Welcome to HSOW 2011: from a singer’s perspective.
It feels like I’ve been in Halifax for a week, and it’s only Day 2 of the program. Already I’ve met a ton of great people, forgotten most of their names, and had some exciting rehearsals.
We started off the program yesterday with a group meeting. The circle of chairs continued to expand and grow, as more and more people poured into the room. There were over 45 of us in the room, including singers, musical directors and stage directors. It’s the largest group yet to be involved in HSOW, and we were all excited to be there.
We split off into two groups, as each opera discussed settings, character ideas, and plans for the shows. For Magic Flute, we’re doing a modern concept, and it was fascinating to hear people’s takes on their characters. Since the opera is completely double cast, it was especially interesting when two people playing the same character had differing ideas. The beauty of opera is that you are given a score, with words and music that need to inform your character, and yet the scope of different ways to play that character is vast. The Magic Flute must have been performed millions of times before, and yet we are coming together with fresh ideas, knowing we’ll be performing it in a way that’s never been done before, and will never truly be duplicated. Each individual involved will put his or her own stamp on it.
From then on, we’ve been in music rehearsals. We’ve been working through the score, singing through each scene. It’s been so thrilling to hear all the different voices, and see how much work people have already put in to this opera. We’re required to show up with our roles learned and memorized, the same way that you would be required to for a professional engagement. It’s also fun to sing with the different voices double cast. Every time I sing a duet or a trio, there are two different voices I might sing it with. It’s fun to wonder how we’ll be cast, but we won’t know until Friday evening.
And finally: costumes!! Costume sketches were posted on the first day, and they look gorgeous.
Tomorrow we start staging, and I can’t wait.