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.