Performance Disasters by Miriam Sagan

Through much of my life, I liked going to concerts but not classical music. I liked when the orchestra tuned up, but not the program. I did, however, love mishaps of any kind–even a violinist slicing some bits off a bow cheered me immediately. I have fond memories of a famous string quartet starting on a wrong note and having to start again.
I was taken to concerts by my parents, then a variety of boyfriends, and then husbands. As always, I liked dressing up, eating out, being out. At some point after fifty I began to actually enjoy classical music more, and to come to love opera. An unlooked for pleasure–this has been a source of happiness in my life.
Still, I like a disaster.
I truly enjoyed it recently when the electricity blacked out during during a piece of chamber music by Prokofiev. I adored it when an earring flew off a diva and she theatrically removed the other in a clever save. I was even happy when a pianist, warming up, toppled a glass of water.
I admire sang froid, the true mark of the professional. Last weekend I had the lovely opportunity to read poetry between violin and piano pieces at Sunday Chatter (formerly Church of Beethoven) in Albuquerque. I haven’t been so happy performing since I was an interlude between aerial acts at a fund raiser for Sugar Nymphs in Penasco. Poetry not in a ghetto of poets but out pleasing a crowd!
“You are a born performer,” someone said, which of course is not true–and which would have been obvious when I was 20 or even 30. I’ve enjoyed my own disasters–a black-out in Taos, a snowstorm in Trinidad, dusk falling (without any artificial light back-up) in Las Cruces. I think of the worst poetry reading I ever gave–a cavernous San Francisco warehouse space, an audience composed of seven, five of whom were my friends who departed swiftly after I opened, leaving me and two others to witness the next reader paying a variety of traditional Australian instruments which echoes ominously.
It’s funny, I still have stage fright. Maybe that is why I like a disaster a performer can recover from.

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

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