I just got back to my apartment from Symphony Hall after seeing B.U.’s Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus present Arnold Schoenberg’s A Survivor From Warsaw and Guiseppe Verdi’s Requiem (“Messa da requiem”), and let me just say, HOLY SHIT. I’ve been feverishly listening to opera music and singing through all the Gioachino Rossini I can remember since the concert ended. But I’ll stop doing that for a bit so i can tell you all how incredible the concert was, and a selection of the myriad of things about theatre and art I learned from it:
1) OH MY GOD, WAS IT EVER INCREDIBLE. The long-lost musician in me was brought back to life tonight. And the concert was definitely the most spectacular piece of art I’ve seen in a long time. For those of you who don’t know about either of the pieces presented tonight, here’s a clip of one of the most recognizable parts of the Requiem. So just imagine a huge orchestra, a quartet of opera singers, and a gigantic choir shouting that at you. Terrifying? Yes. Amazing? Fuck yeah.
2) WE ALL NEED TO GO SEE MORE SCHOOL OF MUSIC PERFORMANCES. Come to think of it, we all need to lend more support to both the Schools of Music and Visual Arts. I grant that none of us have any free time ever ever. But after seeing what the School of Music can do tonight, not only am I impressed by what they can do, but I am incredibly revitalized and inspired as a person in the arts. I’m thoroughly convinced that we all need to make time in our insane schedules to expose ourselves to art that isn’t theatre – not only will we grow as artists, but we’ll be inspired.
3) WANT ACTING LESSONS? WATCH OPERA SINGERS. Jesus Christ Almighty, you guys. The four soloists brought in to sing in Verdi’s Requiem – whose further information you can find here – taught me a thing or two about performing tonight. Of course they were incredible singers, but as performers they were extraordinary. The four of them did things that I, as an actor/theatre artist/person, have been striving to learn how to do ever since I came here to school. But anyway, I think any of us actors/theatre artists/people could learn a thing or two from them. ‘Cause they most definitely:
- Touched and moved people with their sound. About 2000 people. And gave me goosebumps.
- Owned their presence on stage, owned the stage, owned ever single thing they did.
- Apologized for nothing.
And, most inspirationally:
- Gave themselves completely to what they were doing. Honestly, it has been a long time since I’ve seen such artistic commitment in person. Watching the four of them sing, it was clear that every single molecule in them, every atom and neutron, was singing.
Please, everyone, go see the next opera-related anything you can! I promise you, you will be amazing at what you’ll learn and what inspires you – not only as a theatre student or an actor, but as a person. I could definitely go on for ages about all the things I learned from tonight – including learning how deeply I miss music, opera, and singing, and how revitalizing it is for me as an artist (and learning that I do still want to be an opera singer. Badly).
I can only hope that, the next time I perform, I remember watching those four soloists and strive to do what they did – commit every fibre of my being to what I’m doing at that very moment. Why the fuck NOT?