I have a confession to make: I snuck onto the main stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion.
Ok, well, I didn’t exactly sneak, I more ambled up the staircase on stage right, and poked my head around the corner to see if the stage was in use. It was empty, and the house lights were up, affording me a gaping view of the four-tiered hall.
Apparently the second most common fear, after death, is public speaking. That’s right, death, and public speaking. For a performer who’s used to getting up in front of people, this can seem a little strange. But looking out into the dazzling ruby hall of the Chandler that afternoon, I was awestruck. I was tempted to try my voice out in the hall, but that seemed a little too much like a scene out of Fame, so instead I let the silence seep into me.
Can you imagine the thrill and the profound responsibility that comes with being on a stage like that? The strange thing is, it’s usually scarier for a singer to perform in front of an intimate gathering than a darkened grand hall. When we step in front of an audience, we are gifted with the chance to be a conduit of divine transcendence. I don’t mean in a religious sense, but as a via of pure, sublime beauty. Or tragedy; or even humor. Every time I perform, it is my fervent wish that at least one person in the room walks out having lived, even for a moment, something outside of their regular experience.
I know our little show isn’t necessarily grand; it’s a retelling of Mozart’s The Magic Flute designed to introduce children to opera. But it isn’t lost on me that one of those children might walk away with what could be the defining memory of the moment they fell in love with music. I know I’ve walked away from certain performances (or films or ballets or photography exhibitions) thinking, “I’ll never forget that.” I hope to do the same for someone else.
I will never forget standing on the stage of the Dorothy Chandler.