Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Future

A few days ago I was walking to rehearsal with one of my colleagues, chatting about music, opera, and “the business”. At one point as we were nearing the rehearsal space, he turned and looked at me with tired, sad eyes, and said, “Sometimes it’s hard not to think that this art form is dying a slow death that is painful to watch”.

Something that has struck me about my colleagues here in Atlanta is their passion for their work. One colleague was telling me about how she would arrive at her high school at 7:00 in the morning in order to participate in her high school band and choir. Another colleague told me one night over dinner about how when he was younger, he would run to the nearest Tower Records and buy as many opera recordings as he could during his rehearsal breaks while he was singing in an opera chorus out west. He still has them all, in his garage, alphabetized. I, myself, was in 3 choirs and 2 orchestras in high school, and have amassed a collection of recordings of Handel’s operas. As any singer can tell you, when our voices don’t work because of illness, we go stir crazy and sulk around our apartments, unable to sing the music that gets us out of bed in the morning. As we struggle to balance life, friends, spouses, finances, and families with our careers in music, we cannot tear ourselves away from classical music and opera because of this bug that bit us at some point in our lives, infecting us with an incurable passion and love for what we do.

On the walk to work a few days ago, I was saddened by not only the look in this singer’s eyes and tired sound in his voice, but also by his words. Ever the optimist, I feebly said, “I don’t know – I think we have a future.” I didn’t know how to respond, because I know a lot of people agree with him, even though I feel in my heart that it isn’t true. In that moment, I felt young and naïve.

Today, while wasting time online, procrastinating in my effort to find a place to live while I am in Los Angeles, I was relieved to stumble across this article in the Boston Globe by their classical music critic, who is apparently retiring after having written for the newspaper for 33 years. It’s reassuring when people can articulate your hopes in print. Things are, indeed, changing – as demonstrated by the Met’s opening ceremonies this week – but change is good and natural. I just can’t believe that this music that we love so much and have dedicated our lives to is going to disappear from our cultural landscape.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're right to be an optimist, love... Your hopeful energy keeps us other artists inspired and ready to communicate the timeless truth of our art to our audiences. Keep the faith,