Sunday, November 07, 2004

I Feel Good (I Knew That I Would)

I feel great.

I feel tired.

I feel emotionally and physically exhausted.

You wanna know why? Huh? Huh? You wanna know? You wanna know? Huh?

Well I'll tell you. First of all, I'm really proud of myself. I did a really good job. But let me start at the beginning.

For a while now I've been taking part in an opera workshop. The performance was this afternoon, and rehearsals have been pretty brutal lately, in the sense that we've felt the pressure and we've had a lot of long practices. We had rehearsal on Thursday, which went well, but I still don't think we felt completely ready.

Dress rehearsal was Friday. One of my knitty friends, Susan, came, and that was wonderful. I'm so glad I got to see her; she'd been out of town and her cat had to be put to sleep, and it was just cool to have her there. She said that I sing as well as I knit, which I decided to take as a double compliment! It's like the chicken and the egg. :)

At this rehearsal we went through our individual arias for the first time. Most of us had them memorized, and I had mine almost memorized, but not quite. I decided to use my music for the rehearsal so that I wouldn't waste everyone's time (especially our accompanist's, who is a GENIUS). About two pages in, my voice teacher took my music away from me. I was pretty mad. If it was just her I wouldn't have been upset, but I proceeded to screw up, of course, and I am kind of a "newbie" in the group and everyone thinks I'm about 10 years younger than I am, so I really hate it when I get what I call "pity applause". You know what I'm talking about - that applause you give to children, or to people who haven't done real well, but you applaud that they tried. I hate that. I hate when the bar marking success is lowered because "it's her first...." or "she's young" or whatever. I want to have the same standard that everyone else has, and so I feel like I have to work really hard to earn their respect, so that they can expect me to reach the same bar they do, and screwing up my piece is not the way to do it. Anyway, it wasn't a good scene, and I felt really humiliated and very frustrated. The rest of rehearsal went all right, but I wanted to go to Target on the way home, and I was so upset about the whole thing I didn't even realize how late it was until I actually got almost to Target and looked at the clock in the car behind the 3-day-old Starbuck's cup to see "9:55". Damn. Oh well.

Saturday. Headache. Work at Knitorious. Work is always a ton of fun, even with a headache. Sandy, bless her heart, offered to order some yarn for me for one of the sweaters in the new Interweave Knits. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights. Images of my current projects, the projects I have waiting, every other project that I want to make that she already has the yarn for, and every bill that I have to pay along with Christmas coming up, and the $300 trip to Minneapolis for my Grandmother's birthday flashed before my eyes. I was highly conflicted, but restraint reared its ugly head and I'm still under control. Whew. That was close. But we showed the thrummed mitten to everyone who came into the store, and they all loved it. It really is cool. If you get a chance to put your hand in a thrummed mitten, do it.

I got home after a little shopping (I needed shoes to go with the dress I was wearing for the opera because the ones I had were ruined; I found some very cute and cheap pink flats at Payless. I'm not proud.) I took some of the magic I call "Excedrin Migraine Formula" (which is like bonging two cups of coffee), and a nap. I woke up around 5:30, and started practicing. I didn't stop until after 7:30. I still didn't feel totally ready, but you can only sing for so long without hurting yourself, so I had to stop. I watched "Psycho" for the first time (I've been working my way through the AFI's top 100 Films.) And I watched the "making of" documentary, which had me up until after 1:00, but I got a lot of knitting done:

Look, 7/8 done!

Then I tried to go to sleep. And I ran through the words to my song again, and got frustrated, and tried to see if I could explain the translation without reading it (I couldn't) and ended up getting up to get my book, and my heart was just pounding, and I couldn't get comfortable and calm down enough to sleep (never mind the three glasses of homemade wine I had). It was 3:00 a.m. before I finally calmed down and fell asleep. Excedrin Magic Formula is great, and I'd rather lose sleep than have to drill a hole in my head to let the demons out, but at 3 a.m. it sucks.

7:00 a.m came pretty quickly. But I got up and went to church (early service no less!) and stopped at the grocery store on the way home. I still needed to make cookies for the after-performance potluck, and I needed to rehearse some more! AND I wanted to go check out an Art Fair that I might want to take part in. Call was at 3:30. Somehow I squeezed it all in.

And then the performance went great. My friends Colleen and Jenn were there, which was a surprise. I was so excited to see them even if it made me more nervous. I can't really express how much it meant to me that friends of mine would come out and see me. It was wonderful to share. I feel like my singing is something that's hard to share with others, but I want to share and that's really the end goal, so when they come it's not just supporting me but helping me to achieve what I want to achieve with all of this hard work. For example, the aria I sang I have been working on for six months. It sounds like it's easy for me now, but it took a lot of practice to get it to that point. I don't think I did a good job of expressing my appreciation to them because I can't really put it into words, and if I could I would probably cry and make a scene. So, Susan, Colleen, and Jenn, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I really can't communicate what it meant to me.

In peforming said aria, I was nervous, and my voice teacher could tell, but no one else would admit to it. And then I sang the part of Patience in a little scene, which the audience really liked. They thought it was hilarious. I can't wait to see the tape, because the ladies I did the scene with were a riot as far as I could tell. They were supposed to be ladies "in love" who were weeping and sad, and Patience didn't understand why they would be so sad if love was supposed to be such a great thing to have. The only problem we had was bowing. We discussed that I was going to walk off, and then come back to bow, but we didn't practice actually bowing, so not everyone bowed at once, and it was a disaster. Oh well. At dress rehearsal my voice teacher said that I was so good at Patience it made her want to do the whole opera just so I could play her. I think that's one of the coolest compliments I've ever gotten.

After a five minute "intermission" we came back and did Trial by Jury. Well, the audience laughed when they were supposed to laugh, and we made it through in one piece, more or less. Many mistakes were made, but most probably were not visible to the audience, we had just never actually done it straight through and I think we were all ready to have it done with. It was a great experience, and we had a lot of fun, and I got to know a lot of people better than I had before, but it was good to have it done with.

Afterwards we had a potluck at my teacher's house, and I just felt like a star. Everyone kept telling me how great I was, and I pretty much just soaked it all up. After being so upset on Saturday (drinking wine to calm down enough to stop crying so I could sing) I was ready to soak up a little adoration. And I don't feel like there were any compliments-of-obligation. I think everyone was sincere. I was just so overwhelmed. I felt like everyone did such a great job. I don't think I even told anyone because no one really stood out to me as better than anyone else - everyone was just so great! And I'm so shy sometimes. It's a lot easier to accept accolades than to give them, and I don't feel like I'm a very good judge. Food, now that is something I'll critique, but I still feel like I don't know anything about singing. Anyway, I felt like I legitimately did a good job, not just a good job considering I didn't know the words on Friday.

Maybe now I can sleep?


Gwen said...

I'm so sorry I wasn't able to come!! :-( I'm very happy that it went so well!!


Teri said...

Sounds really great, I wish I could have been there. From my years in theatre I can tell you...always rehearse a curtain call. But it sounds like you were great...especially if your singing is on par with your knitting. Because you are an awesome knitter. (You technical advisor, you)


Jenn said...

Kudos - my hat's off to you because you have more guts than I think I'll every have, especially when it comes to singing. It was such a nice time on Sunday...a very welcome break to what had been a rather aggravating and stressful week! I especially wanted to come after reading the premise of Trial by Jury, plus I have to admit, I was very curious to hear how your voice has matured since you've been so involved with all of your singing opportunities. I'm very glad Colleen and I were able to share this with you.