It’s been a little quieter over here on the blog lately. Where have I been? Too, too busy, and it has been so worth it. For the past few weeks, we’ve been rehearsing for Gotterdammerung, the last of the Ring Cycles at the Houston Grand Opera. I’m one of the aerial supers! We also perform with fire, reeds, water/ice (bottles), and in what some may call an orgy scene.
All opera photos credited to Houston Grand Opera.
Who would have thought that when I caught this aerial fever in 2012, I would find myself onstage at the Wortham Theater with HGO. Certainly not me. This is the fourth of the Ring Cycles. My amazing aerial teacher Lori brought in a bunch of her advanced students to the showthis year. I had the opportunity to audition for the first one, and didn’t even try because I just didn’t have the confidence. I wish I had! There’s a valuable lesson here for me to not be so afraid to live. Hard learned.
For some people the hardest part is always walking through the door. If you know me at all, you know I cringe in the spotlight. Luckily, in this show we’re wearing masks most of the time so it’s easy to hide. I love team sports, and there are about 30 of us supers up there. Perfect role for me. The aerial part is actually pretty easy. Most of the aerialists and dancers up there train more complicated climbs and drops, so we feel pretty comfortable with the hanging choreography.
So, what is this Ring Cycle? Gotterdammerung means “Twilight of the Gods” in German. It’s a story of the fall of the gods from Norse mythology. This warrior Siegfried, played by the charismatic tenor Simon O’Neill, has a magical ring and a love Brunnhilde, played by soprano songbird Christine Goerke. There’s a tragic narrative. Valhalla, a splendid palace with walls made of humans, burns. Gods die.
The production was put together by Catalan contemporary theater company La Fura dels Baus. I love contemporary expression and art, and am so honored to be part of a contemporary variation on classical opera. The set includes giant screens with CGI projections, cranes operated by really strong guys to make an actual metal boat fly across the stage, and more. Aluminum panels line the floor, and the props make use of reflection and transparency to create deeper space and robust light. Even our costumes are over-the-top. We look like space ninjas. I’ll share more on the show later, but this is Esteban, who we mostly worked with.
The show opened Saturday, April 22, and HGO graciously invited the supers to the cast party afterward.
The party called for black tie. After realizing I was way too busy to hunt down a dress, I just found one on Rent the Runway. A few friends had recommended it in the past. This was my first time using the app and it really did live up to its reputation of ease-of-use. Here’s the breakdown for how Rent the Runway works. They can overnight the dresses, which you can rent for four or eight days. I had mine come in on Thursday night and mailed them back Monday before noon, so that if they didn’t fit I would have time to cancel my Friday plans and find a new dress then. Returns mail back through UPS, so don’t go to USPS. That was my bad for not checking, and I want that ten minutes of my life back 😉
The search function in the app is awesome. You can filter by event, dress length, sleeve, age appropriate (yes!), and all of the other regular search options. Most of the dresses have plenty of reviews and photos of real people wearing them, so you have a good idea of what you’re signing up for. Some of the newer styles didn’t have reviews yet, so I skipped over them even though the style was lovely. I’d rather not risk an uncertain fit. RTR lets you order an additional size of the same style at no extra charge, and a backup style at a discounted rate. There’s an automatic insurance added to each dress, so you don’t have to obsess too much over keeping the dress safe and miss out on the partying. These are nice dresses! There’s also a yearly membership option available at checkout, which includes free shipping and free insurance on all dresses. If you see yourself needing more than 3 or 4 dresses in a year, the membership pays for itself. I didn’t spring for it this time since it was my first experience with RTR, but I’ll definitely do it next time.
The adrenaline rush of the opening night is starting to ebb. We still have the rest of the shows to come, but this is going to heartbreakingly come to an end soon and I’ll go back to my desk. And training. Put me in a room with some music and tell me to move, without too many rules. I don’t need any more rules. The last time I did a show was in 2014, and it was overall a positive experience, if a bit terrifying. It’s been too long since then. Like I said, I’m not really a spotlight person but I love team sports. One of the most fun parts of the show has been meeting so many interesting people from all parts of the show and walks of life. I hope something like this flows my way again in the near future.