I Remember Thursday
Actually I remember four weeks before Thursday as well as the entire month before. It was March of 2008, and the Minnesota Opera was presenting the American premiere of The Fortunes of King Croesus written in 1711 by Reinhard Keiser.
I had been asked to appear as the exiled Queen of Media (pronounced mid-ee-ya), and after being assured that I didn’t have to sing (or even speak—a very wise choice for everyone concerned), I agreed and embarked on my “maiden voyage” to behind-the-scenes of Operaland.
I remember the director, Tim Albery, saying, “Marcia, you are a powerless regent in exile. Your husband has been brutally killed in a terrible war. You have had to leave your country and seek asylum in the court of King Croesus. All you really need to do is look feeble and distracted.” Hmmm, I thought: “feeble” might take some work, but as an abstract/random Gemini, I could be the poster girl for “distracted.” And so it began…
The rehearsal process was grueling but fascinating. And the cast members (who by performance time were calling me “Mum”)—well, how much fun can one have with the likes of Paul Nilon, Vale Rideout, Carlos Archuleta, and Dan Dressen back stage? Not to mention my very talented “daughter,” Susanna Phillips, who used to whisper all sorts of things in my ear as she was “comforting” her widowed mother.
The entire experience was not only exciting but a real epiphany as to just how much effort goes into a production not only by the singers but by the entire artistic team and support staff—costume workers, wig masters, set builders, lighting designers, et al. And although King Croesus’s “fortunes” weren’t the best, mine certainly were in having the privilege of being a part of this amazing Minnesota Opera project.