In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Backstage with John Mac Master (Part 5)

Jan 28, 2011 7:42:00 AM
By BLO Staff

Andrew Wilkowske during a technical rehearsal. Photo by Julius Ahn.
We are in tech week now, and there is lots
of excitement and anticipation as we move toward opening on Tuesday Feb 01.
And I’ll be honest…there is tedium too! In
the first week of rehearsal there is lots of excitement as you are improvising,
and discovering what the work has to say…But a lot of that work has been done
by this point, and now we are moving slowly from minute to minute in the opera
as lighting and sound cues are tweaked, and movement is refined around the
newer elements of the set…..But this is where another kind of genius comes in!
If we give short shrift to this fine tuning
– we will have less of a show! The director and production team are working
furiously to illuminate (literally!) all that we have put together in
rehearsal; the set designer and props builder are fine tuning their creations
so they work perfectly with the staging business that has evolved in rehearsal,
we are now receiving and using bits of our costumes….and it is all of this
work, this attention to every single detail that creates a memorable show, one
where there is “eye candy”, “ear candy”….and never mind candy, food for the mind and the spirit!
Sitzprobe 1/26. Photo by Julius Ahn.
The singers also met the orchestra for the
first time this week and we worked
through the pieces together…..This is always a great moment when we move away
from the sound of the piano with which we have learned the piece, and with
which we have created the staging….and we hear the ‘colours’ in the
orchestra…..It is one of my favourite times in rehearsal when we add the
orchestra…..By now I know the piece really well, all the words and notes, and
in the staging I’ve discovered the story we want to tell……But when I am playing
that out on stage, and can really hear/experience/feel the orchestra colours, I
experience a whole new level of meaning for the piece. The genius of a great
composer is not only the notes he chooses to write, but how he orchestrates
those notes……The harmony he chooses to underline a note that I sing, and what
instruments he has playing adds a whole flavour to my thoughts/words/actions,
and in these rehearsals with orchestra I try and be focused and peaceful enough
so that I can experience those feelings, and let them percolate into my
performance. Again, it is all about detail…..
And the sum of all these details is
creating a wonderful show!! We will see you – and you will see us – soon!

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

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