Anticipation | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Monday, December 07, 2009

Anticipation


In the Green Room



Months before the performance I spend time plunking my parts out on the piano--learning the words, figuring out where to breathe.  I listen to recordings of the famous singers performing the pieces.  Sometimes I ignore practicing and listening for days on end.

Weeks before the performance I (try to) spend an hour or so each day perfecting the music.  I hit problem spots and scary runs harder than the rest.  I work on technique and hope it is as solid as it can be without a teacher to guide me.

Days before the performance I really do insist on practicing at least an hour a day, if not more.  The Maestro practices with me often and really gets ticky about rhythms and tempi and even a little technique.  It's almost like having a teacher.  I rehearse with the orchestra a few times, and learn what I need to work on further at home.

One day before the performance I wake up with a sore throat and a voice that isn't working quite right.  I take it easy by napping, not singing at all, sipping hot tea with lemon and honey, sucking zinc lozenges and vitamin C and drinking Airborne.  And praying that my voice will last just one more day.  I rehearse with the choir and orchestra that evening, and I have to work very hard to get my sick vocal cords to obey me.  I begin to worry.

The morning of the performance I rehearse with the orchestra and choir yet again.  Things are still not working quite right.  The Maestro doesn't make me sing my most difficult aria (But Who May Abide?), but he does make me run through O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings because I struggle hearing the orchestra on it, and then second-guess where I am and get off.  The others are not too difficult vocally, but I'm still feeling a bit discouraged.

Hours before the performance  I nap.  I drink as much water as I possibly can.  I take a long, hot shower.  I spend an hour or more on my hair and my make-up, warming up as I blow dry, flat-iron, blush and mascara myself.

One hour before the performance  I am in the green room.  I dress in my gown, slide my shoes on and tweak my hair and make-up.  The Maestro finishes getting ready and we bow our heads and pray together, dedicating the performance to The Messiah himself.  Hoping that those in the audience will be touched by the music of Handel and that the spirit will deliver our performance to all that listen.

A half-hour before the performance I hear the choir warming up, so I join them.  Two of the other soloists had the same idea.  We comment on the weather, our gowns, and our anticipation for a good show.  Then we visit the bathroom one last time before heading to the stage.

Minutes before the performance I find a quiet place just before I go backstage.  I pray again that the time and effort I and the others have put into this performance will be enough.  I pray my voice will work correctly.  I leave it all in God's hands and open the stage door.

Seconds before the performance the Maestro meets us backstage.  The house lights go down.  The orchestra tunes, the audience claps.  The Maestro counts down and the four soloists head onstage, followed by our conductor.  The adrenaline begins to rush along with the applause.  The Maestro turns around and lifts his baton, we sit, and the first notes of the Overture fill our ears as his hand comes crashing down.

A little more than two hours passes by, but it seems like only a few minutes.  My eyes fill with tears as the final "Amen!" of Worthy is the Lamb rings through the hall.  We stand, we bow, we smile, we walk off the stage, we come back again, we smile, we nod, we applaud.

And we know it was all worth it.

35 comments :

  1. Gosh-I would've loved to hear you. Seems like you felt good about---yea! And I love your dress.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome. Wish I could see you perform sometime. You looked beautiful. I'm sure you sounded just as gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You look gorgeous, Lara! I'm certain (absolutely so) that your voice was just as gorgeous, if not more so. I wish I could have heard it myself.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That made me cry. :)

    You look wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You look amazing! I am grateful for your acknowledgement of the Lord's hand in your talent. I am glad that you had a wonderful experience. I just wish I could have heard it. . .

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love that picture of you...you look so great! I'm glad it worked out. Wish I could have been there!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I want to hear! What an adventure. It sounds like you did just right to make it all work out. So glad it was such a good experience.

    And HOW CUTE ARE YOU!?!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great photo. So much fun to read the process you go through to get ready. Sounds familiar.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm certain you sounded like an Angel, lara.

    And you looked like one too. A red one, but beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh my darling daughter! The one who didn't want to be a music major, YOU are sooooooo blessed and so are WE! That audience felt of the Spirit, even if they did't know it, and everyone who participated gave what we need most, recognition of "The Messiah" Himself! I Love you both!! (You look stunning, as usual! where did you get that beauty??? must be gramma!)

    ReplyDelete
  11. It is great to hear about your night! I thought of you as Ben & I were in the chorus of the Messiah the same night and again tonight. It's too bad we couldn't be doing it all in the same place at the same time!

    ReplyDelete
  12. PS--you look great and I LOVE the hair accent!

    ReplyDelete
  13. You look amazing and I am positive that you sounded amazing! Sounds like a ton of work! You are planting the seed in peoples hearts through your talents. Congratulations and take care!

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a beautiful experience ... thank you for sharing! And you look fantastic - love the mirror shot!!! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. That was so neat to read. I'm sorry you got sick! It sounds like it ended up okay, thank goodness. And you look beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I was with you every single minute {in spirit} and loved it all!

    {bowing to you, The Maestro, the orchestra...}

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ah, I wish I could have heard it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That was awesome, Lara. Made me feel like I was there. And you look beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  19. That must mean that your voice came through for you! So fun to have the play by play.
    Love your dress and i must say, you look so much like your mom in that picture!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I know you sounded beautiful! Wish I could have heard it.

    You looked beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh I bet it was fabulous! Doesn't it feel good to step back into the performance world?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  22. You are really beautiful. And I am sure your performance was just as beautiful. I wish I could have seen it. I'm glad it all went well for you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. what a vivid description of all these superb moments! you gave me a goose skin, really! amazing! the God's creation is in wonderful voices and gorgeous musicians!

    ReplyDelete
  24. You are a vision of loveliness! And I would have LOVED to have heard you perform.

    ReplyDelete
  25. You look beautiful! And you are so thin. You certainly do not need to exercise. I do not know The Messiah, but I will try to find a recording. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Makes my heart pound just reading it...

    I'm so so so glad it went well. Congratulations. I haven't listened to the Messiah yet this year, and I'm going to dig it out and think about you.

    HOORAY!!! You made it!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I liked this writing technique. I kept waiting for disaster though. Not because I wanted it, but I was worried it was coming. Glad you were able to perform. AND, you look oh-so-pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  28. It's obvious that you looked beautiful, and I wish I could have been there to hear how beautiful you sounded! Congratulations on a wonderful performance, Lara!

    ReplyDelete
  29. OH wow.

    That was suspenseful (in real life too, I'm sure!)

    I'm so glad it all worked out!

    (you looked beautiful)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Awh! I'm so glad it all worked out!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Beautiful! I wish I could have been there! I'm sure you were stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  32. That's it. I'm adding my favorite Messiah pieces to my Christmas playlist.

    ReplyDelete