Eugene Onegin – Sitzprobe

One of my fellow chorus members kindly explained what sitzprobe actually means.  I assumed it was some kind of abbreviation that was lost in the mists of time, but it turns out it’s German and means ‘sitting rehearsal’ not terribly accurate, but at any rate standing still rehearsal.  Back in the Halls (hurrah) and I’m impressed by how fast the set for Rinaldo has been struck, and the set for Onegin has begun to be put together, it’s only about 12 hours since the last performance of Rinaldo finished.

Strings squashed behind the verandah Copyright Cherry Potts 2011

Our first rehearsal with the orchestra, who are corralled behind the ‘verandah’, and have just about enough room, but will definitely have to think about the order they come on and leave.  Even with Nick on a box, we still have trouble seeing him when the principals are on the verandah, so we will definitely be needing the monitors.

Rehearsal goes very well, although it is a lot easier, sitting/standing with your section, facing the conductor, than it is moving around not able to see Nick and surrounded by other voice types.  Orchestra are sounding very good, although there are the occasional uncertainties Nick wants them to work through.  At one point Nick exhorts us to put more energy into a particular passage, playing headbanging-rock-air-guitar to get us to understand how much energy he wants from us.

Altos singing the Cherry picking song copyright Cherry Potts 2011

For the first time I hear the cherry picker’s chorus all the way through, from the interesting perspective of being directly in front of the Altos, who aren’t quite happy with their performance, and request another go at it.  The harmonies in this piece are very clever, I like it a lot, although the words are desperately twee.  Fortunately the music outweighs the words by several tonnes.

Nick sends us up to the recital room for a run through of Act III with Duncan before letting us loose on the orchestra.  Duncan points out that we are holding some notes too long which is throwing the timing out, so we do our best to be brisker.

Nick Sharratt & Damien Thantrey copyright Cherry Potts 2011

When we return, Damian Thantrey as Onegin and Simon Dyer as Zaretsky are singing the end of the duel scene.  ‘He’s dead?’  ‘He’s dead’; Simon getting wonderfully deep into his bass voice.

We whisk through Act III with Duncan cheerleading from the sidelines.

We finish on time and zoom off to the bowels of backstage to have our costumes checked.  Costume are very organised everyone has an alphabetically hung hanger for each act, with a little bag for shoes and accessories attached.  Unfortunately my hired evening suit for Act III is a disaster. the jacket is so tight I can’t even get my arms into it, and despite four pairs of trousers they are all either too tight or too short.  Rather a nice shirt though, that fits well. 

There are lots of very glamorous dresses being flung on and off again, and various of the cast are swapping gowns.  The queue to be approved and photographed is endless, and as some of the  cast are in their act one agricultural workers dungarees and straw hats, a haphazard rendition of the best bits of Oklahoma is inevitable.  Several people are performing elsewhere tonight and are allowed to queue jump so that they can get a rest/ another rehearsal in beforehand.

Off to organise a plan B for Act III costume.

Copyright Cherry Potts 2011

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