It’s a scary time for those of us in the arts.
It’s a scary time for everyone in the world. Pandemic, global warming, political upheaval, ongoing battles against systemic racism and for equality...
I spent the better part of the two months - from mid-March through mid-May - in quite a funk. Honestly, I’m not sure that I’ve ever been in such a deep depression. I, like all of my colleagues, saw my entire year’s income and work disappear virtually overnight. I have a family to support. Children to feed. The questions came to my mind hard and fast, and were unrelenting for weeks: HOW will we survive this? WHAT will things look like when this is over? WILL we have a job to go back to after this crisis? I will not lie to you. I was in a place of immense panic. I didn’t sing for nearly two months. No desire, no reason to do it, but little by little I started to come out of my funk. The first time I really wanted to sing was after coaching one of my colleagues. Anyone who is an artist, no matter where they happen to be in the arc of their career is my colleague. I found that I was so inspired by being able to share what I have learned. She was *also* excited about finding new things that could possibly work for her, and when we finished, I was so inspired that I took out some music...and started to sing. I began with Les Troyens. I sang through Didon’s big final aria (calm it, mezzos, I just wanted to try it lol). I then moved on to two of Cassandre’s arias. Then I took out La Gioconda and sang through “Suicidio”. Then Santuzza. Then Isolde. Then a variety of Richard Rodgers, and ended when I had sung “You’ll never walk alone” about four times. It all came out in a two and a half hour stream, everything I’d held in for weeks. We are all processing this difficult time in different ways. Some of my colleagues are making amazing art on social media. Doing live digital recitals. Some, like me, didn’t have the spark or the joy back quite yet. There is no right way to grieve what we’ve lost. Whether this crisis spurs you to feel creative or causes you to feel as though you need to shut it all down for a while? Anything in the middle? All. Good. Yet...those questions that hovered from the beginning of this crisis still continued to haunt me. In the last two weeks, I have been asking them anew. How WILL we survive this? What WILL things look like when this is over? Will we have a JOB to go back to after this crisis? Our hands have been forced. We are dealing with a crisis. Healthwise. Artistically. Economically. All of these are connected for what we do. How will we survive this? What will things look like when this is over? Will we have a job to go back to after this crisis. I am choosing to look at these questions now in a positive light.
Rebirth. We are now given a chance to start anew. To take a year to really look at the direction in which we were heading, and now decide where we are going. How do we make what we do better? More inclusive? More diverse? How do we connect with people? Art connects people. That’s the gift. So, I am moving forward, choosing to share what I know, continuing to create with my colleagues. Doing it with joy and excitement, and an open mind and heart. We have a long and wonderful road ahead of us. It is most certainly a job. But it is also that gift. Keep the faith.