A Ring Cycle, Deaf Opera and Fat Pig
Updated: Feb 28, 2020
I am currently working intensely on three very different projects: One: my first Ring Cycle as Brünnhilde (dream come true, BTW), Two: My first full libretto for a new opera (Fat Pig), and Three: Producing and singing in a deep exploration of Deaf Opera, in the form of Dialogues of the Carmelites.
My brain and body are being called upon in almost every way possible to keep these three balls in the air. Whenever I am under this kind of diverse pressure, I notice something happening: a median concept starts to form. A common theme; a way for all the disparity to weave together. This right now, this particular month or two, is about the most creativity I have ever experienced, largely because it involves so many skill sets and so many stages of development simultaneously.
I remember an acting exercise from a Young Artist Program I was in. Three colleagues stood around me as I sat in a chair. The one on the right asked me personal questions about my life. From the left, I was presented with mathematical problems to solve, and directly in front of me, I was asked to speak words of a dialogue as my scene partner gave me his lines. At first, this does your head in. But soon you realize that the key is not to live in any one part of your brain too stubbornly. You start to swim around in your own consciousness, and find a middle point from which everything can be more easily answered.
These skills are all necessary for performing as an opera singer, but it turns out there is a generative artist equivalent. A place where creating art intersects with producing it, with discussing it, with teaching the technique of it, and with performing it.
So what is that meeting place I am finding this month? What is the intersection of Brünnhilde, Deaf Madame Lidoine and Neil LaBute's controversial play about fatmisia?
Underestimation. The strength of women to burst through the gates that are erected around them. The sheer beauty of femininity in all its facets. While Brünnhilde experiences human love and the resulting pain, Lidoine accepts that humanity is a necessary part of faith, and Helen demonstrates grace and self-love. No wonder I am feeling super-charged, and ready to sing, write and produce.
Also, no wonder I have Feb 28 (the day after it all ends) marked in my diary as "Collapse".