Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
After Faust closed on Sunday, I went over to have a chicken quesadilla at Downtown Johnny Brown's while Josh Vincent and Linda Piatt had beers.
Josh is an opera chorister and yoga instructor. Linda is a violist in the orchestra and one of Josh's students.
Earlier I had mentioned to Josh that I was blown away by how much concentration the string players must have during a three-hour opera. The strings are playing just about the entire time.
"Of all my yoga students, I think Linda has the most focus."
I wasn't surprised.
I asked Linda about it.
"In a show like Rosenkavalier, every measure has something quirky--it could be the rhythm or a fingering but it was exhausting and it was long. It was also the most rewarding thing I've played because it's so beautiful."
I wanted to know if yoga had helped.
"As a string player, everything is off balance to one side."
That makes sense.
"Yoga helps me to balance out both sides. When I first tried to do the downward dog position, I was completely twisted or I should say, leaning to my playing side. Besides balance, yoga has also helped with injury and tension. Some of the other players get a lot of massage therapy but I find yoga helps me to be aware of where I can relax. It's interesting that yoga helps my playing but I think my playing helps the yoga as well."
We continued to talk about others issues but one that got a lot of play was the topic of conductors.
The San Diego Opera and the San Diego Symphony is a shared contract. That means the symphony players are also the opera players.
We counted it up and between the two, Linda will play with at least 8 or 9 different conductors this season.
Of course, I needed to know if some where better than others.
"Yes, but I'm not naming names."
I guess Linda wants to continue working. Very wise.