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In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Backstage with John Mac Master (Part 1)

Jan 21, 2011 7:10:00 AM
By BLO Staff

I’m John Mac Master, I’m an operatic tenor,
and I am making my role début and company début here in Boston singing Harlequin in The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Quits.
We’re on the tail end of our first week of
rehearsals, and the show is in great shape. I thought I would give you an
overview of how we are getting from day one to opening night. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks.
DAY 1
Concept for Harlequin by Costume Designer Nancy Leary

Monday January 10 was our first day of
rehearsal, and was devoted mostly to music. It can take anywhere from a few
weeks to a year to learn an opera – depending on the size of your role, the
length of the opera, styles of learning etc. I had learned all the notes and
words in May and June last year, when I had some free time between and around
engagements, and then had gone back to the piece in December to really polish
the music, and learn some text changes that had been made. But the first day of
rehearsal, when you sing your music with your colleagues is always exciting –
and a bit daunting! You want to make a good impression, you don’t want to let
your colleagues down…..And in the case of this music, there are some really
‘crunchy’ bits where the harmony is not what you would expect, and you hope it
will all work out. This is a great cast though, and everyone was extremely well
prepared, so it was a fun day. Steven Lipsitt is our conductor – and he had
done the piece 16 years ago; he speaks fluent German and had done his own
translation (we are singing the piece in English) – and he has studied the
original manuscripts of the work….so there is no question you can ask about
this piece that he has not thought about, and to which he has given
consideration. Plus he is a great guy, and really helpful conductor. We won’t
have our orchestra until days before opening – so for all the blocking
rehearsals we have Allen Perriello who will play a reduction of the orchestra
part at the piano….He is terrific, and with the conductor helps us make sure we
are remembering the right words, right notes.

I'll write more soon, so keep checking in! If you have
questions, email [email protected] and we'll get back to you.

- John

Topics: Opera Annex, Backstage at BLO, The Emperor of Atlantis

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