Monday, July 26, 2010

Backstage at the Opera -- Part 1 of 5

I've mentioned before that I sang in the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus for many years. It was a big part of my life because of the many rehearsals required each season. I met many people while in the chorus and am thankful for the friendships that began there.

This is part 1 of a scene from Where Love Once Lived that takes place in the green room after an opera. This is fiction, of course, but based on my experience.

Austin Lyric Opera’s production of the Marriage of Figaro had
received great reviews, but Karen didn’t know what to expect. She’d
never been to an opera. But by the end of the performance she had
found a new love. Brian also seemed to be amazed as they walked
silently from the auditorium to the green room to meet Tony.
The room wasn’t huge, so it seemed crowded with actors and
guests. She spotted Tony and grabbed Brian’s hand to lead the way. It
was so natural, holding his hand, but she quickly let go, not wanting
Tony to get the wrong idea about them. Tony was still in costume,
and he looked larger than life the way his eyes and facial features
were highlighted with stage makeup.
He met them halfway as they crossed the carpeted room with
paintings on every wall. Karen saw a concert piano in one corner
and a full-length mirror near the interior door. The other people in
the room, some in costume, and some not, talked and laughed, filling
the room with a murmur of sound.
Tony dramatically kissed the air on each side of her without
touching her.
“Karen, you’re more lovely than ever,” he said. “I wish I could
hug you, but I don’t want to muss your scrumptious dress with
makeup and sweat.”
He made such a face when he said muss she had to smile.
He kissed her hand before he walked around her.
“Mmm! Look at you. So radiant.” When he was facing her again,
he said, “I’ve missed seeing that smile.”
He held both hands and beamed with all his attention on her.
She had dressed up for the event, wearing a sleek, black dress with
a lightweight, shiny black coat. It was mid-January, but unusually
warm for central Texas.
Back in college, Tony was the one everyone enjoyed being
around. He had an Italian accent, which had all but disappeared,
and a European flair that was stronger.
“Hello, Tony. You still know the way to a woman’s heart—
unabashed flattery. You haven’t changed a bit.”
“I wish.” Tony made a funny face. “I just added thirty years and
forty pounds. That’s all. “Tony joined hands with Karen and Brian,
one on each side of him. “Look at this,” Tony said. “I love, love, love
seeing you two together again—the way it should be.”
“Don’t get the wrong idea,” Karen said, pulling away from both
of them. “Brian invited me to see the opera because of you.” She
shouldn’t have to explain. If Tony assumed they were back together,
that was his problem. “I’m glad he did, though, because you were
great as Antonio. I knew you were good in college, but I had no idea
you could do what you did today—the acting, the singing, all of it
was outstanding.”
“Thanks,” Tony said.

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