Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Little Help

What a week it has been here at HGO, or "Plague Central" - I feel like we should be smearing lambs' blood over the doors, or something equally Old Testament-drastic! A nasty virus has been making the rounds of our rehearsal spaces. People are washing their hands and applying Purell like it was sunscreen, but there's only so much you can do as you rehearse theater pieces that demand physical contact. We are living with the hope that this will have cleared our collective system by Friday, opening night of THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO. Two days ago we did something almost unheard of: we cancelled our piano dress rehearsal of that same opera because most of the cast was too ill to perform! People are making their way back, however, and fingers are crossed.

I must say, our Osmin, AS, one of the loveliest people I've ever met, has more voice than most humans even when he's marking (that's the term for singing half-voice, or in a lower octave; singers to it to avoid wear-and-tear at some points in rehearsals). Andrea's been sick and has been marking for days, and he still sounds like one of the best Osmins ever. Strangely, our tenors are doing wonderfully well, healthy, strong, and singing beautifully. They are not holding up the tenor reputation for fragility!

The big news is that a certain soprano who made an auspicious debut with us in the fall is back in ABDUCTION, replacing an ill colleague. TW had prepared the part of Konstanze, one of the most technically demanding in the soprano repertoire, and with just ten days to go until opening night she has stepped up to the plate. She sounds like a veteran of the part already: secure, gorgeous in tone, musically heartfelt. We're thrilled for this brilliant young woman.

As we finish the last few rehearsals for what promises to be a stylish show, I'm reflecting on the difficulties and drama of the last few weeks, with so much illness (it's affected the FLUTE cast as well, but they open later, so much less nailbiting has happened on their side of the hall). Rehearsals schedules have changed sometimes twice daily, coachings have been cancelled and recancelled and then returned to with a vengeance to make up for lost time. The work of every department - technical, wardrobe, wigs and makeup - has been affected. And everyone has stayed flexible, rolling with every punch, united in the goal of getting the job done...dare I say, in some respects, even enjoying the challenge? Our team is impressive when everything works smoothly, but maybe even more so when the going gets rough.

And so we get by with a little help from our friends, and that is what is about to happen with this blog as well. First up, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton updates from the FLUTE rehearsal room, and coach/conductor Eric Melear begins a series of posts on the process of bring a world premiere to our stage. Stay tuned to see what they have to say!


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