Coming Up Short

So I was off to the Edinburgh Festival to sing a concert version of L'heure Espagnole with my good friend the talented French conductor Stéphane Denève. I had put on a few pounds over the summer so I was careful to pack my dress pants with the adjustable waistband. No sense being uncomfortable on stage. The day of the concert I steamed my jacket, ironed my pants and laid them out on a chair, quite proud of myself for being so prepared. The Ravel was on the second half so I didn't even start to get dressed until just before the first half began. I mean, I didn't want to get everything wrinkled, right? RIGHT? When the moment arrived I realized I had made a fatal mistake. My trousers were back home in NYC and the trousers I had in my possession belonged to my roommate, a man 50 pounds lighter and 5 inches shorter. At this point there was no possibility of running to a shop or even borrowing something from another performer. Thinking quickly I let down the hem but in so doing only gained about an inch of length and it took quite a bit of pressing to make the edge presentable, not to mention the straggling threads everywhere. By opening the waistband to its maximum and holding my breath I was able to get the zipper up halfway, luckily high enough to be covered by my vest. I headed for the concert hall to literally face the music with the maestro. He was VERY amused. The role of Gonzalve is a comic one (a lovestruck poet) so I was able to get away with my sartorial disaster but I remember thinking to myself, What if it had been a Verdi Requiem instead?

A Ripping Good Time

Having joined the chorus in September here we are in January with La Traviata starring the AMAZING Diana Soviero (thus begins a lifelong crush on this diva) and I am standing with my party date, listening to the overture and waiting for the curtain to go up. We are front and centre. The staging for tenor Tonio di Paolo (another great singer - I was spoiled back in the day) involves him watching Violetta, who is lying on the apron in front of the closed curtain during the opening strains, then quickly darting backstage before the beginning of the party scene. The overture comes to an end. The lights go down. As Tonio is trying desperately to find the centre opening through the masses of fabric he accidentally knocks my girl’s Champagne glass out of her hand and it crashes to the floor. Ever the wanna-be hero I quickly kneel down to pick up the pieces - a little TOO quickly, as it turns out. I hear a massive ripping sound and discover I have opened up the seat of my pants from zipper to waistband. This kind of a tear gives you a sense of freedom on stage you never dreamed possible as the air rushes over your exposed buttocks. Wait - there’s more. In gathering the shards and putting them in my own glass for safety I manage to cut my hand severely. Then the curtain flies out. I spend the entire scene smiling and laughing with my partner as blood pours down my hand into the sleeve of my tail coat and I try desperately to avoid giving the audience a show they neither paid for nor want.