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In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

First week of Rehearsals for Clemency - Asst. Director Eve Summer

Jan 29, 2013 10:06:00 AM
By BLO Staff

"It has been a whirlwind week of rehearsals; over the past
6 days we have rehearsed musically and staged Hagar's Lament and Clemency!  Even though the entire production only runs
about an hour, we still have to create fully developed characters and the
performers have to commit all of their music and staging comfortably to memory,
not to mention sneaking in costume fittings or dinner, so we have to come into
the studio every day with a thoughtful plan of attack! 

We start the week, and then each rehearsal block by
rehearsing musically; David Angus, the conductor, and Brett Hodgdon, the coach
and accompanist, take the singers through each section before we begin
staging.  Then we talk about character
and the text a little, and then put the basic framework of the scene on its
feet by giving the performers some blocking (telling them where to go on the
stage, and when to do it).  In the first
few days we had the whole production sketched out so that we could breathe easy
knowing the building blocks were there. Next, we went back and started working
on specific scenes, and specific moments within in each scene, and either
refining or solidifying the blocking.
Eve Summer
Our day usually consists of two rehearsals with a lunch
break in between (if there were a chorus, we would have three!).  Although it's only about 6 hours of
rehearsing in studio each day (that may sound like an easy day), the work is incredibly
intense, both for the singers and the team and staff who must be ferociously
focused to put together, commit to memory, and perform masterfully a polished
production within a matter of weeks.
And what do I do? I arrive about 1/2 hour before the
singers are called to go over the plan for rehearsal, and check in with the
director and stage management to see if there are any issues we need to
discuss, such as scheduling a costume fitting, introducing a new prop, or
modifying a bit of blocking.  During
rehearsal I record the placement of all the performers during each moment of
the opera both to serve as a reference to remind the singers of their staging,
and to have a thorough record of the production in case it is remounted in the
future.  I act as a sounding board for
the director to bounce ideas around or suggest potential solutions to issues
that come up. I take notes during each run and either go through them with the
director and the artists, or work on them with some people while Andrew (the stage
director) works with others. After rehearsal I finalize the plan for the
following day's rehearsal and touch base with stage management to add any notes
to the rehearsal report that goes out at the end of the day.
It's back to work in the studio for now, until next week
when we move into the theater for tech!"
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