When I got that call confirming,
“We would like you to come make your debut tonight…..!”
I had such a calm inside. “Less than i want but more than you expect!” was what I told the praying rehearsal staff that HOPED I was better than I was in rehearsal. Phoebe Berkowitz and the gorgeous David Kneuss- their faces were so sweet and resigned.
It was so perfect and wonderful for a debut.
My Grandmother sent it to me! – I was convinced, for she had passed on two months before.
She, who had bought me my little outfit when I sang at age nine for the first gathering in a Church Social, a blue velvet one piece short cocktail dress, age appropriate of course, black shoes, almost “Mary Jane’s”, and a little shawl. I have a tape of that somewhere, sounding like a thirty year old midget. The voice was always placed.
My dear Grandmama, cried loudly in the first row, so proud, second generation singer she must have thought, as my Mom had done this as well. She was devoted to my Mom and here her kid was trying for the same dream! Thank you Grandma.
Thank you, David Stivender, who prepared me in the music with so much respect and love for my sound, and for his belief that I was the real thing and that I should be prepared to give all of it in service to Verdi’s great music without too much fuss.
Thanks to Rita Patane’, my magnificent teacher, who was so rock solid and secure in her musical knowledge, and love of the voice, protector of the voice, that she helped free and make fluid. “You are ready, vai!”
To Bill Schuman, who as one of my longest friendships, we met when I was 17!, Bill stood with me after a rehearsal of “Les Troyen”, in the middle of the stage, as he said so smartly,
” Feel how friendly this house is, it loves you, you can feel it, it is such a great house, it will know what you are!”, as we looked out from the vast proscenium looking up into the house with it’s rows of boxes and tiers leading to the sky, all velveted and gold leaf befitting a house of opera especially one so historic, the Metropolitan Opera.
To Larry Stayer who had kept me calm during the rough transition, I will always love that man and thank him for his great patience and love.
Thanks to Jimmy for being my smiling eyes in the pit so blue. So sure and giving and supportive, they don’t make many like him. He inspired the whole night with his magic from the pit and beautiful colors, I had to match them. I HAD to make him proud, for it had been him who had kept me there, humble, ready to serve and ready always to be better and best. Amazing what he did for me really.
Backstage as the curtain went up, Dawn Upshaw to the right next, to me, as she was making her debut as well, I believe, and I heard the opening chords, NO FEAR. Get that curtain up, this is where I have always wanted to be….
“Ecco la luce che mi seduce, che mi sublime”