I got to be the only poet to ever perform during the Voiceworks project (normally the poets write and the singers sing, but this time the composer had me reading as well as the singers singing) and so I got to hang out in the performers dressing room awaiting the final performance at WIgmore hall. It was a once in a lifetime experience, to be in a dressing room that only classical singers get to inhabit, being a poet. The status of the Wigmore hall to the singers and musicians was clear and the atmosphere backstage was utterly unique and captivating to me, as it was completely alien to anything I had done before.
My status as a visitor, a tourist, is what made it feel like a holiday. I watched a lot. Lucy hums the same buzzing insect lullaby for hours to warm up, she is going to the Algarve mountains with friends soon after this, hoping not to be butchered in the Portuguese hills. She has a golf club for protection. Vocalisation exercises and instrument warm ups mean nothing can be heard. Everyone is so nervous. No one is close to cracking at all though. A girl has a huge red flower on the strap of his burgundy dress. It is gross but fitting. She has a tiny waist.
There was a last minute panic before we exited onto the stage, the stopwatch is forgotten. Lucy goes mad, Hadleigh is smiling at this. Lucy leaps to the top of the stairs shouting Pete, over and again. She returns laughing a little bit. We are opening the evening. Maybe 100 or more people await but the place seems smaller than I had imagined.
We return back to the dressing room, all has gone well and I can truly relax and enjoy the others fear. A singer smells so nice as she brushes past me, it disturbs. Two female violinists help each other with zipping. I’ve never studied at a music school but in the dressing room I miss my brief visits to the Guildhall this year.
They ask us to tidy up after ourselves, to leave no trace of our being there, as professionally famous musicians are following us in for a performance later in the evening. Half full imposition, no one minds.Everyone still saying how do you feel, it went ok, ok. I take pictures to document the experience but they are poor quality. I don’t belong in the room, as a poet. It has something to do with discipline. I have little of that compared to them.