Tomorrow, Opera in the Heights opens its 2015-16 season with Pagliacci. The rehearsal process has been an absolute thrill. The cast commands off-the-charts vocalism and takes risks that pay off big time. The orchestra is doing a fabulous job with a quirky reduction. Our small, gutsy chorus has brought something new to every rehearsal. The design team has worked magic, and Susan Li is using every nook of our theater to immerse our audience in the story. It promises to be a great show, and I am beyond grateful.
Each time I reflect back on how I got here, I think of Sandra Bernhard. Tomorrow will mark the third month since her passing, and not a day has gone by that I have not asked myself whether or not I have lived up to the faith in me she demonstrated. She took a chance on me three years ago when I didn't deserve it, continued to reengage me and advise me however unworthy I was, stepped up to bat for me, and made all the difference. She is the reason I am where I am now, and I know that there are many, many more people in the arts with similar stories of Sandy's incredible generosity.
Sandra Bernhard taught me and so many that meaningful art is about community, collaboration, and connection. That's the "co" in HGOco, which she founded and led with boundless creativity and love. I saw that there will be a celebration of her life, to be held Monday, September 28th, 4:30pm, at Miller Outdoor Theatre. I hope that everyone who can attend will be there to celebrate a life beautifully lived. For all who had the privilege of knowing her, she lives on, as brightly and warmly as ever, in our hearts and our work. I will keep her memory very close as I stand on the podium tomorrow.