Not curing cancer

As soon as I got back into town I was off and running, with three auditions in three days. I was grateful for the distraction since coming off gigs can be a little difficult for me emotionally unless I have something else to focus my attentions on. Two out of the three auditions went quite well, but on the second day, I decided to throw caution to the wind and start with an aria I’d never really sung in public before just to see what happened. I didn’t crash and burn, but I certainly hadn’t ironed out all the kinks, so I don’t feel like I knocked their socks off. Auditions are such a crapshoot anyway, I figured I might as well take a risk and see if this new aria was a better starter than the one I’ve been starting with for years. Turns out it’s not. Good to know. The best news about the auditions was that I was employing my new relaxed shoulders and upper body high note technique, and it totally worked every time. I actually wanted the panel to ask for my arias with the high notes in them!

I have this funny habit of trying to crack jokes and make conversations with the panelists. I know I’m not the only one who does this because my friend Georgia has told me a lot of funny things she’s said to panelists before – I kind of feel like doing a little stand up comedy routine before I sing to lighten to mood. Also, the panel has always been hearing singers non-stop for hours, which can cloud anyone’s brain, so I feel compelled in this tourettes sort of way to say weird things. My standard cracks usually have to do with the fact that I shouldn’t have worn a dress to sing all these boy parts, or “wow – I got to play two women in a row – how unusual!” Yeah, not funny at all, I know. But this is why I’m an opera singer and not a comedian. Once I jokingly offered to tap dance when they couldn’t decide on a second aria. Wow – I’m really not funny. How embarrassing for me.

On the second day of auditions, somebody remarked to my agent that he was dressed casually, and he replied, “well, it’s just an audition – it’s not like I’m curing cancer or something.” Fast forward to the next day, when I was warming up for my daily audition. I was staying with a friend for a few days while I waited for my subletters to clear out, and the friend I stayed with happens to be an oncologist who works at Sloan Kettering Hospital. She was working from home that day, and while I was singing “La la la la la la” she was fielding calls and emails about blood clots and hemoglobin and stuff. I thought of my agent’s remark from the previous day, and noted that she WAS in fact curing cancer while I was….singing arpeggios. I shared this with her, and she insisted, “what you do is just as important for people’s souls as what I do for their bodies.” I hope she’s right, because I think the two of us might have gone to school for the same number of years. Now she’s a doctor of medicine and I’m a wannabe comedian.