Tuesday, April 25, 2006

At the Opera

Last night, I dreamed that I attended an open-casting call for an opera. Having never sung in an opera before, I was quite nervous.

I got there, and there was a small group of people present. There was a woman and a man who seemed to be in charge, because they were doing all the talking, so I just sat and listened to them. They soon started passing out scripts. I opened it, and it was an opera that I had never seen before (no big surprise there). I tried to figure out the part in my head, but it was all hand-written and there were four flats. It would take me a few minutes to figure out the key, and from then, I had to figure out the rest of it.

Now, I know that there are some of you reading this who will know automatically what key four flats is in. I can usually figure it out (A-flat?), but I don't know it off the top of my head...

In any event, the opera had an interesting plot to it. As I remember, it was divided up into five scenes, but I don't remember for sure about all of them. The main part of the opera was that it was about a woman who was very close to her sixties. Her eldest was a son about close to forty years old, and her youngest was a son who was about twenty-five. The name of the youngest was Marius -- sound familiar?

The woman missed having kids around. Most of her children were married, so she had grandchildren, but she wanted another of her own. The opera was based on her struggle between being content with what she had (a number of well-brought-up sons and daughters and their grandchildren), or attempting to get another child of her own, whether through natural means or adoption. I never actually figured out her motives, whether she feels that the number she provided to the world was insignificant or insufficient, or whether she was lonely without little kids around, but in any case, that was the opera.

I got the role of Marius. Marius was one of the bigger characters in the opera, not as big as his mother, but considering that he had older brothers and sisters, and the father was also involved. In it, Marius was doing his best to convince his mother that she was blessed to have so many children and grandchildren, and that she needed to take care of herself and her husband, and not try to get more children. The rest of the family was surprised at her desire, as well, and expressed similar concerns.

I was a bit weirded out by the content of the opera, as you can imagine, but at the same time, I was really fascinated that an opera was being performed that was saying good things about having big families, instead of promoting the one-and-a-half children families as being ideal.

At the same time, the director was making the poor mother be portrayed as being a bit on the crazy side. Why? I have no idea...


After spending a few minutes flipping through the opera, I wasn't too scared of the role, so I asked them what I needed to do. They asked me if I had my tuxedo. Sure enough, I did. I ran into a back room, changed into it, and came out. They gave me a once-over, and said that I looked all right. By this point, everyone else had changed into their tuxedos and evening gowns, respectively. Almost everyone else had tuxes with tails and white gloves, so I was a bit ... underdressed. Then I remembered I had white gloves, so I whipped them out. In any event, I passed inspection, and we sat down again.

They started giving instructions: "When the crowds get here, they'll want to see a good show, so act the way you learned to, ..." etc. I raised my hand.

"Excuse me, um, crowds?"

"Yes. We're performing this tonight," said the lady.

My eyes bugged out.

"PERFORMING? Um, wait, wait, wait... I'm here for an audition, not for a performance."

"Yeah, I figured as much. That's the same reason I came, too," she replied rather nonchalantly.

My thoughts jumped ahead to the performance. Based on what they were describing, it would be a full house. We would have the sheet music in front of us, so that was a good thing. The performance would be done with those in the scene standing in a row, more like a singing concert than an opera. Everyone else had an operatically trained voice. Not me. I had no vocal training at all, so I would be the odd man out.

I pointed this fact out to the lady, and she just shrugged. I asked about practice, because I'd never seen the music before. She didn't pay attention. I took the music to the back and began to figure it out. After a few minutes, I was switching keys like nobody's business, and, since I do not have perfect pitch, I was rather stuck with trying to figure out the key and praying that I was close...

It suddenly hit me that I had to use the restroom...

And that's how I woke up...

I tried to finish the dream, but I couldn't, so I just got up instead...

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