I write this blog posting as I wait to perform Das Rheingold, the first installment of Richard Wagner’s epic Ring of the Nibelungen, on this, the first of our ‘Cycle’ presentations. We will perform all four operas this week, and repeat this task to complete 3 full cycles by the July 4th Holiday weekend. As you can imagine, the anxiety level is as high as the excitement level. Yes, we have gotten a head start by already presenting both Siegfried and Gotterdammerung in very successful stand-alone performances. But as we head into the ‘full cycle’ presentations, the tension begins to ratchet higher due to the influx of “Ringheads”, the National and International Press, and Artistic Managers and Administrators; all of whom will come from every State in the Union, and countless countries worldwide.
Therefore, the title of this post should not be confused with the 1969 Broadway play, or the 1972 Feature Film of the same name. No, the “Butterflies” of which I speak are the ones in the pit of many of our stomachs that come with presenting the world-premiere of this (now complete) new production of the Wagnerian masterwork. These “Butterflies” are ‘free’, in that we haven’t had to pay for them, but they can indeed cost us dearly if we are not careful.
I know that, for myself, if I am feeling too nervous I begin to make mistakes onstage, and my voice gets bottled up. A little bit of nervous energy usually helps to promote solid concentration until my auto-pilot kicks in–which is a good thing! So with extra special attention given to my voice today, and the warm-up process it requires; but in an attempt to flow a relatively normal day, I will now head off to the gym (spin class, some weight work, and sit-ups), come home for a late lunch, and then (perhaps) take a short nap. Thereafter, I will begin to get ready for tonight’s premiere performance.
This way, I will hopefully keep the nerves at bay, have them ‘cost’ me nothing, and ensure that the “Butterflies remain free”!!!