What a weekend!

I'm in the midst of a really demanding weekend, involving four performances of my husband Houston's and my two short operas, along with two performances of a poem cycle of mine that intersperses (or is interspersed with) Händel arias. We're halfway through (in other words, it's late Saturday night), and so far, so terrific: we're getting lots of really positive feedback on all three projects. (The poems-and-Händel thing, as well as the idea of a festival of short chamber operas, are the brainchild — brainchildren? — of Bernie Leon, the artistic director of Opera Prometheus, who is the producer of all the shows on the weekend, and an all-around good guy.)

I'm performing the poems myself, which I'm loving, but which is taking a lot out of me. But — and this surprises me — watching the operas being performed is very nearly as exhausting. However, the singers are doing a tremendous job, so at least it's not stressful in a negative way.

Writing for performance is immense fun and a huge challenge. When it goes right, you become, for the duration of the project, part of a magical tribe of magical people with superpowers and a drive to save the world through art, and you have amazing adventures together and become boon companions in the noble quest you share. When it goes badly, well, maybe not so fun. But it's good training to learn the nonattachment you need when you're surrendering your writing to others to play with. Nonattachment to a good result — it's the work that matters, not making everyone feel impressed with you because you wrote it. Nonattachment to a bad result — you can't control how people see and interpret your art, and sometimes it doesn't work out particularly nicely. (However, sometimes you get a wonderful surprise when they find rich, intense meaning somewhere in your words where you never exptected it.)

It's late. I'm tired. And it's all to do again tomorrow. Yay! Come and see us if you're in Sydney!


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