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Crepi lupo, Day 115

August 26, 2010

What drives the instinct to fight or flee? An overwhelming majority of us have felt it, that increased heartrate that begins with butterflies in one’s stomach and can accelerate to the point of wanting to jump out of one’s skin, especially with no option to escape the situation. Looking forward to two such experiences this week, today I perform my annual re-audition to maintain my position in the Associate Chorus at the Metropolitan Opera, and Saturday I skydive above Long Island.

When I once believed the Met would never hire me, I auditioned happily and with confidence. After I moved to the city to begin my unexpected employment, I grew to love my job and the people there, and the stakes magically increased. Unfortunately, so did the quality of my auditions.  I don’t find it necessary to elucidate upon the high [stakes] instinctively felt when jumping out of a plane. Even with the promise of taking my first plunge with a company with a perfect no injury record, I cannot slow my heart, which will inevitably race at my turn to jump, with logical facts.

Although I have strangely begun to look forward to skydiving on Saturday, I also welcome my morning audition as three and a half minutes to think about Juliet and not about jumping out of a plane (I exaggerate very little).  Also, this circumstance feels different.  For the first time since I began working in New York City, I’ve managed to make a niche for myself this year, expanding and diversifying both my career and life in a very satisfying way.  While I would still love more work and even a career in the Metropolitan Opera Chorus, I also adore this existence in its current, more economically challenging yet exciting state.  Does that fact lower the stakes?  May be.  Perhaps it just makes me less desperate.

Either way, with only a half hour to depart, I have no choice but to don my dress and makeup, coiff my hair, and warmup my voice for whatever this morning holds.  Hopefully, my moment to skydive will advance with similar haste to keep me from losing my resolve.  In opera, one rarely tells a performer to have good luck or break a leg.  In my favorite way to send someone off for a good performance or audition, the well-wisher says, “In boca al lupo, (in the mouth of the wolf)” and the singer replies, “Crepi lupo (may the wolf drop dead)!”  In my mind’s eye, that wolf (with all respect to my puppet friend) represents fear.  So this morning, before losing too much valuable time, I say only, “Crepi lupo!”

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