“As One” – Study Day 3
It has started…
There is no turning back…
Today I finished up working through the vocal parts. It took a couple of sessions, what with Orlando and Ronan still on summer vacation. Parts 1 and 2 of the opera are built of relatively short numbers, and it was easy to fall into my process of singing through each number at least twice before moving on. But Part 3 is one big aria — “Norway.” Pages would go by, and I would not want to lose forward momentum. But at the same time, going through too much material without looping back and reviewing can be counterproductive. I feel like I have less of a grasp of the structure of Part 3 as a result. Tomorrow I will make a point of digging back into it in particular.
Still not lots of marking in the vocal parts. I am seeing how much of our rehearsal process with the singers will be spent making decisions on exactly where to breathe, and how each breath affects the meaning and tone of the text. Mark and Kimberly have given us terrific text to work with– clear and communicative, taut, often very funny (wry, sarcastic, sardonic). And they are words that will sing nicely– words that are always evocative, but leave plenty of room for the music to add meaning. We LOVE this. And it makes us really WORK.
It became clear to me today that my next step, my next pass through the score needed to be looking at the string quartet. Tonight I worked slowly through Part 1, tracking exactly what each player is doing from measure to measure– are they playing arco or pizz, sul tasto or ordinary, where are the places that each player might need cues from me, etc…. Now I feel like I am starting to scratch the surface of the musical structure of the piece. I am not spending a great deal of time on each section, trying to break apart every element of its architecture. But I am recognizing the passages that recur verbatim, and am scribbling little notes to myself along the way– “m. 59” when a passage matches another that started at measure 59 for instance. These will be little reminders when I go back later to investigate further.
“Perfect Boy” is going to be hard. OK, I am officially scared of this number. Fast, 6/8 and 5/8 in different patterns… sure, nothing I have not seen before. But the way the strings stay in their 6/8 patterns while the voices jerk into a halting 5/8… that is going to be tricky. Rehearsal time. Oh yeah, we don’t have a whole lot of that!