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Thoughts from the Opera Pit:

September 8, 2008 at 3:49 AM

We have begun final rehearsals for a performance of Die Fledermaus which runs later this week. As usual, I am far too busy in the pit (and seated with my back partially to the stage anyway) to see much of anything that is going on. This is a larger frustration than usual, as my 17-yr. old daughter is on the stage, in the chorus. I'm frustrated that I'll see so little of her debut in an opera. She will be playing the Csardas on her violin from the stage in the party scene though.... I just may have to peek one night.

I wonder how many shows I've seen little bits and pieces of from the pit, without having any idea of what is really going on on-stage. Musicals, operas.... everything from the Anastasia ballet to Annie are imprinted in my brain only as partial images, with giant holes in the action.

I am a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to instruments. (I play several at a fairly competent level, but I'll never be a touring soloist on any of them :). I play well enough that I did get hired by my local orchestra to play for Anne Murray last year when they hired the string section locally (though the individual mic velcroed behind the bridge was a bit of a shock!) but I am totally an ensemble musician, a team player.

Last year I played woodwinds (clar., sax and flute) when we did Annie, then viola for Magic flute. The 'applied flexibility' comes from being in a small area and working at an arts school. I know I'll be in the pit, the question is, which section? What do we need?

For this show, after attending one rehearsal on 2nd violin, I've been switched, and am now the viola section. :) There are some benefits to being flexible, but for the last 2 shows, I've not known until the last possible minute what I'm playing. That decision tends to wait to see where there is a hole that I am able to fill, though violin is the default setting.

It's kind of fun, the not knowing. Hmmm...clarinet or violin?? Because the viola parts are easy in this show, there is no stress to the last minute-ness of the decision to switch me. But, because I am the entire viola section, I don't know that I see it very likely that I can sit out a song and turn around and watch my girl. That's a bummer....

Still, fun to be able to do things like this with my daughter, especially with it being her last year at home. We open on will be a very busy week. :):)

As an adult beginner, I still have to stop and remind myself occasionally how awesome it is that I get to make my entire living with music. Be careful what you wish may come true exponentially!!

From Tom Holzman
Posted on September 8, 2008 at 7:37 PM
How exciting! Good luck.

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