During my senior year at Kansas State, I was Miss Pinkerton in Gian Carlo Menotti's "The Old Maid and the Thief." I was a home economics and mass communications major, so it was a bit unusual for me to land a role in the opera. But I did take private voice lessons and used music courses to satisfy some of my humanities requirements for my degree.
|Memorabilia from my opera experiences in 1979.|
Hmmm ... I wonder if I'm still bitter about that B+ and her remarks about my commitment. But, in the long run, being part of the opera and the opera tour provided more life experiences than a "A" in Food Science. And, for the record, no employer has ever asked me for my grade card (though this Type A overachiever would have been more than happy to share it).
The opera memories came rushing back over the weekend as I watched our niece, Madison, in "Hansel and Gretel." She was the Gingerbread Witch. Madi, like me, got a fun "character" role. I was a frazzled, easily agitated busybody. Madison was a manipulative, expressive witch with a "taste" for lost children. Madi, a vocal performance major, is much more talented than I ever was. And she doesn't get as nervous - or maybe she's better at hiding it than me.
|Madison is on the far right. Photo found on Facebook.|
I do have my directions for applying my extensive makeup and a photo from a Collegian advertisement - just in case I'm ever in the mood to become Miss Pinkerton for the day. I wouldn't have to draw on so many wrinkles or apply so much shading these days!
The memorabilia collage I made 36 years ago still hangs in our home office, but I hadn't really looked at it for years. It's been fun to reminisce by reading the reviews and remembering the friends and fellow cast mates who sent me flowers or well wishes via the Collegian personal ads. My opera score is marked with stage directions and notes about diction and phrasing.
But being in the opera was a little like learning to work in the real world outside academia. I relied on other people to show up and be engaged, and they relied on me. I learned to juggle extra practices and obligations on top of an already-crowded schedule. I learned about dealing with different personalities and egos in pressure-packed situations, including my own. I learned teamwork and working toward a common goal. I was able to use God-given gifts in a fun and productive way.
And isn't that what life should be about?