This post at Kris Merino’s Intelligent Life blog had me remembering my very own operatic debut. This must have been about 1955 at the Miami Opera Company. Renata Tebaldi was the lead soprano and our school chorus (some of us at least, those whose voices had not yet changed) were selected to take the roles of the chorus boys that danced around – I had thought it was around Tebaldi – but this clip shows a male performer. We had several rehearsals, but I can recall only one performance. Could that be right?
The chorus was all boys and our costumes were white altar boy-like robes. We had to wear rouge and lipstick, which we boys were kind of embarrassed about. But the pay was good (what pay is not good to 10-year olds?) and Renata encouraged us by saying that if we worked hard and, she’d pay us double wages.
That was part of the chorus actually, which I still remember to this day. I didn’t realize I rehearsed so hard that it was ingrained into me. Doppia soldo became our mantra, and we got it too. That might have been my first pay day. The beginning and the end of my opera career.