Friday, January 28, 2011

Backstage with John Mac Master (Part 5)

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!

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