The Scottish Opera


BH_MACBETH_POSTER.inddThings are hotting up for the cast of Macbeth (Verdi), the latest production from Blackheath Halls Opera. We’ve met and heard all the principals, and we’re firmly off the book and managing to move and sing at the same time, though getting up from kneeling (to various kings – we get through a few) and singing at the same time remains a challenge.

This year we are being directed by the talented Mr Chris Rolls, who has a wonderfully psychological interpretation of the action, which is as much surreal as supernatural.

I was very hesitant about doing the Opera this year – too busy – whole process over-shadowed by A’s broken leg last year – couldn’t get to grips with the music on the rather muddy recording I’ve got – but actually it’s a riot, the combination of Chris and our lovely Music Director Nick Jenkins is extremely harmonious and as always I’m enjoying myself hugely. And though I says it myself, we are going to be AWESOME.

Actually, with this opera – when you have jolly little parlour tunes for the assassins  (that would be us tenors and the basses), as we wait for Banquo, relishing our moment in the limelight (or darkness if you are going to be pedantic) you need to get psychological. Jeremy Sams’ translation of the Italian, which doesn’t bear much relation to the original Shakespeare anyway, is so delightfully bonkers that I actually laughed out loud the first time we sang through the assassins’ scene.

Tremble Banquo for your time is nigh
first you see a flash of steel – then you die.

Tremble Banquo, (meet your fate)
Tremble Banquo, (meet your fate)
Safe in silence we will wait…

So we have to work quite hard to find the inner callousness that would make us, as the assassins, think it was amusing – without the audience thinking so too.

On the subject of translation, Shakespeare’s version is magnificently pagan, whereas the Italian has everyone, especially the chorus, calling on god at every possible moment. I’m  not objecting particularly, as it’s a vengeful god we seem to have in mind, and the chorus get to sing some pretty powerful things (yes, he will be branded, branded as Cain was the first man to strike his brother dead). I seem to recall recounting a friend’s analysis of Verdi’s Requiem that it was church music as high opera, Macbeth seems to do the opposite, and bring religion to the dramatic performance. Most importantly we get to sing some absolutely cracking tunes, which after some of the fidgety bitty line here, line there, stuff we get to do as a chorus a lot of the time, is VERY welcome.

So final rehearsal before the Sitzprobe tonight, drop off costumes on Sunday on way to Sitzprobe, busy week of rehearsals next week finishing with two dress rehearsals at the weekend, then performances  Tuesday 9th, Wednesday 10th, Friday 12th and Sunday 14th July.

Well what are you waiting for?  Go and buy a ticket, we are waiting (in silence, safely) … with our knives…

© Cherry Potts 2013

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Author: Cherry Potts

Cherry Potts is a published fiction writer, publisher, event organiser, photographer, cardmaker, NLP master practitioner, life coach and trainer. She is an enthusiastic singer. Through Arachne Press she publishes fiction and non fiction and runs spoken word events and cross-arts workshops for writers at interesting venues. Always interested in new opportunites to perform, write or explore writing.

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