Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Auditioning at The MET...

The Metropolitan Opera - the Mecca of Opera.  The cornerstone of Opera.  The A-list of Opera.  The Vatican of Opera.  The last stop on the Opera train.  

And ... I was invited to audition there.

Let me clarify right off the bat that I auditioned for The Metropolitan Opera Chorus.  It was not a mainstage audition.  BUT, I auditioned AT THE MET!

Just getting in the cab after my voice lesson and saying to the driver "I need to go to the Metropolitan Opera - and I need to enter through the south tunnel."  was enough to make most nervous singers faint.  But, I wasn't nervous.  I was excited.  I was excited with that breathless excitement.

When I arrived at the ChevronTexaco Gallery (outside List Hall), and saw the dark red carpeting, the pictures of performances past, the memorabilia cases - my breathless excitement turned into plain breathlessness.  

Stop.  Breathe.  Ground yourself in your breath.

I settled into my seat in the waiting area and forced myself to take a long, deep breath.

Not enough.  Another.  Then, another.  

I felt something amazing.  The air was filled with electricity.  Not the kind of electricity that makes you feel like you're getting shocked by the Crash Cart, but instead, the kind of electricity that makes you take flight.  The kind of electricity that makes you feel like your feet aren't touching the ground.  

Pause.  Breathe.  Drink in as much breath as you can.

Then, I felt it.  No excitement.  No nervousness.  No breathlessness.

Calm.  Peace.  Strength.

In all of my years of singing - I have never felt what I felt that day.  I was meant to be there in that moment.  It was my time to do what I have trained to do.  My job was to get out of the way and let my body do what I have asked it to do.  I want this job more that I can even express - but, I knew in that moment I had to be grateful for just that - being in the moment.  

For every second that ticked by, for every breath of that almost tangible electricity - I had to be thankful.  

There isn't any other full time job on this planet that would suit me more than to sing with The Metropolitan Opera Chorus.  Will I get the job?  I don't know.  But, what I know for sure is that I will forever have the memory of feeling what I felt on that day.

Calm.  Peace.  Strength.  Gratitude.  


Aimee said...

James - I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to sing for the director of the San Francisco Opera. It wasn't an audition, just a "hearing" organized by my voice teacher (who was in the chorus at the time, and friends with the director). I was terrified. And I sounded terrified.

I so identify with your post - not because our experiences were the same, but because that feeling of doing what your body was made to do in singing is where I eventually arrived in my training with this particular teacher. I wasn't there yet when I sang at the SFO, but I have been there since.

So thanks for sharing - and posting on Facebook so I found my way here!

Paul C said...

Jim, given that the vast majority of us will only be able to see the inside of the Met by paying (either for seats or tour) I'm proudly jealous of you! I'm going to wander over to the largest clear-floor space and do my geeky-white-girl dance in celebration....Neva

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