Author Topic: HEALTH: Another difference doing opera...  (Read 3867 times)

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smejs

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HEALTH: Another difference doing opera...
« on: Jan 05, 2007, 12:48 am »
Okay, so this is going to come across fairly un-PC and probably rude, but...

I don't think anyone's mentioned another very different aspect about opera.  In general, people are not as health/weight conscious as other genres....I mean there's the general idea about "fat ladies in opera" - I've done an educational tour, where we make fun of that stereotype and all....but having worked around a lot of dancers and musical theatre types in my past...let's just say I really have to actively think about exercise and dieting right now as I do an opera gig.  True, there are nowhere near the amount of stereotypical larger people in the cast that would first come to mind...but it's definitely not an obsession with skinniness like many other companies I've worked with lately.

Am glad I packed my Pilates mat, but still finding myself slipping into "oh, I could eat/drink that, too"...and "oh, gee, did I drink ANY water today?"  (Doesn't help that water bottles are basically outlawed in the rehearsal halls, too, of this particular place.)  And of course with any stage managers' schedule, it's hard to fit time in for exercise when sleep is also important...or catching up on things like SMNetwork...

Erin (Who managed to lose quite a bit of fat about 4 years ago and have basically maintained since then, though it's creeping back right now...)
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:03 am by PSMKay »

MarcieA

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Re: Another difference doing opera...
« Reply #1 on: Jan 05, 2007, 12:49 pm »
Interesting because I'm feeling the same thing about Day'n. (See, I did that for you!)

Back in Philly, I was surrounded by healthy people who exercised constantly, in a non-obsessive way. It was very motivating, and I felt disappointed in myself if the conversation turned to going to the gym and I had nothing to contribute that day.

Here, not so much. I feel like the way of life here is a generally much unhealthier one, with a lot more fast food, and a lot less working out, which does not do much to motivate me. I don't eat fast food aside from the occasional Taco Bell run (aaaaaah the Bell, I don't care that you're not really meat...) but I have been to the gym only 2 times since August, and my free membership has expired.

It also doesn't help that I'm almost entirely alone here, resulting in quite a bit of depression, but I'm not sure how to remedy that situation.

Marcie...who's found much solace in Kraft Dinner, and it's starting to take its toll.
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

ljh007

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Re: Another difference doing opera...
« Reply #2 on: Jan 05, 2007, 12:54 pm »
Well, opera singers are certainly not dancers.
An opera singer's lunch is more likely to be a cheeseburger and soda rather than a diet coke and a cigarette.

But they are famous hypocondriacs and are constantly going nuts about vocal health. I find that more and more singers are hyper about being healthy. When I had to book their hotels (a few jobs ago), many asked about gyms and nearby health food stores. They do work out and eat well, but they do it like normal people, where "talking a walk" might be more like window shopping instead of power-walking. And they sure do love their wine! But the "fat lady" days are over for sure. Just look at all the to-do about Deborah Voight and the current love-fest for the trim and sexy Anna Netrebko.

On one of my SM gigs, the stage managers all got together for lunch break yoga sessions. While the singers hit the Mexican joint down the street, we'd pack our lunch and use my laptop to play a yoga DVD. It was quality bonding and de-stressing time.

No water in an opera rehearsal hall? That's amazing - usually the singers are constantly sipping water bottles (and sometimes I've worked places where the company provides a watterbottle-coffee-tea spread at all times in the rehearsal hall).

smejs

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Re: Another difference doing opera...
« Reply #3 on: Jan 05, 2007, 02:19 pm »
Quote
Interesting because I'm feeling the same thing about Day'n. (See, I did that for you!)

Back in Philly, I was surrounded by healthy people who exercised constantly, in a non-obsessive way. It was very motivating, and I felt disappointed in myself if the conversation turned to going to the gym and I had nothing to contribute that day.

Here, not so much. I feel like the way of life here is a generally much unhealthier one, with a lot more fast food, and a lot less working out, which does not do much to motivate me.

True, Day'n was my fatter days.  When I began to tour more is when I concentrated on the Pilates (and ultimately, I did it because it got rid of my chronic lower back pain...and then I started realizing my clothes were much looser as I continued).  And now I'm based in Colorado where "thinking outdoors and sporty" is just the norm - heck, I was a RIVER GUIDE this summer, and never would've thought of that in Ohio.  At my last first aid/CPR class at Red Cross they got to the required section about reminding people to eat healthy and exercise and literally said, "Well, this doesn't really need to be discussed here in Colorado, but in OTHER parts of the country..."

As for "fat ladies"...as I mentioned, they aren't necessarily a majority of people here, but the average weight is still much more than what I've been around more recently.  As you said, they're not dancers.  And there's a sheet cake sitting in the company lounge that people don't really think twice about eating...And a conversation DID come up about access to the local gym, and I really only heard 1 person sound interested.  I like the lunchtime yoga situation...I have done 1 or 2 Pilates sessions with co-workers in housing during tour, but nothing that regular.

Erin

ljh007

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Re: Another difference doing opera...
« Reply #4 on: Jan 07, 2007, 10:56 am »
Having just moved from Cowlumbus to DC, this conversation is very timely for me!
In Ohio, I was the "weird" one who actually went to the gym, was a vegetarian (always caused a mentdown when we went out to eat in groups, even though it's not really a big deal and I can always eat something on the menu these days), and avoided the piles of cookies backstage because they truly zap my energy and aren't all that tasty anyway. I used to do standing yoga poses between que sequences backstage, and the stagehands would totally make fun of me.
Now I'm just another person trying to work out, eat well, and stay healthy.

But - marcie, I feel you, girl! - I haven't met many people here yet and spend a lot of time playing on my laptop in the corner of the couch. I can only spend so much time at the gym before my new husband feels neglected. (He, by the way, is not a gym-goer, sits at his computer - he's a writer - about 10-hours each day, eats cheesecake for breakfast and never gains a pound!) I haven't found balance here, and I know it'll just take some time.

Maribeth

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Re: Another difference doing opera...
« Reply #5 on: Jan 07, 2007, 12:48 pm »
Having just moved from Cowlumbus to DC, this conversation is very timely for me!

Now I'm just another person trying to work out, eat well, and stay healthy.

One of my favorite ways to work out in DC is taking dance classes. There's at least a couple of studios that teach some variety of dance, and Joy of Motion (which is where I go) has a lot of drop-in classes. I love it because even if my schedule changes pretty drastically from week to week (daytime rehearsals one week, tech in the evening the next, etc) I can almost always find a class to fit. And then you only pay for the classes you take. Plus it lets me try some new styles of dance without having to commit to taking a class for a few months. I highly recommend JOM.

Scott

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Re: Another difference doing opera...
« Reply #6 on: Jan 09, 2007, 09:29 am »
Opera is quirky.

I was reminded of this thread the other day.  I was over at the theatre for this opera I'm production managing -- I think it was our full first day over the at the theatre and my first complete exposure to both our casts.

Walked into the green room at noon -- and there was this huge buffet spread that the cast members had brought in.  Bagels, cold cuts, fruit, cake -- even a lasagna!

Personally, one of the things I first found attractive about opera was the long lunch hours and the culture of food.

That being said, I think the younger generation of opera singers are being trained more like actors and are in general more health conscious.

I have found that all opera singers are less likely to go out for drink than dancers and actors.

In terms of calling actors to the stage. I too found this a little off-putting when I first worked for an opera company.  But it will make sense once you've met enough tenors.

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