Hamburger Meat

Nope, not what I had for dinner, but what my throat feels like.

Yesterday, I had a blissfully free day from rehearsal, and managed to get lost in St Louis a record number of times. I didn't think it was physically possible for someone to take as many wrong turns as I did, but I did end up accidentally finding the mall, which, according to me, is always a priority.

And today was my "first day of school" - although we didn't have the traditional sing through with everybody, but instead had more of a work through, so we could hit all the difficult ensemble spots with the conductor once before the "official" sing through tomorrow. And why does my throat feel like hamburger meat? Well, mostly because this role is quite high and often rhythmic, and it's very difficult not to "count with your throat" when something is new in your voice. Plus we repeated all my sections several times, and I sang about 57 high B naturals and B flats. Then after my larynx was somewhere on the second floor of the building, I rehearsed the duet from Barber that I will sing at a donor event this week. So.... hamburger meat.

But wowie wow - I was SO impressed with a) the level of preparation from the cast, and b) what a fantastic group of voices they have assembled for this premiere! It's actually kind of astonishing. I was reminded of what excellent training we have here in the U.S., because to assemble such a large cast like this for an unusual work, and to have every single person sound like a million bucks is really something. American singers tend to have such strong techniques, and that was absolutely evident in today's rehearsal.

Another weird thing about today was that I realized that it was (gulp) 10 YEARS AGO that I was a young artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis!!! It was pretty much the only summer young artist program I ever did, and it was while I was still in school, but 10 YEARS???? I cannot believe both how quickly 10 years has gone by, and how much I have changed and grown since then. I'm trying to remember some of the guest artists who were singing in St Louis when I was a YAP here to imagine how the current YAPs might relate to me and my colleagues, but since I still FEEL like a young artist myself, I can't make sense of it in my brain. Add to that the fact that the General Director of the company is someone I became friends with before he ever had this position, and now he is for all intents and purposes, my boss, and let me tell you, this whole experience is making my brain feel like it's turning itself inside out. It's as if my entire life is flashing before my eyes, coming full circle, and reminding me that even though time passes, some things don't change. It may be 10 years later, but I'm still walking through a neighborhood in St Louis on a sunny day, making my way to the same theater, passing the same Starbucks, and the same neighborhood Pub. I'm saying hello to the same music director and the same artistic administrator, and attending the same company welcome party. And maybe the biggest miracle of all for anybody in this field; I'm still singing. Now that just might be worth celebrating.