As is often the case with concert performances, all of the elements are coming together at the last minute. With our concert tomorrow night, we will spend this afternoon doing a room run, fitting Mr. Alexander into the minimal staging we’ve worked out (and trying to remember it ourselves! We’ve only had one rehearsal for each act...). This evening we’ll caravan into DC for the Sitzprobe with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center; I think our rehearsal might be on the stage, which will be all kinds of awesome. Tomorrow morning we’ll do a sound check; since the Filene Center is a large (huge) amphitheater, we’ll all be miked, which takes a little pressure off getting those low- and middle-voice passages out. I’m never worried about my high notes being heard! God bless formants... Then in the afternoon, we’ll have a “dress rehearsal,” which will mostly involved checking entrances and exits and who does what with which chairs. Then... showtime!
Needless to say, I won’t be singing every line at every rehearsal. Having a fresh voice for the show is most important, but there will be a few other times I’ll want to sing out. I’ll probably sing Glitter at both the room run and the Sitz; I’m very confident now that I “have it,” but it won’t hurt my confidence to get two more runs under my belt. The room run will also be my only chance to try my blocking in my (very tight and slinky) dress! Gotta make sure I can roll around on that row of chairs as melodramatically as I’d like...
Getting Glitter up to snuff - or, rather, up to my own very high standard - has been a process. For those of you who don’t know the aria, it is one of the more manic coloratura arias, building in frenzy and ending with a series of sustained high notes, climaxing at an e-flat. Now, I think you know how I feel about high notes that have “e” in the name... They have been my Great White Whale. I still don’t feel great about the e-natural, but I think I have tamed the e-flat! As long as I keep myself completely in the moment, singing and acting, I’m fine, but as soon as I step outside myself and start listening to the note, the tone quality changes. Less vibrant, less supported. Having B’s ears here has really helped, as I trust him to tell me the truth and to help me navigate through any issues. Each time I’ve sung the aria, I have felt more and more confident. I think it’s ready to go!
I was lucky enough to coach this with Erie Mills, who sang the role under Bernstein’s baton many times, and she had lots of helpful and encouraging things to share. The one I will be holding onto most strongly this weekend is this: let the orchestra convey the mania of the piece. They are going to be blasting at full steam, full of energy and excitement. All I have to do is ride the wave. If I can stay relatively calm, Cunegonde’s mania will definitely still come through in the brilliant mix of orchestration and singing. I don’t have to add any real hysteria to the mix!
Wish me luck, and pray that it doesn’t rain tomorrow!!