Willie Nelson made this song famous but it sounds more fun than it really is. One of the challenges of being a performer is that it is necessary to spend a considerable amount of time away from family and the comforts of home. Standing in long lines to get through security at the airport, packing up enough clothes for a month and yet keeping your suitcase from being over the weight limit, then squishing into the tiny seats on the plane (I’m 6’4 and 250 pounds – believe me, I don’t fit!) then arriving at the hotel on a Sunday when no-one is working at the front desk, getting into the room that smells of smoke even though it is a non-smoking room, checking for bedbugs (all of this talk of bedbugs lately has me somewhat paranoid now!) trying to figure out the channels on the tv, fighting with the modem to make the internet connect, then trying to find some food on a Sunday night which can be challenging when most stores close at 6:00 pm or earlier on Sunday. Shall I continue? Often people assume it is a glamorous life for opera performers. In fact, it is a often lonely and frustrating.
So why do we do it? The answer is simple, we love opera. Perhaps we are in fact thrill seekers, not jumping out of planes or climbing the highest mountains, but the excitement of live opera brings it own level of exhilaration.
I am currently in Winnipeg where we are beginning rehearsals for Tosca, one of my favorite operas.