Saturday, November 25, 2006

The First Poppea

At the end of the final dress rehearsal on Wednesday night, the cast assembled for the curtain call in a rush of quick-changes and a frantic effort to get into the proper order in the dark. The lights came back up on stage, and we traipsed out in order, joined hands, and took a company bow. As I looked down the line of colleagues on either side of me, I smiled and felt my heart rush for just an instant as I realized that I was taking a bow with so many of the musicians I have looked up to all of these years and who have been heroes to me in so many ways.

This experience in Los Angeles has been one that I have been looking forward to for almost a year now – mostly because it is my first opportunity to sing this music that I love so much (this is my first foray into the realm of Monteverdi), but also because of the cast and team that are involved. I have looked up to these people for years. I own these people’s CDs and have listened to them countless times. I have seen these people perform and marveled at their ability to tell stories and share the essence of what it is to be human with their voice. I have marveled at their ability to bare their soul and create stunning moments of beauty. Now, I am here, creating right along with them.

As I prepare for the opening performance tonight, I am reflecting on how humbling and inspiring these past few weeks have been for me, and how honored I am to share the stage with these colleagues tonight and through the rest of the run.

3 comments:

Lou said...

Nick! the opera was absolutely wonderful. I've never enjoyed an opera so much, in part due to my younger, less mature self. You were spectacular and I got all giddy every time u came on stage. I'm so glad I got to see you perform, it's all too rare for me.

Janet P. said...

I hope the opening night went well. I’ve only seen one review so far, but it was quite ecstatic. I wish I could have been there. It sounds like a dream cast, and I can only imagine how intensely exciting the performance would be if everything caught fire. Your description, “I have seen these people perform and marveled at their ability to tell stories and share the essence of what it is to be human with their voice,” is very moving, and one of the reasons I’ve become a regular reader of this blog. It’s the kind of thing most people are afraid to say (not that most of us could put it into words this well anyway) for fear of sounding too earnest—and it’s so absolutely on the mark. I’d love to read more about what it’s like working on and being part of a production like this.

WQXR was actually broadcasting a performance of Poppea on Saturday, and I thought for a minute maybe it was the LA production, but no such luck, although there was some cast overlap.

nick said...

Again, thank you for your kind words about the blog, Janet - they are much appreciated. It was such an interesting experience working on this production with these colleagues. The most interesting aspect of it all is feeling so humbled to be in the presence of such great artists and singers, yet at the same time being aware of how far along I've come. It's sort of this moment of "wow, I have so much to learn, yet, at the same time, I've acheived a level at which I get to realize a dream." It's very inspring, exciting, and intimidating all at once.

I believe that the WQXR broadcast of Poppea was the one from Houston Grand Opera, which did have some cast overlap. One other item of note about it was that Jeremy (my other half that I gush about on here all the time) was on the music staff of that production. So, Poppea has been a part of both our musical lives for a large chunk of this year. It's a small world...