Mr. Domingo with Lynn Williams, harp
Have you ever had this conversation with someone you just met?
What do you do for a living?
I am a musician.
Oh, it must be wonderful to get paid to do what you love!
Although I can honestly say that I do love my job, I also add that it is really a job, requiring hard work. It is not always fun in return, nor do I expect it to be. It’s my job. It can be grueling and physically demanding…and at this point in every season, the giant conveyor belt of operas to learn and perform can get overwhelming.
But every so often, something reminds me of what fun this job can be. And that after all these years, I can still get a little star-struck. And that the hype is not always just hype – sometimes people really are that good. For me, such was the case when we presented the subscriber concert with Plácido Domingo and Ana María Martínez on January 9th. And I know I was not alone.
For the record, Plácido Domingo would have been great to perform with again even if he didn’t still sound great – but it makes me very happy to report that he does sound wonderful. To call him a living legend is not exaggeration, and one gets the sense that he has truly earned that title. During Lyric’s last Ring I remember his Sigmund being so charismatic that it was hard for me to really notice the others on stage. The man’s still got it.
Ms. Martinez with Heather Wittels, violin
So you would think it would be impossible to pair him with anyone who could match that charisma and star power. But Ana María Martínez was the perfect partner for this concert. She is truly one of our favorites down at the opera, having been with us many times. What a voice – so complex, so fiery, so sexy – and did I mention that she is really nice? She is a diva in the very best sense of the word, and if she is too young yet to be another living legend, one cannot help but imagine it in her future.
I think these concerts are great for all of us. The orchestra gets to shine on stage and play a little different repertoire, and we get a little more of the applause just for us. The audience really seems to enjoy seeing us (and not just the tops of our heads) and hearing us (surprise! We can play fortissimo!) When a singer walks out on stage and stands amidst us, or right in front of us, so close we could touch them, the full effect of what we do is so clear and distilled down to one thing – making music together. No pit, no costumes, no staging, just the music.
This was a concert for our Lyric subscribers, and they loved every second of it. And although I am all in favor of rewarding our subscribers with something special, I do wish our non-subscribing opera goers could have experienced this also.
After this wonderful concert, there was a flurry of Facebook postings – photos of orchestra members with Mr. Domingo and Ms. Martínez. This is how I know I was not the only orchestra member who might have been a little star-struck that night.