Because someone had to escort Opera Kid to a fitting this afternoon. Last year Sophie was a supernumerary (a nonspeaking, nonsinging role—often a member of a crowd scene) in San Francisco Opera's Macbeth. It was truly one of the most wonderful experiences of our lives. Countless hours of driving across the bridge to the city for rehearsals and performances, hanging out with the other parents in the Opera House basement, and watching from standing room left me with a kid who is exited about music, the stage, and the arts in general in way she was not before. She's as happy to listen in the car to a cd of Thomas Hampson's Verdi arias as she is the soundtrack to Highschool Musical (ok, I admit that we can't find the Highschool Musical soundtrack at the moment, and I know exactly where the Hampson cd is). So regardless of how this turns out, the San Francisco Opera has my undying gratitude.
Things have been a little up in the air this time. Since Sophie did Macbeth, she was on the list of kids called to volunteer for the summer season, which starts with Wagner's Das Rheingold. They want forty kids (we thought they were insane with twenty kids for Macbeth), and the Macbeth kids were the obvious place from which to start. I filled out the forms, sent them in, and then didn't hear back. Finally, after a few discrete inquiries, I learned that the casting department was concerned with Sophie's coloring. Apparently they want children with dark hair and complexions ("ethnic looking," they said) given that the children are to be Alberich's slaves, toiling beneath the earth to satisfy his greed.
A friend whose child was already cast insisted on our behalf (thank you!!!) that Sophie's hair is not dark blonde but medium brown with minor highlights. The door opened a crack: Would we consider a nonpermanent rinse to darken her hair? Heavens, yes. What could be more exciting than dying one's hair for the opera? Then we received word that based on a picture (this one right here from Macbeth) casting was concerned about her "rosy complexion." "Isn't that what makeup's for?" I asked. Turns out they're a week and a half away from starting rehearsals and still short ten kids, so they're inclined to agree.
Off to our fitting we went.
We're not out of the woods yet, but when Sophie asked the fitters "So am I in?" they said that they had assigned a costume to her and so assume she is.
I know that even if it doesn't work out, there will be other times. But it's hard to steer my daughter into a situation where she may face rejection, regardless of how objective it may be and how well I've tried to prepare her. It's not about you, I've explained, it's about the art. And I think from her last opera experience that she understands this. It's probably me who has more of a problem.
On another note, I feel brought full circle by recalling that Sophie's first opera experience was the impetus behind the start of my blog. Wishing to document and share her experience, I stumbled upon something I had not anticipated: a creative outlet and a community of friends as well as a way to document and remember. Here we go again.