The final approach is announced and the United Airlines jet makes its familiar turn for landing at the Tulsa International Airport. As I look out the window, I see the familiar landscape and layout of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I know the streets well and the various places to eat and play. In fact this is my 23rd such trip to “Tulsi-town” and my 21st main stage production with the Company. Yes, this is the start of a 4 ½ week process that I know will result in some incredible music making with Tulsa Opera.
I am writing this after the first performance, and in my opinion opening night was glorious. The performers were all superb. The Principals, the Choruses, the Ballet, the Orchestra, Banda, the Supers, the Stage Managers, the Stage Crew, the Costumers, The Wig and Make Up, Properties, The Dressers, all.
Rehearsals have always been my favorite part of the process of making Opera. Don’t get me wrong – performances are right up there. But, there is something about bringing several human beings together, all with different ideas, backgrounds, experiences and opinions, and seeing the results of that interaction. The art that the public will see is made and shaped in these rehearsals. The singers’ singing and acting, the director’s vision and guidance, the conductor’s leadership and musical nuance – all work and come together in these rehearsals to create a show never ever to be duplicated. No one will ever get to see this AIDA at Tulsa Opera on Saturday, April 20th 2013 again, or the 26th, or the 28th. They are all different, every time.
What do I do when I’m not in rehearsal? Yesterday I did a publicity photo shoot with an amazing local photographer, and today I will go have lunch with dear friends at an amazing local restaurant. This weekend (Friday and Sunday) I will go back to the Tulsa PAC and perform in AIDA in Chapman Theater. Then, on Monday I will get on a plane and fly back home to North Carolina and further reflect on another wonderful time in Tulsa. I truly love this town and the time I spend here.
Oh, and if you’re wondering which 21 shows I have been part of at the Tulsa Opera, here they are beginning with 1997: PEARL FISHERS, MADAME BUTTERFLY, MAGIC FLUTE,CARMEN, MANON, TURANDOT, TOSCA, TANNHAUSER, MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, RIGOLETTO, CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN, LA BOHEME, I CAPULETTI E I MONTECCHI, DON GIOVANNI, MADAMEBUTTERFLY, ARIADNE AF NAXOS, TOSCA, DON QUICHOTTE, LA TRAVIATA, DEAD MAN WALKING and AIDA.