Saturday, October 20, 2007

Macdeath (not to be confused with McBeth™)

I’ve noticed that opera folks don’t seem to have the superstition about saying the title of “that Scottish play” in the theater. It’s not one I’ve ever been particularly prickly about, either, but some people I know refuse to say it! Superstitions aside, it’s a fantastic play, brilliant opera, and this production is going to be amazing. If you’re not already doing so, check out the MetBlog for regular behind-the-scenes information and great videos of the rehearsal process.

A couple of notes from my perspective, about my experience:

There is a very cool audio-visual effect surrounding the apparition scene, and I won’t go into it here (I’ll leave the divulging of stage “secrets” to the MetBlog folks…), but what it meant for the three of us singers (Warrior (DC), Bloody Child (AE), Crowned Child (ACB)) was that we were to sing from off-stage. At first, I was disappointed, because, after all, it’s being onstage that I live for, right? But then it became something even more casual and fun – no costume! no makeup or wig! AE and I decided that we would coordinate our outfits for every show, wearing funny things like bad ball gowns or crazy costumes (especially for the Oct. 31 show!). It was fun to stand in the same spot off Stage Left where I sang my first Young Lover line in the spring. I’ve gotten to know some of the SL crew, one more way the Met feels like a “home” theater, and I enjoyed hanging out, waiting to sing my line.

But then it was decided that we would sing from the pit! Again, I was disappointed at first, but once I got down there? Wow, what an treat. Talk about experiencing a Verdi orchestra up-close and personal!! We are standing just under the lip of the stage, behind the bassoons. The brass and percussion are to my left, which means I often get blasted by some of those unexpected fortissimo chords during the apparition scene! As I learn the score, I’m getting better at anticipating and getting my ears plugged in advance. Hearing and feeling the orchestra at this proximity is thrilling. And, well, being about 15 feet from Mo. Levine and watching him at work is pretty awesome, too. I floated on air for about an hour after he gave me an “a-ok” sign and a nod the first time we got to my line…

Side note: one of the trombonists, WS, was a Fellow at Tanglewood with me in ‘03 & ’04! It was a fun surprise to run into him in the cafeteria last year. Many of the orchestra members are in my age group, which is so great to see. DC commented yesterday, when the orchestra was tuning, on how young the concertmaster was, to which I replied, “Yeah, he’s young, but I think it really just means that we’re all getting older!” It is our peers who are now holding places of honor – Music Directors, concertmasters, admins – rather than only our teachers and mentors. We are the next generation, all grown up.

One more thing about Macbeth: the costumes for the witches look far too much like my wardrobe in high school and college. Thrift store dresses with clunky shoes, gloves, old cardigans… ‘twas the ‘90s after all! Grunge, baby. I’ve mentioned this to a couple of folks, and their reactions were very different. “I’m not sure I’d admit that in public,” versus “Oh, we would have been in the same group of friends, then, ‘cuz all my girlfriends dressed like that, too!” Hot.


alex said...

OOO what a delightful post to read! Man, I was so with you reading about Mo. Levine's note of approval! Now *I'm* getting floaty and twittery on your behalf!

Vicariousness is beautiful!

Also -- (and obviously I'm speaking with absolutely no authority whatsoever) -- it's always seemed to me that Levine has been very aware of how such "simple" or "small" things such as letting someone know they're doing "a-ok!" can really brighten up and even make someone's day!

It really reminds me of another favorite post of yours -- the one about living thoughtfully and mindfully. Mmm!


(also, give us hints on halloween outfit! some [read: me] need good costume ideas!)

Kevin said...

R they going to do that bleeding wall effect like Seattle for the mad scene? That was really creepy!

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