Eugene Onegin- 4th rehearsal

In order to help me write this blog I scrawl things in the margin of my score, then erase them when I’ve updated the post.  This week’s scrawls say:


Nearly marvellous

Will be marvellous.

This being either Nick or my assessment of where we’re at.  I write things down because my memory is unreliable – so unreliable I can’t remember if this is something Nick said, or not, but he probably did.

That’s at the top of page one.  I also recorded on that page that the night’s consensus on our progress is that we are now at 6 out of 10.  I think this is a fair assessment. We have broken the ground on all the remaining sections, and I know I for one have memorised the waltz section, both words and music, and can sing it without a hitch in the shower, probably at the right pitch.

On page three I have written: Rose thinks we are amazing, so that’s all right!

Nick Acting the 'Young Ladies' copyright Cherry Potts

On page sixteen I have a note that just says woo! 

I know what this means – it’s a response to Nick singing and acting the chorus of young girls for us, complete with coquettish excitement and pirouettes.

On the subject of pirouettes, on page twenty the sopranos sing: how delightful, how delightful! and Nick’s comment on this is:

you’ll be whirling about at this point and it will just pop out

He is, of course, referring to the rather high note they need to achieve on the second ‘how‘,

but it conjures up images for me of bursting corsets… just as well we’ve updated the action to the 1930’s.

Page twenty is quite a busy page I have also recorded Nick’s

Altos, you were perfect;  and a reassurance to the rest of us that we could:
beat them up in the bar later.

Au Contraire, we are delighted with each others’ successes.

By page twenty three the comments say

You really sound like an opera chorus

to which my silent response was, I hope we’re going to be considerably better than thatI have listened to a number of recordings of reputable opera companies where the chorus are fuzzy, and sloppy and downright lacklustre, so this is why I think we can be better; what we (may) lack in voice quality, we more than make up for in enthusiasm and commitment and joy.

The rest of my scrawl notes that the schools rehearsals have started and are going really well, and amends the translation of the inserted replacement for the Ecossaise (which apparently returns the opera to its original format, the Ecossaise was added by Tchaikovsky somewhat reluctantly to give a ballet troupe more to do) to update the rather nineteenth century literary references to something pithier and meatier.  I am very pleased about this, we had been doing some muttering about the singability of the word
misanthrope, and who on earth is Melmoth?? Being by turns condescending and rude about Onegin seems much more appropriate to the milieu we are creating.

P.S. had an invitation from Lewis Reynolds who worked with Harry on last year’s opera.  He is directing a production of Gluck’s Ipheginia at the Scoop by the London Assembly SE1 2DB on the 19th and 25th of June. info on facebook it’s free.

copyright Cherry Potts 2011

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