I’m in the Oakland airport, finally heading home after a long two days of traveling. In the past 36 hours, I’ve been in at least one car, cab, train, bus, trolley, and airplane. I was actually on the first airplane twice, as they loaded us up only to have us wait on the tarmac for 45 minutes before unloading us all again. This after a two hour delay before loading up in the first place. All told, the flight departed 5 and a half hours late. The afternoon I’d planned to spend doing some shopping and writing in San Francisco was instead spent in the Seattle airport.
At least I had some company. I was on my way to the West Coast Opera Auditions (a joint audition for 20-30 Western companies), and there were two colleagues of mine on the same flight. Misery loves company, yes? Actually, not being alone made the day much easier. One of us could walk or wander for search for food while the others watched the bags. Much nicer than pulling my little suitcase behind me all day. MH and I were also staying at the same hotel, so we navigated our way together from the Oakland airport to our hotel in SanFran via BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Once we got going, it was a fairly smooth trip.
Despite being in a “bad part of town,*” the hotel was clean and the staff was very friendly. Absolutely suitable for a one-night stay. I slept very well, and awoke feeling rested and ready for my audition. I got a little coffee and had some breakfast with MH and JH at the hotel, then we shared a cab to the audition. And my internal debate began…
What aria to start with? At most auditions, the singer is allowed to choose his first aria; the panel then selects the second (if they want to hear a second) from the list provided by the singer. I ran through all my arias on Friday with a coach in Seattle, and she helped me come to the decision to start with the Queen’s Vengeance Aria. Why? If that aria is on a soprano’s list, the panel will almost certainly ask for it. So why not sing it first and get it out of the way? That way I can be in control of my nerves and I can get the “hard aria” out of the way.
I began to question this logic, however, when I heard that the panel may only be hearing one aria. I have so much more to offer as a singer than just the Queen, and I wanted to be sure that they got a chance to hear some of it. So I decided that if the singers before me (two colleagues from Seattle) were asked for one aria, I’d start with “Qui la voce” from I Puritani, a delicious bel canto aria that I fell heads over heels for the first time I sang it. If they asked for two, I’d start with the Queen and they would get to pick something else. Well, wouldn’t you know, one singer sang two arias and the other sang only one!! What to do? I hadn’t come up with a strategy for this situation…
I didn’t decide what I was going to sing until I was ON THE STAGE!! The panel asked, “What would you like to start with?” I clasped my hands and said, “Ummm… hmmm…” I’m not kidding! I finally opted for the Queen, but it was a very strange moment up there while I decided. I sang it well, and they asked for a second: “Be kind and courteous” from Midsummer, another aria from a role I’ve performed. All in all, after the first hesitant moment, it was a good audition. All my friends sang well, too, so we are hopeful that at least one of us will get a nibble!
(* San Francisco is quite possibly the most integrated city I know. Everything and everyone seems to be blended into the definition of “metropolitan.” People of differents races, classes, and sexualities every where you look; different cultural attractions – Symphony Hall and strip clubs – within blocks of each other; million dollar properties on the same block with run-down buildings. It seems that everyone is comfortable everywhere. A wonderful feeling.)
Then lunch with my friends, and then coffe with MC of The Standing Room! It was my first real-life blogging encounter, and it was great. We talked about how strange it is that we know details of each other’s lives (he complimented my hair (it’s still red!!), I asked after his headshots (he wouldn't show them to me)), even though we’d never met. MH, who knows nothing of the blogging world, was fascinated by the whole thing. It's a unique social phenomenon, the Blogosphere, if that doesn't sound too trite, and one that I imagine we'll be reading studies on in a few years. MC prefers to remain anonymous, so I won’t divulge too many details of our coffee talk, but we have friends and colleagues in common, and others who I hope will be colleagues in the future. He had some great ideas for my CD project; I look forward to exploring them.
MH and I then killed a few hours before heading to the airport. We explored the Ferry Building, which is basically one big gourmet food market. Yumm. We got gelato (blood orange and chocolate sorbet for me) and sat in the sun, watching the water traffic under the Bay Bridge. A nice end to a wonderful day.
But as I write this, our flight is delayed 30 minutes. That’s how it started yesterday…