Eugene Onegin – third production rehearsal – arrival of the principals!

A swelteringly hot Sunday and I’m very glad that the rehearsal has been moved to the morning, and to Brooklands school, where the doors of the hall are flung wide onto a very pleasant square shaded by a vast tree – Thank you Brooklands!

Lensky: Nicholas Sharratt copyright Cherry Potts 2011

The Principals have arrived, and so has the poster.  We’ve worked with Nick Sharratt before, on Elixir of Love and he’s a lovely man, and a fine singer (and he knows how to fall too- he scared everyone half to death last year thinking Grant Doyle’s staged punch had actually landed).

Everyone else is new to Blackheath Halls.  Olga (Katie Slater) who is still a student at Trinity, plays her as eager and puppyish and easily led, and gets proper vexed with Lensky over the duel – Vladimir, stop your quarrel delivered with a stamped foot and shrug of frustration.
Olga and Lensky Rowing Copyright Cherry Potts 2011

Onegin: Damian Thantrey copyright Cherry Potts 2011

Nick Sharratt as Lensky manages to alleviate the impression of sulkiness by giving him an innocence and wounded incomprehension at Olga’s behaviour, and Onegin’s meanness, which tips over from indignation into anger.  Damian Thantrey as Onegin is very much going for the Mr Darcy angle; everything is beneath him.

Today’s schedule takes us through our involvement in Act II and fits in what the principles get up to.  If I’m honest, from a chorus point of view, it’s less than perfect, we forget cues pay no attention to tempi, and lose notes; and we (the tenors)  all in turn sing the wrong words on the repeat of This is Superb.  There are definitely points still when I hear a cue coming and have no idea what it is I’m meant to sing- and this is the bit I thought I’d learnt.

Tatyana: Kate Valentine copyright Cherry Potts 2011

Acting wise, most people in the chorus are just walking through their parts, maybe it’s the heat, or the ‘done it already’ mentality seeping in, but there isn’t the verve or commitment to the parts we’ve already ‘acted’. Part of the problem is there are a lot of people missing today, so people are deputising for key roles (mainly involving moving chairs for the Cotillion, which we try at least 5 times without getting it done neatly and in time; this is a feature of a Harry Fehr production, moving furniture: last year it was tables, and I had to bow out of that bit.) it could also be that the venue is small and we don’t have room to fling ourselves about as we might otherwise.  It is very frustrating, especially when there’s Katie and Damian acting away like mad, and Panos quite bringing a tear to my eye as M. Triquet wisting after Tatyana (almost another missed cue.)  If I didn’t know we always pull it together at the end, I’d be quite worried.

However, new bits of business help, and little things: like people having to budge up the bench to make room for Larina (Harriet Williams), and A’s admonishing Shh! to Olga when she laughs at M. Triquet, give me encouragement.

We weren’t asked for a mark out of  10 this time, I think I’d give us (chorus) a 6 and the principles 8.  We will be fine, though there are some anxious mutterings about the difficulty of learning Act III, which we haven’t touched dramatically yet.

Three rehearsals in a row coming up, Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.  That should consolidate everything nicely.

Copyright Cherry Potts 2011

2 thoughts on “Eugene Onegin – third production rehearsal – arrival of the principals!

  1. Another good read, Cherry! And good to know the Principals have their Principles!
    I don’t know about ‘just walking through their parts…’ Us altos up the opposite end of the hall were acting away madly, passing comment on all and sundry at Tatiana’s party!

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