Well! The marketing of the Opera is in full swing, I’ve been handing out fliers and putting up posters and getting it listed on referral sites like Bachtrack, and the Halls team have been putting up interviews on Youtube with Harry & Nick so if you still need convincing you should be inviting ALL your friends to come with you to the show (because if you are still reading this you’ll have already got your own ticket, won’t you…?) have a listen.
Last night we were in yet another slightly too small venue for our rehearsal. We discovered we’ve fallen off Rose’s email list, as people were on about the at least 6 emails that had been sent this week, none of which have arrived in MY in box! I’m looking forward to getting them.
The first hour is Piers showing the ladies how to do their hair for authentic period look, though I couldn’t see much differentiation between the 30’s for Act II and 50’s for Act III. He looked at me, and said: Presumably you’ll be wearing a hat?!
We’ve gone back to Act I for tonight, and the key issue dramatically seems to be how many people it takes to distribute and fill over one hundred glasses on lemonade while Olga teases Tatyana. Well, if you come along to the show you’ll find out.
I’m very impressed with our Olga, Katie Slater, she is a very persuasive actor and is seemingly revelling in playing the rather naughty young Olga. We are joined for the first time by Linda Hibberd as Filipyevna (I can’t pronounce that, fortunately I don’t have to, but every time Harriet Williams as Madam Larina tells her to sort out some food for us hungry workers, the pronunciation just glides off my brain; maybe its the thought of the food, I was ravenous last night) We get a snatch of Larina/Filipyevna duet about Larina’s late husband, and it is gorgeous, their voices complement each other wonderfully.
A and I have been chatting about how if Jane Austen had written full-blown tragedies instead of comedies of manners with tragic undertow, she would probably have written Eugene Onegin. We have Tatyana
doing Marianne from Sense and Sensibility, throwing herself at an unsuitable man, almost damaging her reputation and then ending up married to the safe kind man (Gremin/ Colonel Brandon); Lensky and Onegin as Bingley and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, much too fond of each other to let a woman come between them, but falling out over one despite it; if Bingley had any backbone he’d have been Lensky. There are lots of other echoes in the way the girls behave to each other, though neither qualifies as the inevitable ‘sensible’
one in Austen’s familes. There is even a scene where the Larina household rush about clearing their daily detritus out of the way for unexpected visitors, similar to something in S&S though it might only be in the film. I think Olga could be a good Emma: full of life and given to putting her foot in it. Has anyone written an Austen Opera? If not I claim copyright on the idea!
I don’t want to complain, but I’m still being knocked sideways but those pesky Basses in the corn shucking scene, as soon as I get into the action with my group of shuckers, I’m surrounded by basses just at the point our parts diverge dramatically and I keep losing the tempo, can’t see Nick, can’t hear the other tenors, it’s like getting out of your depth in a rough sea.
Nick took us through Act III to our relief and distress, he did eventual say it was sounding good, but I think he was just being kind. The words have changed, we’ve even taken out notes, so the practice disc isn’t a lot of help, and part of it isn’t in the recording I have either!
We’ve had a chat amongst the tenors and are going to have a huddle on Saturday and see if between us we can untangle the bits that keep tripping us up. I’m wondering if we should include a Bass, so that we can note-by-note through that corn shucking bit and map how it fits together, it’s too fast to take in when trying to act as well.
Copyright Cherry Potts 2011