DAY 3: August 19, 2015
The process is always the same, but the details make the difference. It’s true of producing wine, cheese–and the North Fork residency. To wit: since we’re starting a week earlier, the singers are mostly coming directly from their last summer programs. I think that going from dorm life to a beautiful, well-appointed house by the bay must be like getting out of prison. But no matter how salubrious the surroundings, most of them did not have an interval to focus solely on Latin Lovers, and the first performance is now in…gulp…three days. It’s going to be a photo-finish for everyone to get their songs in shape, but I have every confidence that they’re going to nail it. Tuesday’s rehearsal was miles ahead of Monday’s, and if we can keep that pace going we’ll sail through. But we have a lot of work to do.
Another difference: this year’s cast has a distinctive quality that is a little hard to describe. The word I keep coming up with is “mellow.” Our soprano Anna Dugan, who is fluent in Spanish, has taken over the role of ad hoc diction coach when they’re at home. She also has a car and tends to mastermind the larder. And she is apparently a wonderful cook. Her groundedness has seemed to set the tone for the group, at least when they’re around me. For all I know, they perform Bacchanalian rites with lampshades on their heads till 3 in the morning when they go off together. But with Anna there, I am confident that every lampshade goes back exactly where it came from, and that the rugs are smoothed out perfectly.
Last year I lived next door to the cast, and they were in and out of my place all the time. This year they’re in the same house but I’ve moved to the other side of this very small town. It’s funny how having a little distance from them changes the tone of our collaboration. They’re by the water, near the hall; I am up a hill in a funky, wonderful rental with views of both the bay and the Sound. I have the feeling of being in an aerie, my “regal eagle nest,” as Cole Porter would say. I have more privacy. I need it. By the time I get home I am running on fumes and reduced to monosyllables. Jim is more used to the regressive side of my personality, but I wouldn’t want the young to witness Primordial Steve. They get hints of it anyway as 7:30 nears.
The day started with good news/bad news about my computer. Good news: the hard drive is uncompromised. Bad news: the motherboard is completely shot. Result: I bought a new Mac last night. I don’t know why I have ongoing problems with motherboards. It’s been a motif throughout my troubled life with laptops. Perhaps only a Freudian analysis would solve my motherboard issues. But I think it’ll be cheaper to replace computers every three years than lie on a couch five times a week dredging up my deep-seated tech neuroses.
Tonight we might have a Skype master class with Argentinean song expert Victor Torres, a musician I admire; tomorrow Josh Vonderheide takes over my pool cabana. Stay tuned.
Come see the product of all this hard work! NYFOS@North Fork: Latin Lovers, August 22 and 23rd >
New York Festival of Song • One Penn Plaza • #6108 • New York, NY 10119 • 646-230-8380 • firstname.lastname@example.org