I play the violin every Sunday on my church (Walnut Baptist) and on this Sunday I also sang the Lord’s Prayer. Just before the sermon began I left for my opera chorus call at the
When I opened the Kentucky Center Lobby’s door I saw Alise Oliver, Kentucky Opera’s artistic administrator, with this scary look on her face and saying, “Oh, Juliana is here, she is here…” suddenly Julie Maykowski (the education director), Alice, Julia (the assistant stage manager) and everybody was there just smiling and asking, “How are you today???” Then I asked, “What’s going on?” Nobody said anything; they just had those freaking smiles. Then I asked, “Where is Kelly?” They looked at each other THIS TIME with a nervous laughter they said, “
He showed me the place already prepared in the pit and took me to talk to our star, Kelly Kaduce. Julie took me to Todd Hall so I could run through some parts that I wanted to work on with the coach Naoko Suga . I asked to go through third act (God knows why!) and then we looked at the death scene in the fourth act because this was the only part we didn’t coach for this opera.
Before the opera began, Julie was in the dressing room forcing me to eat and I heard the announcement made by Lisa, the stage manager, on the speaker, “Attention please, Juliana Moura is not singing today with the chorus, she will be in stand-by for Mrs. Kaduce in the pit.” I just looked at Julie, covered my ears and said “I don’t want to here this, la, la, la, la, la…”. So I could still trick my mind and pretend that this was just a rehearsal.
During the performance, Kelly made it through acts one and two without incident. In the third act all the lights in the orchestra it went out, except for my light and Naoko’s. I stood up and just like the guys with the flashlights on the airport runway I held up the lights to help the orchestra see something in the middle of the blackout. I started screaming for Naoko to get somebody to do something about the lights and this went on for a while. Kelly Kaduce ended up singing one or two bars without music but then the lights came back. From that moment on I was sure that THIS WAS NOT REAL!!!
Well as soon as Kelly finished her duet in the third act I thought, “Thank God she will be able to do the whole show!” Suddenly Julie appeared at the pit and said “You are ON!!!”
I took my shoes off to try to relax and thought “This is just a rehearsal!!!”
And I sang!
After the third act they rushed me to stage right to do act four because the singers on stage couldn’t hear me.
Thank goodness we worked on the fourth act. After my last word on stage, ADDIO! I felt just like that, I am dead, and good bye. It was amazing to see so many people back stage cheering for me and with big smiles saying so many good things. Honestly in my mind I have no clue how it sounded; I had NEVER sang with an orchestra before, or in a big theater like the Whitney and doing this gigantic role that my voice isn’t ready for yet.
I can still picture the moment when Kelly and I embraced in center stage. To hear all the applause was the most exciting moment of my life!!!
I am very happy to have been chosen to study this role with Kentucky Opera Studio Artists Program and to be prepared so I could face this once in a lifetime opportunity. I can say that I depended on God the entire time, and just kept saying in my head: THIS IS NOT HAPPENING… IT IS JUST A REHEARSAL!
posted by Juliana Moura