A Midsummer Night’s Blog Post

Well, hello there!

My name is Max Zander and I am a 19 year old tenor from New York, currently studying at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. I am pleased to be returning to HSOW for my second year, after singing Monostatos in last year’s production of Die Zauberflöte. This year I am singing my first Britten opera, playing Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

It was quite something to come back this summer and know where things were and not be such a stupid American… Best of all though was coming back and seeing all the friends who I haven’t seen in a year! That said, it really is such a small percentage of the people because there are a helluva lot of people this year (75 or something). I think everyone was a little surprised at how many people there were at our first whole group meeting at 11:00am on Monday (day 1), but I can tell you with certainty that everyone that has been a part of HSOW before was just blown away by the amount of people were gathered together to take part in this program.

I won’t bore you with too many details about the first two days, as I’m sure that the framework has been explained by at least one of my fellow bloggers, but I will say that I was celebrating when I was informed that we weren’t playing the “name game” this year. Last year, we all went around and said our name with an alliterative adjective before it (I was Magical Max) and then the name and adjective of every person that went before us. I can say, somewhat proudly, that I only messed up one person’s adjective, but it was a horrifying game and when I saw how many people are participating this year… well let’s just say that I was ready to excuse myself from the meeting.

Other than the main welcome meeting and our individual production meetings, it was all about music rehearsals. Britten is tricky stuff and working on it has been a blast. Midsummer has three distinct groups of characters, the best of which is the group of six amateur actors known as “The Mechanicals*” (I’m biased). I was really looking forward to plugging in all the other parts and not just singing my part senza piano. I’m super pleased to say that all of us get along well and are going to have an awesome time working together! Music rehearsals with the mechanicals have been a lot of fun and we’re all trying to count like crazy to make sure we’re correct and together. It’s been tricky since we’ve all be rehearsing at different tempos, etc. but there’s no doubt in my mind we’ll get it down pat (pat, pat…sorry. Midsummer reference. If you wanna get it, you better come see the performances next month!) real soon.

Today was a blast because we got to work on the play (my favorite part of the opera) and I just had a ball. I look forward to the next time we do it and the time after that and the time after that and…well, you get the idea. Also today was our first masterclass, given by Lenard Whiting. It was great to hear the other singers sing and I enjoyed singing for him. (Lenard is also the vocal coach for Midsummer and I look forward to coaching with him on Friday!) It’s always nice singing for the HSOW participants as well because everyone is just so encouraging and nice — it’s very safe. Even after two days, everyone just wants everyone to do well.

After the masterclass, a whole bunch of us went out for a bit and had a drink (some ate as well) and got to hang out. It was really nice and I’m excited to get to know everyone a bit better.

Anyway, I look forward to being here, on your computer screen, sharing my experiences and adventures in Halifax with all of you lovely people! Check back soon for more updates from either me or any of my fellow bloggers or anyone that updates the site!

Happy and Musically Yours,

Max

*In the opera’s score, the mechanicals are referred to as “rustics,” but one of our directors, David Mosey, has made it clear that — by definition — they are not actually rustics.

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