First things first: if you're around town you should go see the opera Cendrillon when it goes up this coming week. The Opera Theatre department here is probably the best undergraduate classical training program of its kind in the country (for serious) and the productions they put on every semester are always a fantastic display of the talent walking around in the Con.
That said, I'd much rather be in the audience for this opera than in its pit orchestra. I tend to get pretty claustrophobic in dark, crowded spaces, especially those without clear escape routes (I have to do a lot of climbing around people and chairs in order to get to my spot). And when I do finally make it to my seat in the back of the pit I can a) see nothing of what's going on onstage and b) hear only the...um...less arresting...aspects of French romantic opera (aka my own brassy noises and the back half of the second violin section. Which is not anything against second violins, the dears. It's just that horn plus second fiddle is not a recipe for aural transcendence). I can only hear very occasional singing from my vantage point, alas. So all in all, not entirely my cuppa tea, pits. Which is sort of a shame, as you can make a very respectable living playing professional operas if you're into that sort of thing.
But what can I say, I'm just more of a fringe music lover. Chamber music, new music, environmental music. I'm a happier camper in the more esoteric musical realms, like, say, cactus-plucking. I like the notes that go with this recording: "The cactus belongs to Greg Jenkins who has been playing it for some years." Ha ha, I had no idea dry-cactus-stroking could be such a serious endeavor. (I just discovered the Freesound Project's website this week and have been cruising it pretty much every day since then. I know that sounded creepy, like I'm stalking the internet for underage mp3's who don't know any better. Nonetheless. I recommend the site to anyone who likes noises.) It's just a shame that it's so hard in this struggling economy to make it as a succulent plant musician.
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