The first performance of Winter Opera’s “La Traviata” was last night. Overall it went very well, I think. The performance was sold out which is always fantastic.
There was something very funny (and potentially disastrous) that happened that I wanted to share with you.
Since the opera is sung in Italian, the company uses supertitles on a screen above the stage to translate the words for the audience. This way the audience knows what is going on without having to understand Italian. There is a set up involving a computer and a sort of slide projection system. Last night this was all in a slightly different place than during the dress rehearsal, and there were several cords going under my chair.
I tend to move a bit when playing. Particularly I tend to shuffle my feet, especially when I get emotionally invested in what I am playing. Since I am concertmaster, I move even more than I might ordinarily. At one point during the beginning of the opera, I shuffled my foot (my foot wearing a high-heeled shoe) forwards and caught a bunch of cords by accident. I was alarmed at first, but didn’t think anything of it when our stand lights didn’t go out. However, shortly thereafter I realized my stand partner Kyle had a look of alarm on his face and kept looking at the woman doing the supertitles. She didn’t notice anything, but Kyle had noticed that I had accidentally knocked out the cord running from the computer to the projector, thus knocking out the supertitles.
But the show must go on! Kyle crawled under my chair while I was playing and saved the day by plugging the cord back in. This was no easy task in that I was really quite in the way, but I needed to keep playing since the two of us were the first violin section.
Kyle spent much of the intermission convincing them to tape down the cords—I still had to be a little careful but I cannot properly lead an orchestra and play my part well while worrying about knocking something over. But that’s opera for you—always something strange happening, and yet it usually pulls together beautifully. I may have to consider a different shoe choice for tomorrow’s performance. (Sunday, 3 pm, St Louis Women’s Club)