I finally had a few hours of rehearsal for Suor Angelica this week, and boy, did it feel good to finally get up on my feet and stage some scenes! I don’t know this opera very well, being one of maybe three sopranos in the world who has never been in it. (Since it has an all female cast, it’s very popular in schools and other training programs.) But let me tell you, there were at least two moments, even in this rough first rehearsal, where I was brought to tears. The story, the singers, the staging… it’s going to be an incredible evening.
At the end of rehearsal, I went up to Mr. O’Brien to let him know that I will also be the “Young Lover, Soprano”, aka YLS, (not to be confused with YSL, with whom, yes, I would love to work!) in Tabarro. He said, “Oh, wonderful! I hope you’re not afraid of heights!”
Just as I suspected, my YLT and I will be walking across the bridge that can be seen in mockups of the Tabarro set. And, apparently, it’s very high! I told Mr. O’Brien that, yes, I am actually afraid of heights, but being in this business, I’ve learned to get over it. I have to! It seems we’re always on ledges or wires or staircases that push the limits of our comfort zone. God help me if I ever have to sing a Rhine Maiden! They often fly on rigs in order to create the illusion of swimming, all while singing and trying to look like they do it every day. Thankfully, I’m not exactly a Wagnerian… I actually volunteered for the lighting crew in college to help with the fear, but after I got a concussion up in the catwalks, I was relegated to costume crew. As long as no one threatens to push me over, I’ll be fine…in time.
Since our staging for Tabarro is entirely on the bridge, it looks like we’re not going to be called until the rehearsals are on the mainstage! Makes sense, of course, as there is no bridge in the C-level rehearsal room (although there is the boat…). But how crazy is that?! With three operas to stage in the time usually allotted for one, they have to use the rehearsal time most efficiently, and this seems to be an easy 30 seconds to cut out of early rehearsals.
One good thing about it: the sound up there, high up on the bridge and fairly far upstage, will be very different that it would be in a rehearsal room. If I only rehearse it on the stage, my ears won’t get used to having the sound source (piano or orchestra) closer than it would be in performance. The bigger the stage, the harder it is to account for the fraction of a second it takes for the sound from the orchestra to reach your ears. It is very easy to get behind the beat! So, with this rehearsal setup, I’ll be relying on my eyes from the very beginning. Good practice.
I have a Helena cover brush-up rehearsal tomorrow, and then rehearsals for the Gala start on Friday. I’m actually double booked on Friday, so I’ll be going back and forth between Angelica and Elisir. (Can I say that I’m terribly excited to be in the same room with Rolando Villazon? I’ve avoided much star-gushing here, but … eee!! I just know I’m going to blush.) I’ve had a fitting for my Gala costume, should I go on as Giannetta, but still no fitting for YLS’s sexy red dress! Next week, certainly.
Thoughts on last week’s MATA concerts and the big question of “image,” coming up.