Today in My History
Cast (updated 7/16)
FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH
November 13, 2020
Today is Friday the 13th. I'm not superstitious, and how could any day be worse than all of 2020 anyway. Today #45 is saying that he has proof that someone changed 2,000 ballots from Biden to Trump and he continues to file lawsuits, without evidence, but we hit an all time number of COVID cases and deaths today and he says not one word about that. We can't be rid of this man soon enough for me.
Ned and Walt were talking at dinner last night about a guy Ned had seen at the local hardware store, working as a clerk. I was shocked. This is a former classmate of Ned's who has gone into opera as a baritone and has had some pretty impressive roles in a host of operas. He has performed at leading opera houses throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Paris Opera (Bastille), Finland’s Savonlinna Festival, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, Fort Worth Opera, North Carolina Opera, Colorado Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera
[From Wikipedia: Squillo is the resonant, trumpet-like sound in the voices of opera singers. It is also commonly called "singer's formant", "ring", "ping", "core", and other terms. Squillo enables an essentially lyric tone to be heard over thick orchestrations, e.g. in late Verdi, Puccini and Strauss operas.]
And now he's working as a clerk in a hardware store in Davis. What the coronavirus has done to performers.
It is not uncommon for excellent performers to work at minor jobs in order to perform (though I haven't known any others who have done it because of a virus!). I remember an excellent bass who sang with, I think, the Davis Comic Opera Company. He commanded the stage whenever he appeared. And at night he was the janitor in a school.
Ya gotta find money to buy food so you can continue to sing!
I sometimes look at the people on stage in the shows that we see, in the days when we saw shows, and wondered what their lives off the stage were like.
I remember a soprano who performed here in Davis. She was amazing on stage and had all the lead rolls. She also worked for a shop here in town and when you greeted her in the shop and she was so shy she could barely speak. She kind of sunk into herself as if she was using her body to hide, when on stage she was very forceful. It was fascinating.
My friend sang with the Lamplighters for several years and was one of their lead sopranos. She worked as a secretary at UC Davis and performed in San Francisco. I became her chauffeur, driving her back and forth to rehearsals while she could sleep. I described it as arriving at the theater, pushing her onto the stage, watching her sparkle for a couple of hours and then loading her back into the car again so she could go to sleep. It got worse when she became pregnant. I would sometimes have to literally drag her to the car and speed down the highway in order to get her to the theater on time.
When you know stories like that it makes you appreciate even more what "acting" involves.
Think of Alex Trebek, who has recorded shows which will last until December 25. In his book, "The Answer Is..." he talks about his cancer treatments and how painful it often was, how he would have to take a break and lie down in his dressing room, and sometimes cry because of the pain. But it sure doesn't show a bit when he walks out on stage.
I remember a show that the Sunshine Children's Theater did, where Paul had the lead and for the final performance, he had an intestinal flu. But he did the show. At one point he had to lean out over the stage from a door high above the theater (it was supposed to be a tree) and they got a father to go up behind him to grab him in case he looked like he was feeling dizzy.
He actually did the whole show except the very end, when he had to run off stage and vomited on the director's foot. He had one closing line to make and Jeri spoke up and said "If [Paul's character] were here, he'd say...." and said it.
Theater is a strange life.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #7539