“OK, stand-by.” One of our ASM’s [Assistant Stage Manager] was preparing to bring us through to our entry points.
I’m not afraid to admit that I was scared. As excited as I was to be performing the opera after almost three months of rehearsals, there were still a lot of people out there. Eight hundred is a pretty enormous number*. All the reassurances in the world can’t quite pacify the butterflies when the adrenaline is pulsing through your veins.
Even though I was simultaneously terrified and excited beyond belief, I took a few deep breaths and walked through those doors. As soon as my feet hit the stage, I knew I was safe. No matter how much fear accompanies the lead-up to a public performance, something truly magical happens when you finally let go and live in the moment.
There is one moment in the opera which sums up this feeling for me. Near the opera’s end, during “The Spacious Firmament”, there is a moment of silence before the entire audience, orchestra and cast begin singing at once. When we came in with the words, “What though in solemn silence all...” I felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed because of the beauty of the music and the sheer spectacle of the occasion, but mostly moved by the feeling that everyone in the room was not themselves for a little while. We were all sharing a moment together, without thinking about the problems of life. I feel so incredibly privileged to have experienced a moment like that. It took all my control not to burst into tears when I exited the stage. I will never forget that split second as long as I live.
Music has the power to unite people. It’s a binding agent in a greater puzzle which encompasses all of us. Everyone who has been on the stage can testify to that, and I am so glad that I was able to feel something of that during this production of Noye’s Fludde.
*[Editor’s note: the official audience number was counted as 902]