How to Spell Musetta


How to Spell Musetta

Our newest team member Aubree Penney talks about her first day at Opera Memphis in the first of a series of posts about life in the offices at Opera Memphis.

“Try Musetta,” Sarah, the Director of Operations, told me as I tried various passwords for the computer on my first day. “Oh darn, how do I spell Musetta…is that the guy who wrote the waltz? Wait, does he have something to do with opera?” I thought to myself as I stumbled through the spelling in hopes of landing on the magic password.

I’m not an opera person per se. I’ve spent the past five years working the visual arts. Most of our team are opera people, who’ve spent years steeped in this wonderful world. Words like comprimari are second nature to them. And then there’s me, sitting in staff meeting with a blank look on my face, going “I can do web management and InDesign.” 

But for all my lack of knowledge about opera, I know I love it. The first opera I ever saw was Carmen, with the legendary and locally beloved Kallen Esperian in the title role. My severely dyslexic father took me in an act of selfless love, given he was stressed that he would not understand what was happening. We made a pact to try to avoid reading the captions, him out of necessity because he could not read that quickly, me in the spirit of equity. I was amazed to find that even with the language difference, I still understood what was happening! Well, admittedly not every word. But the emotions and images translated instantly, striking me to the core. I remember being transfixed by the story as my eyes and ears feasted on the costumes, the scenery, the soaring music. 

And that was it. There in my balcony seat somewhere on the house left side of the Orpheum, I fell in love. Eight years later, I’ve signed on as the Marketing and Outreach Associate to help bring other people to this magical world. I’m thrilled that this season we’ll be featuring Kallen Esperian in a show entitled Love Changes Everything, and The Tragedy of Carmen will be a part of our Midtown Opera Festival, giving me a chance to re-immerse myself in two of the driving forces that brought me to opera so long ago.

I’m elated to help other people discover a love of opera as a part of team Opera Memphis. After all, being a part of something larger than yourself is amazing in and of itself. Being a part of something larger than yourself that probes the depths of human emotion, that leaves people inspired and overcome with a display of beauty and talent, is downright incredible.

Even if it does mean I have to learn how to spell Musetta.

Posted by Aubree Penney at 8:30 AM
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