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Nov. 03 2011

Production week: it’s not for sissies

By Dyana Neal | Posted in Host Blogs | No Comments

More news from Lyric Opera Baltimore’s “La Traviata”: we’ve been on the Lyric’s stage since last Friday & had a fabulous final dress rehearsal with an audience (mostly students from area schools, but also some friends & family of cast members) last night. The audience certainly seemed to enjoy the show; we received such enthusiastic applause & so many “bravos” that we took four – four! – company bows. So much for opera not appealing to younger folks.

In addition to our passion for singing, most of my colleagues in the Lyric Opera Baltimore chorus have full-time day jobs, kids, or both. Needless to say, when you add those things to the production week schedule – at least three rehearsals in a row, some or all of which may end around midnight – life gets interesting. (This week’s rehearsals have all ended around 10pm; a most civilized hour.) My on-air hours at WBJC are perfect for a performer & I have a great deal of flexibility in scheduling & editing the interviews that I do with various artsy folks, but even so, at this point in a show, I sometimes find myself throwing laundry in the washer around 5am (before I go to the gym) because that’s the only time I have to do it. Sleep tends to go out the window during this time, which makes staying healthy a challenge. I’m always wired when I get home from rehearsal, even if it’s late, so I like to sit up with Jim & have a glass of wine; chances are we haven’t seen each other since around 8 that morning. I try to get to the theater early so that I can score free on-street parking, eat dinner (brought from home) with a colleague or two, & take my time getting into makeup & costume. Rushing to get wigged, painted, & gowned is no fun!

Speaking of Jim, I am very fortunate to have married a performer. Not that people who don’t do this sort of thing can’t be good spouses to those of us who do, but it can certainly help. If your partner doesn’t understand why you can’t go out to dinner on the night of your final dress rehearsal, no matter who has invited you, there’s likely to be trouble ahead. I’ve both seen & been in relationships that have broken up due to one person’s lack of respect for the other’s love of being onstage, & sad to say, I find it’s usually women who give up performing for a certain portion of their lives due to family obligations. However, I have several married couples among my colleagues who manage to juggle onstage work & family concerns with great finesse. Either one parent does a show while the other minds the kids, then they trade off, the kids spend a lot of time with grandparents or other relatives while both do a show, or, if young performers/supernumeraries are appropriate to the production, the kids end up in the show.

In our house, there are only two humans (both fully grown) & two cats to think about, which makes things easier. I actually get to make dinner & eat with Jim tonight – woohoo! – & we’re joining a group of friends for cocktails at the Owl Bar later. A bit of normality in the midst of production week chaos is always much appreciated, but I am also very much looking forward to opening night – can’t believe it’s tomorrow!

 

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Dyana Neal

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Dyana is WBJC's midday host. Her full bio can be read here.

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