Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tales from the Second Life: Why Opera Is Not My Thing

Today's Question of the Day at Shakesville was custom-made for me. My comment seemed to be blog-post length, so I decided to add it here, too. Three posts in one day. Am I back, do you suppose? Anyway, here's my tragic opera tale.

When I was in high school, I managed to meet one of my fondest high school goals (just about the only time I did): I made the elite chorus. I don't have that fab a voice, but I can sing on key, so there you are. The cornerstone of the chorus, I suppose. I was so excited; our chorus director was beloved by all, etc. The chorus was chosen in the spring. I couldn't wait to return in the fall, when we took our new positions.

However, over the summer the chorus director moved into administration. Administration!!!

We faced a dour, disillusioned soprano when we returned, a woman who clearly had other plans for her life, a woman who never tired of warning us not to make her raise her classically trained voice.

She had a singing partner in her other life. To this day I can't remember if he was Mr. Fish or Mr. Trout. Whichever he was, we students privately called him by the other name.

It happened in a church basement somewhere in Baltimore. Dour Soprano booked our chorus all around the area to do Christmas concerts, and one night she booked The Trout to sing along with us...without telling us. I stood front and center, right next to him. When he launched into his overblown rendition of whatever Christmas carol we had on the program, I. Lost. It.

Bent-over-double-wetting-my-pants-getting-the-hiccups lost it. I couldn't stop couldn't stop couldn't stop. I had the hysterics throughout the song, right there in front of all those little old ladies who were groovin' to "Silent Night" or something like it.

The Trout probably had a very fine voice, but I simply can't hear opera without revisiting the moment of my greatest public shame.

Alanna, I hope we can still be friends.

Postscript: I once voluntarily heard Roberta Peters in concert, so maybe I'm not completely opera-phobic.

1 comment:

Alanna said...


I could identify your laugh in a crowded theatre, so this is not one bit surprising to me. The tale is hilarious...trout, fish, wet...it all makes sense.

Alanna whose wish it was to be an opera singer!