There was a moment in Die Blume von Hawaii, where I always tried to pay meta attention to what was happening and feel gratitude for it. Laya and Lilo Taro were singing in subdued light, while the rest of the cast and chorus were frozen, having just sung a big ensemble.
I was singing as Kanako Hilo and was situated center at the front corner of a high platform. One step forward, and I’d fall several meters to the stage, but while frozen, my sight could linger on the audience without it being weird. The music and the lights all came together in a swirling magic, and the drop in front of me provided the private illusion of flying.
In this moment, I felt intense appreciation for the audience’s presence, and I saw how lucky I was to be onstage singing. I reminded myself that I was there through a mixture of effort and sacrifice and luck, and that I had wanted this and was getting it at that moment. I knew I shouldn’t let it silently pass by without that recognition.
There was a similar moment in Don Giovanni, where everyone other than Don Giovanni himself was silent and sitting down in a semi-circle. I loved this production and this scene in particular, so it always came naturally that I felt gratitude for it. Masetto was in a rough place, but Ian was happy and was acutely aware of that happiness.
The gratitude was, however, tied to the knowledge that it wouldn’t last forever. Writing this now, these productions of Blume and Don Giovanni are gone, and the likelihood that I’ll get to do them again is almost nil. More broadly, I’m aware that I won’t get to sing professionally forever. There will come a day, whether by choice or not, where this path will come to an end.
And even more broadly, all of this that is now will pass. And by maintaining some corner of the mind for being grateful now, perhaps we can know that we’ve had our fill when the time comes to let go.