As I took my seat next to a fellow understudy, settling in to watch the opening of Ariodante on Sunday afternoon, it suddenly struck me how paradoxical a situation covering is. What is difficult about it is that covers must sit, be silent, watch, and be ready just in case. Having prepared for the job just like any other – studying, practicing, and coaching the music within an inch of its life – there is a significant part of you that wants to go on, that wants to sing. As a singer, the choice to do this as a profession was a choice made from our passion for music and performing – that fire still burns hot within us, even when we are the understudy.
At the same time, my colleagues on stage are the singers whose recordings I have listened to day in and day out for years, they are my heroes in whose steps I wish to follow. I look up to their artistry, musicianship, and passion as examples of how I want to be as a performer, musician, and singer. The opportunity to get paid to watch, listen, and learn from them is a gift. So, as much as I want to sing, I never could wish anyone ill, let alone these people that I respect and admire so much. I only want to watch my colleagues succeed, flourish, stay healthy, and make their magic on stage as they mesmerize the audience.