How I Did It
That's just a hilarious statement... "How I did it."
Well -I mean- I think you do it really by doing it. By learning as you go.
(*caveat, you have to get the part first*)
Going from gig to gig from last year's "The Invention of Morel" at Chicago Opera Theater to this year's Morel at Long Beach Opera presented me so much valuable experience as an opera singer. From preparation to travel, from practice to performance to interacting with colleagues and conductors, my brain picked up all of this info and left me a better performer and even a better person.
The season started for me in 2016, where at the end of the year I was asked to jump into the final Morel workshop and went to Mid December 2017 and then extended into this 2018 show.
From then until now I had few breaks and felt really under the gun to learn all my music while in another show or doing auditions in tiny breaks in my schedule. I'd fly red-eye to NYC in between rehearsals or between shows. I'd do shows in between performances of another performance...
On multiple occasions I'd find myself pacing the streets of some unknown town going through my words again, and again. ...Singing "Poor Jud is Daid" along the broken sidewalks of Charleston, SC at 2am was one of my favorite moments.
This is NO complaint, really. I treasure this time in my life.
Working with different conductors and stage directors was also a thrill. From one I'd get carte blanche to try anything, with tiny comments about a gesture here, or there. At other times, the specific detail of making a move on say, page 237, line three, measure two I'd be asked to respect a 16th rest (often-very tiny moment), or an entire scene would be choreographed to the specific measure... Sometimes my character would be amplified by a staging and other times my character would be directed to kind of disappear.
Each direction and discussion of my characters' lives helped me learn a little bit more about BEING on the stage.
By the time I had gone full circle back to Morel, I felt I could play him in so many different ways. What we settled on was far removed from what we started with. Only a couple blocking notes remained from Chicago to Long Beach, a kind of homage to the other production.
I always felt like I belonged on the stage. But now I feel more at home. A veteran who knows what move to make to take the stage and also what step to take to give the stage to a colleague. It's really all about the story.