I have a terrible habit of being awed by talented people.
People who’ve honed their skills, poured their hearts into their craft, and
continue to do so for the benefit of their communities just leave me a little dazzled. Witnessing the embodiment of such passion blows me away, instantly transforming me from a chatterbox into a shy wallflower.
So when the cast of The Magic Flute arrived on Monday, I found myself a little
shy. After all, they've sung all over the world in incredible roles. Even when
they yawn it sounds pretty. I kid you not. David Schnell, our scheming Monostatos for this production, was walking by my office
and yawned, and it had a definitive pitch.
When I yawn I sound like a hippo.
Each show we celebrate the cast’s arrival with a lunch with
board members, donors, the staff, and the newly arrived singers. I ended up at a table that included music director Ben
Makino and his lovely girlfriend Sarah, rehearsal pianist Michael Sakir,
director Alison Moritz, and our photo documentarian Joey Miller.
Sarah jokingly bemoaned southerners confusing her California
necklace with Florida, Alison told us of her joyful realization that one could
be an opera director for a career, and people quickly found weird connections,
like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, but opera style.
And then we turned to talk of favorite eateries. Favorite local
barbecue restaurants and cupcake bakeries from across the nation became the
center of conversation. Food was the great equalizer. After all, everybody eats
and everybody has favorites, be it a music director, a board chair, or a
marketing and outreach associate. The conversation zipped from fried chicken to favorite downtown spots to cocktails. I found myself laughing as people zealously defended their personal favorites.
As we indulged in pieces of Coletta’s
strawberry cake, the decadent batter loaded with strawberries, I realized that
at the end of the day we’re all just people, people who eat, and who laugh, and who love opera. Thank goodness for strawberry cake, for laughter, for a sense of shared humanity, and for the strange and wonderful ways the arts create community - for both people who can and can't yawn in key.