 Assistant Directors were all watching and taking notes to make sure we are" ready to go" if duty calls.
The most important thing about being a cover is that you do your best to emulate the blocking and nuances of the person singing the role so that if you go on you won't throw the other characters off and the original vision of the scenes remain intact. At first it seems a little robotic--acting and singing while being a carbon copy of someone else. If you have the luxury of multiple rehearsals set aside just for the alternates (like we did) it's rewarding when you can finally settle into the role and bring a little of your own ideas into the characterization. In the end, no matter how much rehearsal I've had, if I were to go on in performance, I'm the one who's putting myself before an orchestra and an audience and I'd better be ready to make the character mine for the evening.
If only we could just save the drama for the stage....
The goodnews is that I now have a new contract for the month of April when my contract at the Met is complete....aka the last minute job inquiry from last week. The notso good news is that I had to go back on my wordand withdraw from a verbal commitment I'd made to sing at an event for another organization. The decision should have been an easy one (drop the small gig and move on to the bigger one), but I'm an old softee for "doing the rightthing" and I'm a non confrontational person who doesn't wish to cause upset or conflict. I wasn't able to uphold either of those character traits when dealing with theDirector of the organization I had to let down. What could have been a very simple phone call turned into an awful, high drama turn of events. At the end of the day it all comes back to the uncertaintyof this career and the fact that gigs are really hard to come by. When one presents itself to you, you have to jump on it!
I grew a tougher layer of skin this week. I had to stand up for myself, yet be calm and thoughtful even when my integrity and professionalism were being questioned. I had to be firm and believe in myself regardless of what someone else thinks. And to think...this is probably not the last time I'll go through this in my career.
I can do it!