Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Stand by Me--Thursday, May 14, 2009
I am by no means an ideal salesclerk; I am by turns arch, indifferent, impatient, haughty and preoccupied, highly reluctant to stoop and vigilant for signs of presumption of my abject servitude, upon which I pour a withering yet polite scorn. My best customer service always stems from a boredom so abysmal I 'm willing to try being The Best Sales Clerk Ever as an acting exercise. I possess a perpetually louche slump that comes from occasional despair and standing for 7+ hours a day.
It's like working with Baudelaire, really.
Opera is a heady antidote to all this--ask for some customer service and I'll plot your assassination for the better part of three acts. Yet, as I was reminded by last couple of staging rehearsals, in the world of opera there is still a lot of standing around to be done. I haven't sat in a chair onstage since 2007, and that was while singing Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte. In consideration of that particularly horrendous situation, I'd gladly give up a lifetime's worth of onstage chairs.
Our rehearsal of the camp-fest Ulrica Scene from Ballo (Act I Scene 2) was brightened by the addition of a conspicuously able assistant conductor and an assistant director who acquitted himself admirably of his rowdy-chorus-scene traffic cop duties.
Me, the other Sam and our sidekick, Tom, stood stage left and looked vaguely threatening and suspicious while a tenor pretending to be a sailor sang an ersatz sailor song, a mezzo and a countertenor simultaneously prophesied the tenor's death, a coloratura soprano pretending to be a boy interjected occasionally with above-the-staff yipping, and a bass-baritone who was really a sailor started yapping about how the fake sailor is really a king. Cue tenor singing anthem to his own greatness in unison with the coloratura yipper, motley crew of peasants praising king to the counterpoint of evil Sam and Tom complaining about aforementioned peasants and.......scene! Ballo is one of Verdi's more circus-like operas, which must be why I love it so much.
Sitzprobe this Saturday (!!!)--Callas has just gone on to join the angels in Maria Callas Remebered, so nothing stands in the way complete submission to G. Schirmer score brain saturation....