Often, when on a gig, we as the “stars” of a show are called upon to entertain at various donor events around town: Opera Guild gatherings or Board dinners or the like. I have always enjoyed these evenings, finding them a delightful change of pace from the day-to-day life of rehearsals in jeans and performances in costumes. A nice dress, a nice dinner (usually accompanied by nice wine), and a chance to meet some of the people who make my work on the stage possible.
These evenings are most often gratis on our part, included in our contract and considered part of our job. “Outreach” to the already initiated, I guess you could say. And as such, it can sometimes feel like a duty, like an obligation.
But not tonight, not for me! I had such a wonderful time. Maybe I was just in the mood for a good party (it’s been a rough few weeks in the parts of my life that this blog doesn’t cover, hence the lack of blogging...), but a few hours of good food and great conversations really hit the spot. I sang for my supper, sure, but I even loved that part. I love singing for a small crowd in an intimate space like this; our venue was a gorgeous home in the Phoenix foothills and our “crowd” was about 80 Guild and Board members. I got to sing Quando men vo’ and the Pamina-Papagena duet and Yum-Yum’s beautiful aria... and then I got to end the set with my favorite party piece: Weill’s “The Saga of Jenny.” Now, to be fair, those of you who know me “IRL” will agree that I can be, well, a bit of a flirt, and this song is just one big flirt with the audience! I love to sing it, and it has always been well received.
It felt good to sing some other rep, and was great to listen to my Ko-Ko, the elegant ND, but the highlight of the evening was truly my lovely meal. The food was outstanding: perfectly cooked halibut with a tomato-olive sauve, and scalloped potatoes with white truffle oil and shitake mushrooms. DIVINE. (B was very disappointed that I couldn’t remember the wine we had! It was Chateau Something Chardonnay, 2005 maybe? That’s something, right?) My hosts and table companions were beyond delightful, with tales of first dates and lasting love, being at La Scala the night an unknown named Maria Callas made her debut as Norma, rescuing birds from the mouths of Siberian huskies, and even some good-natured attempts to fool the Englishman at the table with tales of the Jackelope. It was a true pleasure.
We were told that anyone who sings under a Saguaro cactus becomes an instantly adopted Arizonan. I don’t think I’d mind that one bit; maybe I’ll try to find one tomorrow...