The Ten Tenors

This past weekend I participated in a concert with the American Bel Canto Association called “The Ten Tenors.”  Now, to be clear from the start, this number ten was arrived at in a very loose sense.  For one thing, one of the tenors was sick and didn’t come, so already we are down to nine.  For another thing, one of the tenors was the accompanist and didn’t actually sing anything in the concert (although his playing was quite lovely), so I’m not sure if we can really count him.  I guess we can count him as half, so we are currently at 8.5 tenors.  Finally, one of the tenors was the lowest tenor I have ever heard.  He must be a tenor profundo or something, because he sang only bass arias which, while again very lovely, would seem to disqualify him as a tenor.  I am going to give him 25% tenor status to be nice.

So it would seem that I was part of a concert that included, by my calculations, 7.75 tenors, one of whom was the organizer of the concert, but since he did sing on the program I am granting him full tenor status.  The concert took place in a renovated barn somewhere in what people from Manhattan call upstate New York, but which I, being from Vermont, will call downstate New York.  This was a pretty cool barn, and on the second floor there was a wonderful place for singing a concert.  And so we did.

Before we could sing, however, we had to set up the space.  This meant mainly moving the piano into the proper performance position.  The only issue was that the newly renovated barn had beautiful hardwood floors, and we had been asked to make sure the piano was lifted from one place to another, and placed on large rugs rather than ever touching the floor.  I guess that would have been okay if we had figured out where we wanted the piano to go before we started moving it, and if the piano had not been so dang heavy.  It took all 7.75 of us to lift it, and we moved it from rug to rug and back again, trying to find the perfect spot.  When we finally finished our game of heavy hopscotch, we realized that the rug was facing the wrong way under the piano, so we had to move it back and start again.  This was disastrous for, as you probably already know, there is nothing a tenor hates more than hard work.

Well, the concert was a big success.  We had anticipated an audience of about 5-7 people, but far more than that showed up; so many, in fact, that we ran out of programs.  The barn was bursting with opera lovers that day, and they did not go home disappointed.  But enough about that.  Let’s skip to the part where we all got to go to dinner afterward.

We all got to go to dinner afterward.  I don’t remember the name of the place that we went, only that the food was good and the service was slow, just as one might expect from a place such as that.  I don’t think other people’s service was as slow, as many tables that came in after us seemed to leave before us.  I assume the waiter just saw a table full of tenors and decided to avoid it for the most part.  This did rile us up though, as we were very hungry after all of that piano moving and aria singing.  My favorite comment of the night was when the waiter, after 20 minutes of trying to get him to refill our waters, finally came over with a pitcher and some cups and told us we could pass the pitcher around the table.  The pianist/tenor quickly shouted “Oh, and should we just tip ourselves too?”  Yeah, it was that kind of dinner.

Overall the concert was a big success, and I believe we will be doing more of them in the future.  We finally have the piano where we want it, so it would be a shame not to return.  All we need now is 2.25 more tenors.

Posted in Concert, Opera, Singing, Tenors.

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