Most people in the room don’t have a hard time answering this question. They’re singers, stagehands, conductors, choreographers, or even wigmakers. Their roles are clear, and their presence is justified. But when I answer, “I’m a composer,” my interrogator’s brow furrows, and more questions follow.
“Do you compose operas?” Yes, I’ve written one.
“Are you writing us an opera?” Not right now, but I hope to eventually.
“Then what are you doing here?”