I am sitting in Houston Intercontinental Airport, hot, humid, and sweaty, with a stiff right shoulder from lugging about 10 pounds of carry-on luggage through the speckled-white halls of the Continental terminal. I’m a little tired from not getting quite enough sleep last night after a nice dinner with the cast after our final show last night. For the first time in over 5 years, I don’t know the next time I will be coming back down here.
After the show last night, I said some good-byes to the people who were in the audience: some guild members who have been so generous with their time and resources, Amanda – the incredible woman who has cut my hair for the last almost 6 years, as well as some of the staff at HGO who have become friends over the years. I also was greeted and congratulated by a some of the fresh-faced singers who have just arrived for the semi-finals of the Eleanor McCollum Competition – the competition from which the opera finds the singers who populate the Houston Grand Opera Studio. As I ended a chapter of my life down here, I wished these other young singers the best of luck for this week that could possibly be the beginning of a new, exciting, tumultuous, and Southern chapter for them. In a way, I felt like I saw a snapshot of myself from this time of year in 2002, nervous, excited, eager, awestruck, fiercely ambitious and full of unbelievable hope.
As is always the case as the end of any sojourn nears, I was unable to say my goodbyes to some loved ones who have become incredible and close friends over our years down here, but I take solace in my faith that I will see these people again sometime soon, either on vacation or when they visit New York. That’s the beauty of being a renewed New Yorker – people will always come to visit.
It’s been an incredible time here – as I did while I was in the Studio, I learned a great deal about stagecraft, Mozart, singing, and myself here as we tried to escape from Turkey/the Orient Express these past weeks. I consider myself so fortunate to have had this opportunity and this chance to properly say goodbye to my life for these past years in Houston.
Now, I turn the next page and begin a new chapter that begins with me returning my new home that I worked so hard to put together in September and haven’t seen for the past four months. It’s time to get settled anew and take the next steps forward. My first step will be to finally buy some curtains for our bedroom.