Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's Saturday, Time For The Opera

I’ve got my earphones plugged into the network line, listening to what’s going on at the Metropolitan Opera House as the technicians finish testing the equipment. Then the microphone tests: stage mics, audience mics, announcer mic, orchestra mics. I’m reading the upcoming arts notices for our area, then the weather.

The clock is sweeping off the seconds, literally seconds, before the opera starts at 2:00. I’m coming in four seconds short, so I do the extended weather. Then I make the jump from one trapeze to the other and hope I’ve timed it right: I absolutely can’t be a half-second late and should not be a second early.

I start the talk-up: “And now, broadcasting live from the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in New York City [the line is live and the crowd noise starts coming in] this is public radio for Western Indiana, Southern Michigan and Eastern Illinois, WSND-FM.” And Peter Allen comes in with “Texaco presents the Metropolitan Opera!”

I have somehow squirmed out of my shoes in the last thirty seconds. Those shoes were tied, I might point out.

Three years on the Met network and I never blew a join. But there was an occasion one week when Peter Allen decided to pull a joke on all of us in the hinterlands. All of us down the line had our ‘phones on while they checked the equipment and we heard (softly) “mic check? (loudly) “Texaco presents! Ha! Ha! Fooled you!”


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