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I learned today that no matter how many team building workshops or candid conversations I have, communication at work will always be a challenge, and especially with the summer opera.  I think that I’ve made leaps and bounds working with the opera staff to be more inclusive in decisions and discussion, and have tried really hard to speak and learn their language so that we are all on the same page, except for when that language is German and everyone is confused.

The rumor that prompted a lengthy Abbott & Costello routine was about banda inserts.  Now for those of you unfamiliar, to either what they are or why they are the bane of my existence, let me explain.  Banda (in opera) is a very vague term describing any group of instruments not playing in the pit, ie onstage or offstage.  It’s usually to heighten the drama, or add another dimension and make the production seem more realistic.  I know whenever I entertain in my parlor, I always have a military band playing just audibly out of sight.  When the opera company is ‘strapped for cash’ often times the banda parts will be played my members of the orchestra already performing in the pit.  This is highly problematic for a number of reasons – sometimes the musician is already playing, or isn’t playing in the same key, or the score doesn’t specify what instruments – the list goes on.  I disagree with it for two reasons, one of course compromising the artistic integrity of the production, and the other because it is complicated, often messy, and a lot of work for me.  Usually any questions to the omniscient maestro is met with a dismissive wave of the hand and the common ‘I don’t know.  Just fix it.’ 

Until today.

I’ve learned that for one of the more complicated less frequently performed French opera, Lucie de Lammermoor, the conductor will be supplying me with the banda parts for the musicians.  (collective gasp)  Now normally I’d be cringing, thinking that this will undoubtedly create more problems rather then help me, because it is my job to know what music is needed for a successful show, and often conductors are shall we say out of touch with that.  But I have worked with Maestro Zeitouni before when he delivered me beautiful orchestral parts several summers ago, and along with being many impressive things, Jean-Marie has some sort of French-Canadian degree in Music Theory (I say French-Canadian because that’s what he is, and I don’t know where or what kind of degree it is but that seems like a pretty good guess) which eases my music academic librarian mind.

So I will amend my 7 steps to success with women, and I suppose specifically with me. Valentine’s Day came a little early this year, and even in the event that this could be a fabrication resulting from poor communication skills, I hope I don’t find out for a few days – and I’m keeping it in my vii.             

vii.  Flowers will fix just about anything, and correct banda inserts will melt my heart.  

February 2008
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