We closed Le nozze di Figaro last night, and it set off a cascade of mixed emotions for me. First and foremost, I'll miss this group of people and this remarkable piece. Every time I have the privilege to be near it, I am grateful. It always teaches me, always challenges me, always brings me gifts of simplicity and joy. And the groups of people who gather to recreate it are invariably wonderful. It's the kind of work that makes us be the best versions of ourselves.
I was proud of the work we did together, but rather seriously disappointed by it as well. There's a lot we didn't accomplish, and a lot that I think we just got wrong. No dishing here, just straight up evaluation. We could have been a lot better, and even (especially) at the biggest places, that can happen. Being in a position to try and see that it doesn't, I'm unhappy.
Our season is the busiest on the planet, 45 different pieces, and at this pace of preparation and performance, very little of what we do can be at the top end of the quality scale. Most nights are all right, some are quite good. A few are grand, a few truly awful, but it's the many in the middle that feel so...not enough.
I've been thinking a lot about how much rides on every performance in the US, the knife's edge that private funding makes our home. It's important to be disappointed by something that isn't good enough. It's also good, in some ways, to be part of a culture with so much available that the occasional average night won't throw off the whole curve. Art happens every day here. People expect and want it to be excellent, but if it isn't, they won't stay home.
Not yet, anyway.