Now THAT was what you might call satisfying. Jumping in for my (unfortunately for her, and I DID send her a get-well-soon message!) sick colleague, to sing the role I had been covering for the past six weeks in rehearsal.
DEFINITELY the best thing about tonight was the support and good wishes I got from all sides. That made me SO glad: not just a hug from every single colleague on the stage, but grins and toi-toi-toi (German version of "break a leg") from everyone I met en route. Anyone who says the Germans are an unfriendly lot are simply in the wrong place :-) That made me very happy.
Of course it wasn't a perfect performance. For a start, I'd never been on the stage myself with orchestra, and it sounds very different back there (especially with modern opera, what you hear in the piano reduction - and calculate pitch from - might well not be audible). Oddly enough, what I found myself concentrating on most was how to sort out small glitches, not necessarily my fault, just the sort of thing that happens on stage - hmmm, that veil fell in the wrong place, what if I grab it as I kneel before the next phrase, then I can let it fall to the left as I stand up... and rats that bandage failed to make it to its allotted resting place, so if I position my right foot here I can kick it as I step across... that sort of thing. Which means I had studied the music and the role thoroughly enough to simply allow them to happen. It's always good to have proof positive that such is the case!
So this was a good end to this phase of my working life (of course it's always possible that I might have another performance in this role; I don't know as yet). As said before, covering is never going to be "my thing" (and I have absolutely no idea how those who mainly make a living out of it manage to retain their sanity), but I managed to achieve the goal I had set myself, of doing good enough work to earn the respect of the director and conductor, whilst staying quietly in the background until needed. And that, combined with now being able to list the role officially, since I have now sung it in a public performance, is most gratifying.
The photo, in case you're wondering, has absolutely bugger-all to do with the above ramblings. I just like it because it looks a bit like an eye. It was taken in a tunnel in the Citadel in Mainz, with artificial lighting in the foreground and snow in the background.