Sunday, May 17, 2009

LIVE! Sitzprobe Smackdown--Sunday, May 17, 2009



Orchestra rehearsals excite and terrify me. I'm still wildly excited at the thrilling prospect of singing over an entire orchestra that is playing, at various moments, for my voice alone. I'm also still completely terrified that during one of those rather long soprano and tenor stretches I'll start daydreaming about lying in bed, eating bonbons and watching the Real Housewives of New York City reunion on "mute" while listening to the Callas Mexico City Aida, and just as I'm lipsync-ing that crazy long high E-flat at the end of Gloria all'Egitto--

I will suddenly hear utter silence....!

Thirty stone-faced instrumentalists, one irate conductor, all of the double-cast principles and the better part of the chorus are staring at someone behind me. Oh no...they're staring at me.......I can't figure out why.....wait...

I've just missed my entrance. And then I fall over and have a stroke.

As you can imagine, this NEVER happens. Reality-Anthony pays far, far more attention to his operatic surroundings than "paranoid imagination-Anthony" does, but the fear of the latter beautifully supports the hyper-attention of the former.

98.7% of Ballo's sitzprobe went off without a hitch. Our conspicuously able assistant director, Mr. Chu, had to pull some strings (ahem-ahem) to get things running smoothly, but overall everything with thrillingly rendered by the orchestra.

I hastily scribbled down my impressions at various parts of the rehearsal, which were as follows:

2:25pm--Looks like the other Sam is not going to be at this rehearsal, which means that for one rehearsal SAM IS MINE!!! To quote my Act 2 solo ensemble entrance, "Ha Ha Ha! Oh how delightful...."

2:37pm--Orchestra warming up. Various solo instrumental parts of the opera popping out here and they're well-played and in-tempo (!!!). Promising. A tenor is warming up loudly somewhere. Isn't there always?

2:47pm--First Sam/Tom entrances over. Voice feels thick, intractable and foggy. Thank you, seasonal allergies. 2pm is still morning for bass voices, BTW.

3:05pm--Act I Scene 1 finale just finished. Orchestra played quickly and brilliantly. Voice feels a bit better, though unsure whether my three high F's came out because everyone was screaming at the top of their lungs on the same note. Oh well.

3:13pm--Act I Scene 2. Ulricas (Ulriche?) just finished their entrance. BIG difference between Slavic female mezzo and American counter-tenor timbres, needless to say. Their vibratos are engaged in a vocal Cold War.

3:57pm--Just missed an entrance by a beat. That little noodly flute thingy in the orchestra was for me? Yikes.

4:28pm--One chance with the orchestra. Two sopranos. Two vibratos. Too many high notes. One bad idea?

4:40pm--Very end of opera went by like a bat out of hell. Unsure whether my mouth made pitches and words at that speed.

5:36pm--It just so happens that we won't have time to go over the second half of the second act, which, of course, is my big moment. F%€k. S#!t. Stupid soprano and tenor bits.

5:47pm--Verdi's brilliant and all, but I haven't eaten all day and I will starve and die much faster than these opera folks.


Back to staging rehearsals this afternoon. (grumble)

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