With the in-between overnight flight and audition for Florida Grand Opera (in Miami), it was a really cool past couple of days at #LongBeachOpera, co-producers of #ChicagoOperaTheater production "The Invention of Morel" by Stewart Copeland and Jonathan Moore, the former being the drummer of The Police and the later being incredibly accomplished UK based director/actor/author/producer.
six years ago, driving across the country, I was trying to define my path. Rock, Jazz, Opera?
I was asking the same questions that I hear from you, you young singers. "Where do I go from here?" You graduated. you went in a direction you thought was best for you... maybe it was through a music degree, theater, even teaching or science and now you miss the stage.
Everything I have accomplished I made a plan for it. Not the kind of business plan that one makes to start a business per se, but more a philosophical game plan.
God, it's hard to fathom the number of people who I have talked to, who have helped, through short conversations at the coffee shoppes, to spending countless hours listening to me ramble on and then those who spent even more countless hours helping me work on my vision... by actually working on it.
At one point, being a hot, young opera singer, I felt the wicked burn of the business and politics of music. It stung to feel that for some the art was just business, that the art was rather a secondary function. I jumped ship, not wanting to be a part of that. BUT then just ricocheting into the even more competitive, strange and deliciously monstrous Music Business. Who could want that?!
Fast forward a decade and the experience of having sung at every level of the art, from trashy sticky-floored barrooms and taverns to gilded halls, built by those long gone from this earth by multitudes of generations, working with those who would have sooner paid me, then robbed me, to those who would have given me everything they had, gave me such perspective... and helped me choose a direction in the infinite gloam of expression, the performing arts.
It was my ultimate goal to introduce audiences to new operas.
I researched, I wrote and I tweeted about new opera. I interviewed people and companies and DREAMED of the day when I would/could possibly sing for them... not even knowing HOW that would come true. It was such an unfathomable dream.
There are countless words to write and people to thank, about HOW it happened that six years after declaring my passion for new opera I can boast a number of new roles, but there ain't nothing like being able to sing for two of the organizations that piqued my interest in the first place. Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.
I love rock and roll. And I love The Police. So when my manager Robert Mirshak told me I got cast as the title character in this opera, I fell-out!
This weekend I've had the privilege of working with Long Beach Opera and the composer as we painstakingly workshopped the piece in preparation for the premiere in Chicago. The singers, my friends and my favorite soprano Jamie Chamberlin as well as a crackerjack ORCHESTRA(!) sat down for twelve hours to hone and meditate on the inventing of "The Invention of Morel."
With interesting and cutting dialogue, soaring melodies and a driving percussion mixing rock and dance idioms, Copeland and Moore put together a work that I believe will turn the stage into an emotional train-ride. There's a drive and force behind Adolfo Bioy Casaras' words to the very hopeful and tastefully painful end.
No one will know the life hours spent on this work. It will seem effortless.
SO grateful to be a part of this ship.
Let's heat up Chicago!