Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Backstage at the Opera -- Part 2 of 5

This is part 2 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.

Brian put an arm around Tony. “You surprised me too, buddy,”
he said. “Exceptional performance! I didn’t know you had it in you.”
“Yes,” Karen said. “It was an astonishing experience—the sets,
costumes, lighting, and all the people. The actors, singers, and the
orchestra, it all touches your senses in so many ways. After my experience
tonight, I’m buying season tickets.”
“Wonderful,” Tony said. “No, wait. Take my comps. I get two
freebies for each opera, and my other friends don’t care about me
enough to come see me.”
She looked at Brian. Why was he so quiet tonight? Probably letting
Tony have his spotlight. Tony seemed to be overjoyed from the performance.
She’d watched Tony on stage as the actors took their bows,
and she could tell how important the accolades were for him. The applause
had lasted forever and quickly turned into a standing ovation.
“Thanks,” Karen said. “I’ll take comps anytime.”
“Good, good, good,” Tony said. “You two can come together to
the opera. Wonderful.” He spun around in joy as if to let them know
he meant it.
She wanted to tell Tony she’d prefer to have her own ticket.
Instead, she said, “Thank you.”
“I probably won’t get another small part like this one again,”
Tony said.
“Why not?” she asked. “You’re good.”
“There aren’t enough to go around, and I’m competing with
sixteen or so other tenors in the chorus. Most of them are music
performance majors at UT and much, much younger than I am.”
“So we won’t see you again on stage?” Karen asked.
“Oh, yeah. I’ll be in the operas singing in the chorus. Just not
doing solos.”
Several people left, freeing up a sofa nearby. Tony took Karen’s
hand and walked toward it.
“So, Brian has been telling me a bit about you. He says you’re
teaching at an elementary school in South Austin.”
“That’s right,” she said. “I’ve been in Austin since college, but I
lost track of you and the old gang.”
“The Combine, you mean,” Tony said as they sat on the sofa.
Brian sat across from them on the edge of a coffee table.
Seeing Tony again was fun. She should have found him earlier.
She didn’t need Brian to keep up with their college friends. After
Brian left town, she hadn’t felt like seeing anyone and soon drifted
away from the old gang.

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