Submitted by: Laurie Rubin
The experiences I've had as a classical singer have been incredibly rich ones thus far. I've been blessed with wonderful mentors, lucky to get some of the wonderful and fun gigs I've gotten, and so fortunate to collaborate with some very fine composers and to sing with some of the best singers and instrumentalists in the field.
As a singer who is blind, I have done recitals and chamber music more than I have done opera. This is due mostly to a minor logistical difference between me and my sighted counterparts. Since opera is a business that needs to be run smoothly like anything else, artistic directors are concerned with productivity and tasks getting done as quickly as possible. When they see me, they envision a situation where it would take longer for me to learn a stage, they think it would take more people to guide me around the stage, and they often think of lawsuits should I manage to find myself falling into the orchestra pit during a rehearsal.
However, things are slowly changing, and I am finding more and more that directors are wanting to think outside the box. They can envision a situation where a character in the show would be blind. Well why not? It is never mentioned in the libretto that she specifically has sight.