Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Art as Teacher

Ok, I knew this opera (Don Giovanni) was going to be emotional, but I'm now realizing that it's going to be much more intense than I ever imagined.

We had our first acting rehearsal yesterday for the Act II sextet, which we are performing in December as part of opera scenes. We're using it as a premiere for the opera in January. I think it's a great idea and I was very happy to be chosen to be part of the scene. But I digress.

The scene is pretty complicated so I don't want to bore you with details, but it suffices to say that I had to look people in the eye and face emotions that I do not like -- in fact, I go out of my way to avoid these emotions and situations in real life. It is so scary to plead with four people and have them all look back with cold, unyielding eyes. It felt like an embodiment of all the apathy and selfishness in the world. And all this while singing some of Mozart's darkest music. Ahh!

I could go on and on about all the little things that happened in that short rehearsal, but it boils down to this: in this role, I'm forced to face all the things that I hate most. And that is scary. This is such an emotionally charged opera and the music is just so expressive and I know now, for sure, that this role is really and truly going to be an adventure. I learn so much from every role that I sing and I feel that Donna Elvira is really going to take me through some tough places. She's going to teach me things that I really need to learn just for life, just for me.

Art has this incredible power to reveal the most vulnerable parts of us -- to turn them transparent and expose them to the cruelest scrutiny. People are always afraid of others seeing their vulnerability, but I think it is far scarier to see your own vulnerabilities and have to face them in the full light of day.

And, yet, art has a healing power to it as well. Once those vulnerabilities are exposed, art brings the balm to soothe the pain. In this way, art is more like a doctor than an enemy because it exposes things in the hopes of fixing them.

This is why I believe so strongly in my craft. I want to be a conduit for inspiration and exposure and healing for everyone who is willing and, in this process, to better understand myself so that I can be a more positive force in the everyday world I live in. Because life is all about making things better and I plan to use the talents and skills that I've been given to do my best to make things better in any way that I can.

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