Friday, January 11, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
CATS - The Opera
Monday, January 07, 2008
Why, you ask?
|First I ask you truly...who the hell is Sloopy anyway? I played that catchy 60's tune, "Hang On Sloopy," when I was in the pep band in high school 20 years ago and I'm still hearing it at college and professional sports arenas. Watching the BCS Championship game between LSU and Ohio St I heard the song and rushed online to find out why. Ok, so Ohio as adopted the song as it's "Unofficial" fight song. But after all these years I still don't know WHO THE HELL IS SLOOPY?|
Ok, back to opera.
Day 4 - the "Stumble" through.....
There comes a time after all the staging has been unchronologically sketched out, scene changes and transition assignments have been preliminarily assigned, and that unforgettable motivational speech, "you better start remembering your frickin' music!", after all that fun it's time to put it all together, block upon precarious block.
Today was our struggle through day for Boheme. We started from page one and struggled through each scene and act transition until we got it right. This talented and learned team of singers was given three days to be presented with the directors vision and staging ideas. That doesn't give much time for deliberation. Yet, we are a talented and philisophical group. The consumate acting questions were still brough up like, "why would my character make such a move?" "I don't feel that my character would be motivated that way." "I'm sorry, it's just difficult to sing on pitch when I'm suspended upside down." The usual constructive dialoge one hears during staging.
I have been acting and singing on stage for 23 years, professionally for 20 of them. I have learned when to ask the important question, "why", and I have learned friendly cooperation is the BEST quality between actors and creative staff. Sometimes you just have to take what the director says and find the motivation to do it, even if the direction makes no coherent sense at all. Case in point, The Flying Dutchman, aka "STOMP" the musical, I wrote how absurd it for 25 men to stomp around on stage looking like a bad marionette show. But, we find a way to make it work. We find the motivation and just do it. Or, we don't find the motivation and just do it anyway, 'cause that's what the genius avant-garde director wants.
Believe me, if I were preparing a role for a major Broadway tour show or a premier at the Met, I would be asking a lot of questions. I would want to get everything right. But for this production of La Boheme I know it is a Readers Digest condensed 50 minute show aimed at Jr. High & High school audiences on a portable set. I take my direction and staging with a smile and find my motivation. Let the big boys handle the tough questions.
Tomorrow dress rehearsal...in a 40 pound coat. Oy!
Friday, January 04, 2008
Benefits of learning new roles
|Day 2 - Thursday|
Rehearse rehearse rehearse. 7 hours of staging and reviewing. Gotta get this little opera on it's feet ASAP! I have performed Boheme before as Schaunard in Italian. I have filled in last-minute for this project to perform Colline and Alcindoro in ENGLISH. It's certainly a different learning curve memorizing an opera in English that once was completely learned in Italian. Performing Colline is a bonus to me, I feel, because as a Bass-Baritone I get to utilize the nice low notes, and have yet another role under my belt for this popular show. Later we shall be performing a concert version of our La Boheme in Italian with orchestra, so having another role memorized in Italian is bonus.
New Year, New Life, New Project
|Day 1 - Wednesday|
Here we are and here we go! Today I begin a new adventure as a member of Portland Opera To Go (or, affectionately labeled "POGO"). Met and gret the 5 other cast members of POGO's Boheme and proceeded to get down to business. We have a talented cast with varying experiences. The soaring music of Puccini resounded in the rehearsal studio. Ah, Puccini. A performing artist who is fortunate to listen to Puccini all day for a living is truly blest indeed. After a few hours of music rehearsal we spent a good 5 hours staging acts I and II on our portable and compact set. As a seasoned performing artist I can tell you that staging that many hours at once is exhausting. I went home and after a quiet meal I fell asleep by 8pm. An early night for me.