Thursday, July 12, 2007


Everything I had planned to post about seems trite after hearing about Jerry Hadley. For those who don’t know who he is or what happened, please go read this article in the NY Times. Just know before you read it that it isn’t good news.

I can’t stop thinking that this is a reminder of the side of this business we don’t talk about very often. The lonely side. The side where we constantly put ourselves out there for people’s approval and admiration. The uncertainty about the future of our careers. All of those things that can make as singer feel like he is all alone in this business, that it’s all up to him, and, oh god, what happens if he fails?

I doubt there was a singer out there who, when Beverly Sills passed and the world mourned and shared stories and sang her praises, didn’t wonder, “What will people say about me when I die?” I sure did. Who doesn’t hope to touch lives the way she did and to be remembered with as much love and fondness? A thought like that can either be an inspiration, as it was to many, or it can come to weigh very heavily on your mind and heart.

I will not speak to what brought Mr. Hadley to his decision, and I have no stories or memories of him, other than that of his presence as a great singer. I can only say that, for myself, I am grateful to my friends and family who have stuck by me during the past year of growth (I often use another word to describe last year, but we’ll leave it be for now…). I have learned that I have people I can call at any time if I’m scared, nervous, lonely, sad – and I can call them when I’m happy, excited, feeling silly. I am so blessed.

My family, all of them around the country. JD and ND, MP and PDB, CLR, CT the DT, MP, KG, LW, KW, all my blog friends, my new Wolf Trap buddies and Met colleagues. You are my lifelines. I am grateful that you are there, and even more grateful that I have learned how to use you. I am learning to be a lifeline, too, and I am honored every time you call on me.

We’re not all alone in this business, or any business, but we have to reach out, to look, to open our eyes. We have to ask for help. My heart aches for Mr. Hadley, and for all those who feel they are alone. Reach out to someone today, even if it’s only a smile or a small random act of kindness. You’ll never know how much it can help.


Singin'rin said...

Yes. Be grateful, count our blessing, and, (I am starting to believe in this more and more): Have something ELSE that we love, beside singing, in which we could find support and satisfaction. (oh, and livelihood), just in case.

MCR said...

kwnACB - PMCR in Santa Fe here. I was updating my blog ( most of today and decided to check in and see how you were doing. I do follow you and recall my psychic friend LO predicted in the summer of 2005, when she met you, that you would be in a magazine and have a successful career. 2 for 2, I would say.

I was so sad to see the article about Jerry. Last he and I worked was the 1991 Cosi (with Vanness, Troyanos, and Hampson). What a bright, sweet, funny man is Jerry. I began to think about what a career that lands one at the Met can do - positive and negative.

I think that I wanted to leave on my own terms at the top of my game there when I saw that the Illusion of the Opera (so right on the stage) can impair one's life if it slips over the boundary into your personna and you believe that is all you are. The stakes become higher and the ability to just be who you are becomes more difficult with every review, every new production, every new role.

If a secretary loses a job or is out of work - she gets another job. The NY Times doesn't report it and she can eat a pint of ice cream and go to another agency. Not so in the world of Opera.

We need to cultivate other parts of ourselves in a world set apart like the ARTS. We need to know we are people and that financial disaster, while it may be difficult, can be handled. We need to know that a "comeback" is not really that. It is merely a new stage of one's life. It is NOT that you failed and somehow you are now invited back into the ranks of the successful.

We forget we have the choice and power in our lives to choose what we do. We can garden, read, write, work at some other type of job, teach, downsize, go bankrupt, perform again, and all that makes us richer as people and staves off the draw to the Illusion of the artform that can never be right in any man's life. It can only live in the moment on the stage and it cannot live without a real person willing it into being.

Valerie said...

How sad- thanks for drawing my attention to the article, ACB. I heard Jerry Hadley once in London, and thought he was a fabulous artist.
What I found curious about the NYT article was the assumption everyone seemed to be making that because he was singing well and probably due for a comeback, that it was odd that he should be depressed. As if having success in one's career is everything. It's important, but it's not everything, as I think MCR implies. And it can be very dangerous if it DOES become everything.

Scatterbrained Seal said...

That article scares me b/c I know I cam slip if I don't get help soon, even if I think my issues are minor. I'm heartened, though, b/c you are MY lifeline. The Tuesday before last was proof enough of that fact. I'm glad you're there for me and can give me the advice I need to hear, even if it's not what I necessarily want to hear. :)

DJA said...

Those of us in the jazz community have recently suffered a similar loss, with the suicide of drummer Take Toriyama. If anything worthwhile comes of such tragedies, I hope they will serve as a forceful reminder that we need to constantly remind our friends and colleagues that we are there for them, in good times and in bad.

YL said...

you writing in this post reminds me again of the joy you bring to my life. love you lots

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