Wednesday, May 2, 2007

puppet opera recap

The puppet opera is done, and it was a lovely and joyous experience from beginning to end. Sometimes, I think experiences come in to our lives at the exact time and in the exact way that we need them, and this was definitely an example of that. Some thoughts on the process, in no particular order:
  • Everyone involved in this project was so wonderful to work with. I realized close to the end that there had not been a negative word spoken since we had started the project -- no tension between the performers, no talking behind anyone's backs. It was very refreshing, and made for a really easy rapport between everybody involved.
  • I realized how much I've been missing chamber performances. There were 12 people involved in this project -- 5 singers, 4 instrumentalists, and 3 puppeteers, and as we all became comfortable with the piece and each other, it was so fun to engage in play with each other in rehearsals, and in every performance. There were eight performances, which is a lot (at least, more than I usually get to do with the same group of people), but it never got even a little bit old and stale. The singers and instrumentalists traded ornaments, the puppets reacted to us, and vice versa, and there was a real sense of synergy. It's the same feeling one gets working with a great pianist on a recital, but the feeling is multiplied when there are more people involved. This particular piece was almost entirely recitative, so that allowed even more play between characters and with the continuo players. I'll get to do some chamber music at Banff this summer, so I'm really looking forward to that.
  • Even an intense rehearsal schedule (we put the show together in one week, with about 6 hours of rehearsal every day) can be made pleasant with good colleagues, tea, and lots of high quality chocolate!
  • There's a lot of change happening in my life right now. Most of it is good, but change is always hard. I think that being around so much joy and love and laughter every day has really opened my heart to allow some things in that I probably would have resisted otherwise. In a time when lots of things are feeling out of control and unsettled, it has been a real blessing.
  • This has been a season filled with Baroque music for me, and the more I do the more I love it. I'm feeling more at home all the time with the style, I'd be very happy to have much more of it in my future!
  • I got a great compliment from a friend who came to see the show. "I've never seen or heard someone act so much with just their voice!" The musicians were all dressed in black and sitting with music stands at the side of the stage, so the audience could see us, but the puppets (obviously) were the center of attention. Singing a role (well, 3 roles, actually) from a chair, with no staging, gave me a great opportunity to explore characterization in other ways, experimenting with different vocal colors, and really delving in to the text in a detailed way. We do this as performers onstage as well, of course, but isolating these elements was very rewarding, and something we don't often get to do. I felt like I grew a lot as a performer from the experience. What a great way to make a living, right?
Now, on to the next thing. I have an audition and competition at the end of the month that I need to prepare for, and hopefully assignments from Banff will be coming soon, so I'll have lots of music to dive in to. More on all this soon!