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Musings on m
y life as a busy opera singer, voice teacher, photographer and mom - not necessarily in that order! I consider myself immensely fortunate to have carved out a way of doing all of these things which mean so much to me - it may sometimes get a little crazy, but it's always worth it. Welcome to the madhouse!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Expectations

ex·pec·ta·tion
1.the act or the state of expecting: to wait in expectation.
2.the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.
3.an expectant mental attitude: a high pitch of expectation.
4.something expected; a thing looked forward to.
5.Often, expectations. a prospect of future good or profit: to have great expectations.
6.the degree of probability that something will occur: There is little expectation that he will come.
7.Statistics.
8.the state of being expected: a large sum of money in expectation.

I would add

9. The high level of consistent achievement assumed the minimum base line after a great opening and lavish reviews.

Once the glow had worn off after Sunday afternoon, I realised that we were faced with an interesting challenge for our our second (and final) performance nearly a week later: how to recreate the magic which had happened, even though I think we all knew that the "something" which had made it so exceptional was one of those alchemic concoctions over which we didn't entirely have control. Sunday had most assuredly been one of those performances where the whole really was greater than the sum of the parts (considerable though those individual elements are), and that kind of spontaneous electricity can't really be machinated at will. You do your best and hope that it leads to inspiration, but there are so many variables and intangibles that you can't necessarily guarantee that it will take that leap from "very good" to "extraordinary".

Now, before anybody thinks that our 2nd performance somehow didn't go well, nothing could be further from the truth - it was another evening of music-making at the highest level, and we were again rewarded by an audience reaction of lavish and exceptional enthusiasm which made it abundantly clear that the evening was a huge success even if we onstage didn't feel it had quite the same "life of its own".

But what I learned this past week is that a successful opening and the subsequent reactions and rave reviews don't, in fact, make things easier. Expectations are high, and all one can think is, "How did we do that? How do we do it again?! " It's a different kind of pressure than I've experienced before, particularly in a concert-performance context (when it's staged, there's not only more visual interest for the audience, but also the "physical memory" of the movement and character interactions which adds a level of consistency and security, in its own way - without that, it's ONLY about the performances, meaning more responsibility rests on each individual singer)

The point here is that I think as performers once we have "achieved" something, it's all too easy to jump to the end and want the RESULT without necessarily remembering to recreate the PROCESS. I don't think we do it consciously, but it's human nature, and something to be watchdogged. It's always about the process. Never allowing ourselves to over-focus on WHAT we achieved, but instead focus on HOW we achieved it. I think we all went into our second performance aware of this conundrum.

All that's really left to say is that everything about this gig has been artistically and professionally expanding, awe-inspiring, and affirming; there's truly no turning back after an experience like this, but only motivation to continue to do more, and achieve more, knowing that we will hold ourselves to even higher standards in the light of realising just how much we can achieve. It raises our OWN expectations of ourselves which can only be a good thing.

2 comments:

Tanja Ariane Baumgartner said...

Like always yer right on the money...it is like listening the CD and always going backwards a few seconds to listen to the high note again......tanja

Anonymous said...

Meant to say...it doesn't work....
tanja