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In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Workin' 9 to 5 - A day (and night) in the life of an opera singer.

Apr 12, 2012 11:51:00 AM
By BLO Staff

Michelle Trainor and her cat, Sut.
By BLO Emerging Artist and The Inspector cast member Michelle Trainor.
Rehearsals for The
Inspector
are going really well. 
It's amazing how quickly it all flies by.  In no time we will be rehearsing with the
orchestra and leaving our rehearsal space. I look forward to being on the set
and in the space of the theatre. As
wonderful as stage management is at making our rehearsal space feel as close to
the real thing, it always feels quite different. I can't wait to slip into my
costume. The designer has done such a wonderful job giving me a costume that
not only enhances my character but also accentuates my body's features to make
me feel my best. Costume, makeup and wigs really give you that extra boost when
you’re performing.
I find that building your character when you have a smaller
role is much more difficult than when you have a leading role. You receive much less information from the
score to build on.  Another challenge is
keeping the energy up all the time. You may be singing less but could find
yourself in scenes when you are not singing and having to stay in character and
reacting to the action. I find that in comedy you are required to deliver even
more energy and when you feel like you can’t give any more. What do we do on
days when we don't feel so great? This
is something a singer has to face a lot. More times than not, we have to
perform even if we are under the weather but not let anyone know that we are. Speaking
of weather, this is a terrible time for allergies and I am one of Mother
Nature’s chosen ones, allergic to
all of her beauty.
I am often asked what a typical rehearsal day looks like. For
me, it starts around 7:00 am. I shower, dress,
and put on my makeup, quickly pat my sweet cat, Sut, and say goodbye to my
husband. Scott and I both leave early in the morning and poor Sut just doesn’t
understand why we cannot spend the day with her! When I leave my house it is
8:00 AM and I am about to enter the horrific world of traffic. I drive about 45 minutes to the T stop that
is actually 20 minutes from my home, and take the train to Park Street in time to stop and fuel up
with an iced coffee. We might rehearse from 10:00 to 1:00, break for lunch and
then rehearse again from 2:00 to 5:00 depending on the scene schedule. I then
pack up and walk back to the Park Street T stop hoping and praying for a Braintree train, but
inevitably it will be Ashmont. I wait and wait until my train arrives. It could
possibly take me an hour and a half to get home on a good day, and I only live about
25 minutes from Boston. I usually run errands on the way home as time
permits and if I am teaching a lesson I run home, make a quick dinner, feed the
cat, pat her on the head and then teach for an hour. It will probably be around 9:00 PM when my
husband and I can finally relax on the couch. At this point Sut has forgiven us for abandoning her for the day and jumps
up for some much needed attention. Her
purring is just the kind of music I need to hear after a long day in the life
of a singer.  
* * *
See Michelle Trainor in John Musto's The Inspector, April 20-29 at the Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre. 
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