Saturday, December 11, 2010

'Tis the season to be germy...

Flu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu!  For most people, this season is filled carolers singing, chestnuts over a fire, and daily cold weather reports.  For singers, there are coloraturas singing everywhere, vocal cords over a steamer, and daily phlegm reports.  Holiday stress to us is about cramming in auditions, church gigs, and opera rehearsals on top of the typical holiday stressors of shopping, traveling, and overindulging.  The most wonderful time of the year indeed.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m bah humbugging because I am actually very pleased to be spread thinner than sugar cookie dough.  I’d much rather be overwhelmed than bored, because it means I am blessed with the greatest gift an artist can wish for…work.  I am currently involved with the world premiere production of Thomas Pasatieri’s Christmas opera, God Bless Us Everyone, at Dicapo Opera Theatre.  I am doing double-duty as a member of the ensemble and a cover for one of the soprano roles.  It is very interesting to be in an opera this time of year, when everyone in the cast is battling the germs that spread faster than holiday cheer.  Cast members have to scrub in and out like surgeons at rehearsal.  As an understudy, performing during flu season feeds me with the slight hope that I may have the opportunity to sing in a rehearsal or performance, but only if I keep myself healthy while other cast members succumb to the plague du jour.  We just got our costume hoop skirts in for rehearsals, so now I feel slightly protected by my massive Civil War-era force field.  Still, spending the mornings singing auditions, afternoons in cover rehearsals, and evenings in run-throughs can be vocally and physically exhausting.  In order to keep my body fueled and healthy, visions of sugarplums are replaced with foods that are high in protein and vitamins that travel well to and from the theater.  Candy canes replaced with cough drops.  Santa’s cookies and milk replaced with throat coat and honey.  But the reward of performing and using my voice to bring holiday spirit to audiences far outweighs the value of five gold rings. 

So, if you happen to be in New York December 16-19, please stop by Dicapo Opera Theatre for one of the evening shows or Opera for Kids matinees and enjoy a new spin on a Dickens classic.  And to all of you, even those pesky flu germs out there, God Bless Us, Everyone!

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