Houston Grand Opera, 2019
“So when Tommy is working...do you just...hang out..?”
This blog entry is dedicated to the partners out there—whether you stay home or travel with your other singer half—life gets lonely. I want to talk about this a lot, and hear how others feel about being on the road, or watching their partner leave time and time again. It’s nice to get advice every once in a while from other singers, but to me at least, it seems so hard to get the perfect balance. It’s not a typical lifestyle in any way—and home really is where the heart is as you travel and experience airbnb/hotel life. During a work cycle days can vary between one hour-long coaching to a rehearsal that lasts 6 hours. Also singers work on a daily schedule—meaning that they don’t know what their next day looks like until later the evening before. On top of that, there’s practice time involved, travel to rehearsals, emails, listening to recordings, speaking through lines for diction...the list can go on and on. If you’re a long distance couple, you get to be home with your own job and friends—but no partner to hug every night. If you travel with your other half- woohoo!! partner AND new places to visit! But you might be left alone a lot, and maybe you won’t have any friends in the place you travel. How do you choose? How do you begin to plan your future together?
Painted Desert 2019
(stop on the way to Arizona Opera)
It’s something I have been struggling with on and off since Tommy and I got serious. I constantly talk my feelings out about with other opera couples when I can. (Feel free to leave tips, questions or comments below!)
For me, I’m currently trying on the travel option, now based on the east coast for Tommy’s work with Wolf Trap Opera. It’s a month long contract, and we drove over here from Minnesota. This stretch is one of the best case scenarios for me because I still have family and friends on the east coast—we’re staying with my family currently—but I still find myself a bit restless during the week. My current day goes a bit like this:
8:30 wake up
8:40 Pepper gets fed and is taken out
9:00 coffee and Pepper snuggles
9:30 banana (probably—committed to a whole 30, will write about that experience soon)
10:00 Pilates or Swimming laps- sometimes both
11:00 read? Video games? tv? Webtoons? 2:00 Feed Pepper and take him on a walk
It’s a lot of alone time before family dinner and movies in the evening. And the repetition is a bit brutal. But I still get to hang out with my parents and little bro whenever they’re not busy with their lives. It’s in an area I know, a house I’m familiar with and close to a lot of people I love.
It’s not always easy though. I can already feel a prick of social anxiety about our later summer trip to the Berkshire. (Who do I know? Will I be annoying? I hope they like Pepper...) I know it was a lot of pressure on Tommy in the past to try and coax me into conversations with others or convince me to leave a couch where I felt safe by myself. After a couple of very obvious cases of the other people not really caring about who the tiny girl on Tommys arm was, I felt myself close up. I was afraid of not fitting in, embarrassing myself or Tommy (broke a champagne flute in front of donors/administration once), or just even saying the wrong thing. The ideas I had built up in my head kept me in the hotel rooms and to myself. It was crippling, feeling like I had to live up to standard and not being able to. Worse was feeling like I might let my partner down somehow. Recently though, I’ve decided to work through my feelings by:
a) writing this blog
b) trying new things (like aforementioned whole 30 or penmanship- thank you Patty)
c: becoming friends with Tommy's colleagues and making my own relationships!
Option C: I gotta say- totally terrifying at first. Yes, I’m a classically trained violist, and yes, I went to music school with singers, but their world seemed so different to me. Going to a Gala for each opening performance, donor events, repertoire, voice types, foreign languages- It’s a lot different than going to Orchestra rehearsals. I feel like every time I talk to a singer, I learn more about their lives, how they got there and how they manage. It’s fascinating, and no spoilers, but I *might* be getting into that a lot more with this blog as I get the hang of this. What started out as me almost breaking down in tears meeting Anna Maria Martinez, turned to casual dinners, Top Golf outings, card games at a hotel patio, and adventures to pinball pizza parlors at 1 am. At the end of the day we all watch Netflix, we work out, read our books, enjoy a cocktail, love our pets and we also happen to love and live classical music. Tommy has become friends with my friends, and I have made some amazing friends in the vocal community. We always make sure we have time for each other and our relationship, but we also make time to strengthen friendships- old and new! So next time you travel with your Opera friend or partner, get on with your bad self! You might even end up in a spicy book club with some new soprano friends!
Opera and Orchestra friends