A young(ish) opera singer's random thoughts and observations.

Monday, 1 August 2011

More career choices and JAZZ... man, the jazz!

Day 14 - Sunday

Today is quite laid back: no movement in the morning, no acting, rehearsals scheduled from 12.30 to 9pm (only). This is good, as my batteries still haven't quite recharged yet after last week (I'm not sure how I'll feel after the coming week, as it'll be 7 working days before our next day off).

Morning: while most people have all of the morning off, I have coaching with Gordon Gerrard on Cosi recit, the first 30 minutes of assisted work on it since our run through over a week ago. There's a lot still to be done and precious little time to do it in. One might argue that a spending a whole day hiking was a waste of time, but anyone saying that should realise that after five 12-hour days ones brain suffers a huge drop in efficiency. A day off a week is just about enough to keep insanity at bay.

Afternoon: we hit the stage! We have our first Cosi session in the theatre, on the (almost built) set. It is a big leap from walking on cardboard cutouts and taped lines, some of the platforms are over 8ft high, the stairs can be moved and there are enormous projection screens at the back. Coming back to the stairs, the aim of this session is for us to work through all the set changes in the opera, as they are the chorus' responsibility. I am assigned to the stage left stairs in the position of most responsibility, namely operating the lock/roll switch (and pushing as well of course). I'm already a bit paranoid about that switch, as the stairs roll quite easily, so if someone were to step from the top platform onto unlocked stairs, well... Like I said, I'm a bit paranoid about the switch.

The set is massive

All in all, it has been another opportunity to expand my growing palette of skills. Now I can add 'stagehand' to the list of jobs the Opera as Theatre program has prepared me for. I guess I can stop worrying about my voice, there's plenty to fall back on.

Evening: we revisit Scene 2 of Lillian Alling, and then move on to Scene 9 - Oakalla Prison Farm. Ellis Island is a bit less daunting now, musically I feel we're getting to grips with it, and Kelly makes sure we stay invested in the drama. Don't get me wrong, there's room for improvement on both counts (and Kelly would probably argue that actually they're not two separate counts, but one and the same), but I think that the fact that my panic about the music is dissolving is a good sign. Scene 9 moves quite briskly, it's a lot easier musically, and so far the blocking mostly involves digging potatoes out of the ground. Hmmm, I sense another prospective career...

On our way home we catch the last fanfares of the 1812 Overture performed by the Big Brass orchestra in the amphitheatre, complete with cannons (which I failed to capture in the photos unfortunately). A few of us go to Maclab for a pint, and we are joined by Les (LA conductor) for a very pleasant chat. After that it's back to my room to blog... or is it?

Cannons!

Frustrated by the uncooperative internet connection I head back to Maclab to take the edge off (I hate it when technology fails me), and thank God I decided to go! Apart from meeting up with other participants and enjoying some unbelievable antics from Xavier, there is also a drum kit and synthesiser set up, and the show starts soon after I arrive. At first it's just keyboard and trumpet. This soon gets augmented by a trombone. The trombonist promptly switches to trumpet, but lo and behold, another trumpeter jumps in to join the mix. That's a bit too much trumpet, so one of them decides to relieve the pianist... who then sits behind the drums and (failing to find any sticks) plays them with two pens. The guys keep swapping instruments and are then joined by another trombonist, a singer (who also plays trumpet), and a very large cherry tops off this jazzy cake: a sousaphone! I've left my camera in my room, but perhaps that's for the best, some things can't be recorded, they can only be experienced and remembered. This was by far the best night I've had since coming here.

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