Resident Artist – “The Show Must Go On”

by Aaron Blake
2010 TDO production of ANNA BOLENA

Aaron Blake with Oren Gradus in the 2010 ANNA BOLENA at TDO.

I am currently flying on an American Airlines Jet somewhere between New York’s La Guardia Airport and DFW.  All I can say is:  ‘how cool is it that we are able to send and receive emails, surf the net, log on to our netflix accounts and write blog entries all from 30,000 plus feet above the earth’s surface.  It’s my first time attempting high tech ventures while flying, and I’m completely impressed with the technology!  I feel like this is the PG version of joining the exclusive “mile high club”.

So much has happened since my last entry on the night of my debut with the Dallas Opera.  We are four performances in on the run of of Anna Bolena, and I’m happy to report that the production has continued to grow and the incredible cast of singers have continued to strive and push the envelope with the development of their characters.  If you haven’t been able to attend a performances of this Donizetti rarity yet, there are still two more performances that you can attend: Friday the 12th of November at 7:30 and a Sunday Matinee at 2:30.  I hope to see you there.  I’ll be the one dressed in red silk and chinchilla.

Our work as singing actors is never complete… so much has happened since the premier of Anna Bolena in just a short amount of time.  I’ve been preparing for the NorthPark Family Concert on this coming Saturday which has been a really fun project.  Amidst all the preparation I had the unique opportunity to speak with Jake Heggie about Greenhorn’s aria which I will be singing as the final aria on the concert.  He was very helpful as far as leading me in the direction of my interpretation for the piece and giving me back story and historical information, which is always helpful when you haven’t performed the complete role.  The remarkable tenor, Stephen Costello, one of my colleagues in Anna Bolena, and the originator of the role of Greenhorn last April in Dallas, has also worked with me.  It’s a pretty special experience to have prepared this aria with it’s creators.  An addition it’s also somewhat of an honor to perform this Moby-Dick selection as I will be only the second person to have performed it public.  It’s a fantastic piece of music that takes the listener on a tumultuous emotional roller coaster of self discovery and then brings you back to the comforts of home.

I bet you’re beginning to ask yourselves why did he title this episode ,”The Show Must Go On”?  Well, you’re about to find out!  As a young opera singer I’ve been very lucky to have never been confronted with a crisis during a performance, personally or collegial.  However, there is a first time for everything, and it was at last Saturday’s performance of Anna Bolena that one of the cast members experienced a medical emergency during the interval between Acts 1 & 2.  I was not sure what to expect or how these kinds of issues would be handled and I was very curious.  It turns out that they are handled with an air of calm and class both by the artist as well as the opera company.

Everyone, remains calm, decisions are made and executed and… “The Show Must Go On.”  This artist in particular set an extremely honorable example for me as a young singer, and continued with the performance despite the ailment.  What a courageous person.  This is not the only instance of this that I’ve encountered in the past week.

Last night I was watching Don Pasquale at the Met with Anna Netrebko, Mariusz Kwiechen, John Del Carlo, and Matthew Polenzani.  It was a charming production and it was such a pleasure to have Maestro Levine in the pit conduction.  There was yet another medical emergency last night which did not allow Maestro Levine to continue with the performance.  But again the situation was handled with grace and ease.  At the top of Act 3, Peter Gelb walked out on stage and calmly announced the replacement of Maestro Levine.   The new conductor took the podium and the production was completed as if nothing had happened.  There are many events that happen back stage, and behind the scenes in an opera house.   Whatever they may be you can rest assured that, “The Show Will Go On,”

Until the next time.
Aaron Blake

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