Verdi Isn't the Only One Who Is 'Green'
Rebecca with Principal Trumpet Bill Denton
Lyric’s 2022-23 season is full of well-known and beloved operas: Hansel and Gretel, Le Comte Ory, Carmen...and I haven’t played a single one! There is something exciting (and intimidating) about being one of the two newest (and youngest) members of the orchestra and having never played this repertoire. Several orchestra members have played Carmen dozens of times, and while I may know the commonly requested trumpet audition excerpt from the “Prelude”, this run will be fresh for me.
As musicians in an opera orchestra, we are so lucky to play some of the most beautiful music ever composed. But how do we keep popular operas like Carmen from becoming stale? Variety and energy. Variety manifests itself in many ways such as a new conductor with different tempo and phrasing ideas, different soloists, a new production, etc. But, sometimes that isn’t enough. Energy keeps the orchestra feeling and sounding young.
A conductor I worked with as a student once told the whole orchestra at the dress rehearsal “When all of you win jobs in an orchestra, I want you to find the oldest person in that group that still plays like they are the youngest. Become friends with them.” He did not mean that they played immaturely, but that playing with that kind of youthful energy and eagerness is something to hold onto and surround yourself with.
Each time we pick up our instruments something is different. Each time we play an opera it is different. The first time we perform a piece of music is usually the most memorable. Why? It is because the discovery leaves such a lasting impact on us that we compare everything afterward to it. Although I am looking forward to finally playing that Carmen excerpt in the context of the full opera, my hope is that being new to these operas I can bring enthusiastic energy to the pit that inspires my colleagues as much as they inspire me!