How appropriate that the full title of Beaumarchais’ play, the basis for Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, begins with La Folle Journée, “A Crazy Day.” Although my day wasn’t quite as crazy as Susanna’s, it definitely stands out as one of the craziest days I’ve had in a while!
I had really been looking forward to this concert, not only because I was excited to sing some more Mozart, but also because Baritone Boy was going to be Figaro to my Susanna. Can you believe this was only the third time we’ve shared a stage after being a couple for almost two years? It was even more special that this would be his first Figaro, my first Susanna, and our first Figaranna together.
The morning was calm and gave no hints of what was to come. Baritone Boy made breakfast, and I curled my hair. We got to the venue at 12:30, and the concert was starting at 2:00 PM. Our schedules had listed the The Magic Flute first, a 15 minute set, followed by Le nozze di Figaro, 1 hour and 10 minutes. I changed into my gown, took my cough medicine, and we talked with the other singers and even took some pictures:
Then we found out from the Magic Flute cast that their set was 1 hour and 20 minutes long.
This was 1 hour and 5 minutes more than what the schedule had listed. It meant that instead of finishing at 3:30, our set was starting at 3:30, which posed an enormous problem because Baritone Boy and I both had counted on leaving at 3:30: he had to get to Jersey City to cantor mass, and I had to make the tail-end of the Mozart Requiem dress rehearsal.
After an initial three minutes of confusion, disbelief, and confirmation that this was actually happening, Baritone Boy started making calls and sending texts to his music director and to possible subs, and I called the director of the Cornerstone Chorale to explain the situation. Attendance at the Cornerstone Chorale dress rehearsal was mandatory to sing in the performance, but the dress rehearsal would be over by the time Figaro wrapped up – what could I do?
I didn’t want to leave and not sing Susanna — I’d worked hard and didn’t want to leave the rest of the group in a lurch — but I also didn’t think it was right to flake out on Cornerstone Chorale. At my audition, the director had asked if I could really commit to the group’s projects if I was also auditioning and involved in other performances. I’d said yes, of course, with every intention of keeping my word … and the irony of potentially missing this dress rehearsal and being disqualified from the Sunday concert was immense.
Since there was no way for me to go to the second half of rehearsal, the music director asked me to come up to the rehearsal as soon as possible and to stay for as long as I could before going back down for Figaro. So I jumped into a cab to rush up to Washington Heights, which felt worlds away:
I made it to the rehearsal (and got a text from Baritone Boy that he had managed to find a sub):
Stayed about 30 minutes and then ran three blocks to find a cab to take me back to 96th St:
Oh, did I mention New York City also decided today was the perfect day to rain and briefly hail? At least I had this gentleman to help me out:
I got back in time to freshen up my make-up, eat a cheese danish, re-center, and then we were up. My voice held up nicely, and I didn’t feel I was pushing to sing through the lingering cold or to be heard in the hall. Baritone Boy usually acts as my ears in the audience, but today we were on stage together – from his spot next to me, he said I sounded fine, if a bit cautious in the first number. I wasn’t consciously holding back, but it may have been a combination of a bumpy start (we couldn’t actually see the conductor/pianist) and my chords not being fully recovered yet.
There was a good-sized crowd, and they really enjoyed the performance. A few audience members stopped to chat with us afterwards, and I know they could at least hear me. Baritone Boy and I even received a few comments about being a good on-stage couple! It was a roller-coaster of a day, but we walked away happy, relieved, and quite pleased with ourselves for pulling it off.
Of course, there was only one way to properly reward ourselves and decompress from the craziness: Boba!!
And now it’s time to get back to preparing for the other two big events on the horizon. Musical Merit is at the end of May, and I leave for Astoria in exactly one month!
To give myself the opportunity to perform my Musical Merit rep at least once in a setting other than my living room or my teacher’s studio, I’m giving a recital at the church where Cornerstone Chorale rehearses and is ensemble in residence. The church was very generous to allow me the use of their space, and that recital is in one week, Sunday, May 18th. I better get to work!