Yesterday was a tough day. It was not only the last Parsifal of the Met season, but it was also my last performance in the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus.
As you know from my “About” page, I have been in the Met children’s chorus for seven years. I joined in March of 2006 when I was eight years old, and I can still remember my first children’s chorus class when my legs were wobbling singing “Happy Birthday” for my audition. From that same class, I also remember volunteering to sing the children’s chorus part of An American Tragedy, which the Met did a few years ago, alone in front of the entire class. After that class, I also remember going home and crying because I was not able to keep up with the children’s chorus part in La Bohème because of the rapid tempo. The director had not handed out the music, so I was sitting there going, “Parpignol..par..what?!”.
Photo: My first time performing on the stage of the Met as a communion girl in Cavalleria Rusticana, October of 2006.
Last night, seven years later, I also went home crying, but in a different way. Those were tears of happiness.
When I first entered the children’s chorus studio last night, I was greeted with so many “Happy last performance”s , “Why do you have to leave?”s, and “We’ll miss you!”s. I even got a “We don’t even talk but I’ll miss you anyway”. Along with these greetings I received a ton of supportive hugs. We all sat down to warm up and the children’s chorus director not only announced that it was the last Parsifal, but that it was my last performance. He made clear that I had been there seven years, and that I would be leaving with a lot of Met history. He also wished that I would be able to sing on the stage of the Met again, and good luck for the future in vocal training. I felt so honored.
After warming up we were called by the stage manager to go up to the Dome. As usual, I brought my Parsifal score. I followed along for the entire second scene of Act one. The end of the act came, and my colleagues and I sang our last “Selig im glauben”, and I realized that I had tears streaming down my face. My friends saw that and gave me more supportive hugs. As if that was not enough, they gave me a very special gift. All of them had spent time in the Dome writing “We’ll miss you, Melanie” notes and preparing a scrapbook full of them. Some of them even drew pictures of me and Jonas Kaufmann because they know how much I love him. I was speechless.
I said my good-byes and gave more hugs, even one to the children’s chorus director, and left the studio. I had tickets for the rest of the performance of Parsifal. My dad and I watched Act II but I simply could not concentrate or stop crying. We left after Act II, and I had a big cry in the car. I was reminded that there are bigger and better things, and that I will go far. He also reminded me that every person I have talked to about leaving the children’s chorus, said I would be back singing on the same stage again some day. That made me feel better.
I want to thank my parents, my children’s chorus friends, my twitter friends, and all of you who follow my blog for your love and support. It was a tough evening for me yesterday, but it ended in happy tears, a thoughtful scrapbook, and the reminder that I have such supportive friends. Thank you.
Here are the thoughtful entries from the scrapbook: