I would like to start by saying that this post will in no way change the state of the world, but it will serve as a peek into the oddity of the business I’m trying to be a part of. And I hope it makes you laugh a little.
Where to start…
I will begin with the tragic story of my arms (B.C.), because I believe they are a source of my insanity / uncertainty.
I am an opera a singer and my body is put together of everything you might expect in a singer. I have big, resonating bones , I have an ample bosom and a broad behind, but my arms are the talk of the town. According to every competition I have ever performed in, my arms are holding me back. Feedback from the professionals say that if I wear something sleeveless, my arms “make [me] look heavier than I should”, T-shirt style sleeves make me look “too casual” and don’t even get me started on capped sleeves. Long sleeves resulted in being “too cut off to [my] public” and 3/4 length are just “insulting”. I have actually been advised to not wear every available type of sleeve. Needless to say, I have become somewhat sensitive about my arms (that are actually very proportionate to my body) and my clothing choices. I sometimes consider removing my arms from the whole equation.
Fast forward a few years, I have lost some weight (thanks celiac!) and have somewhat gotten over my fear of choosing a sleeve, but my confidence in my performance wear is still fragile. I’m currently taking part in a voice program in Montreal and I was asked to perform in a concert this past weekend. Good news, you might think, but definitely the cause of more stress than it should have been!
I sang in a very similar concert last summer and in a lesson prior to the performance we discussed my attire for a pretty heavy aria. I knew the concert dress code would be formal, but I felt that satin, sparkles and glam might not be appropriate for an aria about being ignored by the institution meant to protect us. We decided on a long black dress with simple jewelry (pearls) and a wrap. I had a broken toe at the time, so I went for my beige character shoes. Not a bad picture, right? Long story short, I created a lot of drama and it wasn’t until I dropped the name of the teacher who had told me how to dress that everyone calmed down and agreed that my outfit would do.
This summer, I was not going to go through the same mind warp, so I asked straight out what I should wear. I was asked: “What would you like to wear? What do you feel beautiful in?” I replied my gray cocktail dress with gorgeous, matte beading across the chest and although I still feel this is too glitzy for this aria, I feel confident in this dress. Perfect, I take my little dress down to the cleaners on Thursday to be pressed and I’m good to go for Saturday. Nope.
I had a staging session on Friday with a director and just as I’m on my way out the door, he asks: “What are we wearing? A long dress right? This aria needs a long dress.” Ah! I guess I can find something at home that is long and fancier than a black dress. I get home on Friday night and head straight for my closet.
I don’t know how I did it, but I have actually lost a whole dress! I have three beautiful gowns that were made for me and one of them has disappeared. Of course once I realized it was gone, I could not let go of the idea that it would have been perfect. I tried on all my dresses and they are all too big! One might be excited at the revelation, but I was freaking out!
Saturday morning I was up and shopping. I made a run through downtown Montreal and I found nothing. I tried on some very unfortunate items hoping they might look better on, I was wrong. Finally a light bulb flashed! Maybe my wonderful friend Dayle could pin one of my dresses and if I get stabbed a few times, it will be fine!
Dayle came over and did her magic, not only did she pin my dress, she sewed it so that I wouldn’t get stabbed! Amazing. Crisis averted.
Upon arrival at the church we were performing in, each singer had a time to run through their piece. I was wearing a purple cotton dress from Target (I payed $15 for it). I did my quick sound check and the director says: “Sounds good, more arms and the dress is perfect! I love it!”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! AH!!!!
I went straight to the dressing room and put on my first choice, my grey dress! These people will drive me to my crazy.
This would have been the perfect dress for 'Papers' from The Consul by Menotti.