Student’s Corner: Norma Opera Dreams

Elyse Johnson (right) and her mother, Julie Johnson, at a performance of Norma (2015)

Elyse Johnson (right) and her mother, Julie Johnson, at a performance of Norma (2015)

Sitting in an uncomfortable, red chair, I check LA Opera 90012 participants in for the evening’s performance – Norma. Two fellow Ambassadors and I hand out tickets, but I find myself distracted. I glance at my phone and hope this will make the time go by faster. I’m anxious to see the show.

As soon as we’re dismissed, I seize my black purse and rush to my assigned seat in the theater. I love opera (can you tell?). But this time is different, because I know three of the ensemble members. Two were my teachers and the third is a very dear friend of mine. I can barely suppress the butterflies of excitement in my stomach. I’m thrilled to watch them.

As soon as Norma starts, I’m mesmerized. It’s such a special show. I search for the members I know and manage to pinpoint two of them. It’s at this moment that I start daydreaming, fantasizing about all the rehearsals that go into creating this production. I have been in several smaller opera productions, particularly at Opera Camp, so I have some idea how the process should do. It’s long, grueling, and wickedly fast-paced from the moment a singer receives the score up until the final dress rehearsal. Yet, those rehearsal experiences have been some of the happiest moments of my life. Watching Norma, I think about my own experiences interacting with other campers – teenagers who harbor the same affection I have towards opera – and creating a whole production. We sing together, eat together, and create together.

I find myself missing those days terribly.

Russell Thomas as Pollione and Angela Meade as the title character in Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

Russell Thomas as Pollione and Angela Meade as the title character in Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

Focusing on Norma once again, I watch Angela Meade (Norma) as she points a (fake) knife towards her unfaithful lover in a surge of anger. She’s spectacular – the kind of opera singer I hope to be. I smile, imagining one of my friends on stage as Norma and myself as Adalgisa, being blinded by the spotlight, singing our hearts out, forever free.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVdSSWB5-Nk

For more information about and to purchase tickets to Norma, click here. To find out more about our current season, check out our website.

Elyse Johnson is a student at the Orange County School of the Arts by day and an LA 90012 Ambassador by night. When she’s not teaching people about opera, she enjoys reading, singing, and eating cheesecake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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