Friday, April 3, 2009

Why Shouldn't We Talk Shop?

We’re currently in rehearsals for André Previn’s Brief Encounter which HGO will introduce to the world for the first time on May 1st. Besides having a blast (and no life outside rehearsal room 2), the experience of rehearsing a completely new work on this scale is proving to be one of the most demanding, exciting, and consequently rewarding musical journeys ever for me.

I am constantly grateful to be surrounded by unbelievable talent at Houston Grand Opera. This opera could not have asked for better cast members or leadership.

On the lighter side, working on this piece so far has taught me a deeper appreciation for the following things:

1. Masterpiece Theatre.
2. Tea, and the endless varieties thereof.
3. The importance of not sounding like a complete waffle-mouth while trying to replicate an authentic British accent.

On the not-so-lighter side, this experience so far has taught me the value of:

1. Taking a chance to love music that only a handful of people in this world have heard.
2. The mental and professional rewards of excruciatingly meticulous score study.

And on a much more personal level, living with this piece (which deals with the testing of relationships) has either taught or reminded me of the following things:

1. Relationships are and will always be the bedrock of our happiness and character. All the high-speed internet, yoga, HDTV, fashion, and fancy cars in the world cannot change this.
2. We are not nearly as good at nurturing those relationships as we think we are.
3. There is always something to be learned from how other cultures view relationships – even if that culture happens to speak the same language.

I’m not sure if everyone who listens to this piece for the first time will take away the same things as I have already – often times the experience of the person working or performing on the show and the person listening to it are completely different.

No matter. All the care, laughs, love, and discovery it takes to put on a new show – it’s what we like the most, isn’t it?

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