The other night in Louisville, in rehearsal at Kentucky Opera, staging my new verismo opera, "A Woman in Morocco," just before the running of the Kentucky Derby, I realized just how much opera singers and thoroughbred racehorses have in common.
They performed the song a couple of times, thanked me, and left. A moment later, the singer returned, cheeks wet with tears. "Thank you, sir," she said, squeezing my hand. Then, urgently: "I love the songs so much."
You buzz your lips like you're making tugboat noises to your favorite (only) baby nephew. Maybe you sing a snippet of something to calm your nerves. The crazy thing? You are totally not the only person singing in a stall in this particular restroom.
To take listeners through those seemingly difficult first steps, here's a playlist of good introductory excerpts for those new to opera. There's something for everyone, and some you're sure to recognize. Have a listen!