Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Little Voices

This started out as an email to a friend, but got much too convoluted, and decided it had better be a blog post instead. Well, my friend will read it...

I went in this evening for an audition for the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus, right? And I was in for just long enough to sing my two arias (actually, a Schubert art song and an aria from the Bach Magnificat in D) and be told thank you, we'll be sending emails to everyone who auditioned on September 12, and go on my way. Feeling awful - do not feel bad about this, okay? Because it's fine, that's just how I felt as I was leaving - and I was completely, 100% sure that I sucked. With a capital S and hey, what the hell, a capital UCKED thrown in for good measure. Perhaps I even bit. Nibbled, if you will.

And it's got me to thinking about how impossible it is to judge yourself. Not only in this. Tonight I have chemicals coursing through my brain - all natural, biological ones, I'll have you know - but don't think you can't get royally fucked up on adrenaline and endorphines and I don't know what all else goes rampaging through your system when you've really built something up into a big deal. Do you know, I've dreamed of being an opera singer all my life, and like many other things I've desperately wanted, I've avoided pursuing it because to try and fail is such a shattering prospect. Longing for something unattainable, from afar, is easy.

Mind you, I never intended to be some low-ranking singer, some chorister, some foot soldier. I was going to be the real thing, a prima donna, a grande dame, a diva! All, in short, or nothing at all. So the idea of trying out for a third-tier (sorry Austin, you know I love you) opera company's chorus, and not being good enough, kind of shakes to the foundations of the foundations, everything I ever wanted to believe about myself, ever since infancy, really. I coulda been somebody. I coulda been a contender! Or not.

I went in tonight, and I sang. I did not do nearly as badly as I should have, either, for as little preparation as I did. My voice didn't crack on the high notes (it did, in practice). I sang two pieces today with accompaniment for the first time, from memory, without looking at the music, and I made only one slip in the second aria - picked up quickly enough, and went on. Stage presence I emphatically did NOT have, and they are looking for that. I was extremely and obviously nervous. My voice is not unpretty, but I bet there are a lot of not-unpretty voices auditioning for Chorus spots. Austin isn't at all short on musical talent. (Does that make up for the third-tier remark?)

I don't really know how I did. Probably not as badly as I thought I did. Or maybe not as well. It's a bit shocking how little position I'm in to be able to say. But it doesn't matter - I wouldn't have done this at all, except that a friend strongly encouraged me to, and even if I did indeed suck as badly as I'm scared I might have, my friend has done something that's brought my perceptions and actions a little more closely in line with whatever reality might happen to be.

This is actually not an insignificant gift. It's just that if I didn't suck as much as I think I may have, the wrapping is prettier.

But actually I feel pretty good about the whole thing, now, either way. Maybe it's the wine I'm sipping on. Helps out the endorphines.

Labels: , , ,