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Orchestra Time & Return Engagements

October 20, 2010

Tuesday night now, and we are only two rehearsals away from opening night.  But much happens in that very compressed time.  Take for instance what has taken place in the last two days:

Monday was my first time with the orchestra for this particular production– a relatively leisurely double-service day, with reads in the morning and afternoon.  Plenty of time to stop, be sure that the players’ parts clearly showed my beat patterns, and that they all had a general sense of how we are shaping the score.  At the end of the afternoon Laura (Mimi) came in to sing her two big arias, and we enjoyed the luxury of taking time with these challenging bits.  Then after a quick dinner we had our first stage/piano rehearsal.  4 hours to tech through the most challenging scenes (read Act 2 with the chorus and kids).

Today was our sitzprobe, and we managed to get through everything handily, if sometimes a little sloppily, in the 2 1/2 hour rehearsal.  Most important was that the orchestra get to hear the cast singing out, so they can see the moment to moment shading and shaping of the score.  Still lots to fix, but there will be time in the next two rehearsals.  And tonight we had the piano dress– principals marking, having sung the sitz only a few hours earlier.  This went pretty darn well, considering the complexity of the production.  Again, lots to shuffle into place, but nothing extraordinary or too daunting.


Yesterday, as we launched into the orchestra rehearsals, I was very aware of how much I appreciate return engagements!  Virtually all of the orchestra players have now played two productions for me, and we get along quite well.  Any sense of “getting to know you” or “sussing each other out” is completely absent from the rehearsals.  We are able to just get down to work right away, and what a joy that is!   I am able to push harder right from the outset, and the music-making is stronger from the outset, which is rewarding to both them and me.  A real treat.

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