Five years after Thomas Adès’ The Tempest made its debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, his latest opera The Exterminating Angel also made its US and Metropolitan Opera premiere. And once again, I covered the high (even higher!) soprano role. At least this time my character is definably female. And no flying.
It has been really special to be back at the Met. In this business it’s nice to be asked back to a house for many reasons: professionally, it shows they liked your work the first time, (and looks good on the c.v.,) and personally, you are on familiar territory (you already know your way around the city and the theatre, and all the good/cheap places for lunch) and, even more importantly, you probably have made a few friends there and you get a chance to catch up with them.
All those factors were magnified in this situation: I lived in New York for a while shortly after finishing my Master’s degree, and my digs were exactly 1 block from my old apartment; I’m working on (yet another) contemporary opera, which is my favourite thing to do; and…it has a HUGE cast (21 principal roles) so that’s a LOT of new friends (and quite a few ‘old’ ones, too!)
I say ‘history repeating’ for other reasons, too: The Exterminating Angel is surreal, and involves guests at a dinner party becoming trapped in a room, with several ‘deja vu’ moments; and this really feels like history in the making, with a composer conducting his own work, in front of sold out crowds, to rave reviews, at an extremely prestigious opera house.
The Exterminating Angel finished its run the the Met on Tuesday, and I am back home in time for Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for? Time spent catching up with friends, showing off my sons to my Met ‘family’ (and for both of them having the chance to see an opera at the Met,) and, most importantly, finally escaping from that mysterious room!