Friday, June 30, 2006

hidden talents

Well, I returned from Wisconsin last week and jumped right in to final rehearsals for a show. A friend and colleague, JW, has started a new opera company here in Seattle, and tonight was the first performance of a great double bill of Menotti operas: the haunting, disturbing The Medium, and the silly, hilarious Amelia goes to the Ball. I had two small roles, singing the 2nd chambermaid in Amelia and covering Mrs. Nolan in The Medium, so I've had lots of time to sit and observe in rehearsals. J has found his calling, I think. He has a real knack for all the tasks of putting together a cast and production, things that many other people (myself included) would find intimidating, tedious, or overwhelming. He has a fantastic knowledge of repertoire and voices, and chose great pieces and a great cast. He took care of so many little details, and managed to get almost a full house tonight, no small feat for a couple of fairly dissonant, twentieth century operas on a gorgeous Seattle summer evening. He also hired a stage director with lots of acting experience, who has never directed before, and took on the job with great aplomb, and has done an absolutely fantastic job. It was no easy task for one person to simultaneously stage two such completely different pieces, and his ideas have facilitated some powerful, moving, witty, and hilarious performances.

Amelia culminates with the heroine whacking her husband in the head with a vase designed, of course, to shatter impressively onstage. Tonight, someone accidentally hit it and it broke all over the table. The director didn't miss a beat. In an instant he was backstage with tomorrow night's vase and some flowers that had been given to the stage manager before the show, cutting them to the right length and arranging them deftly in to a lovely display. Then, he grabbed the other chambermaid, and the two of them waited by the entrance for the perfect musical moment (he knows, apparently, the entire score by heart), at which point he sent her scurrying on to clean up the mess and freshen the flowers. That's the kind of person I want around in an emergency!

There's another performance on Saturday, for those of you in Seattle -- check it out if you're around!

1 comment:

Ariadne said...

Hooray for live theater (and a quick thinking director)!