Another week finished

Monday 28 September 2009

Another week finished. Saturday night: a concert with ETO artists at the RAC tomorrow, but otherwise free.

Some bruising, as one might expect, but in general high spirits and good news.

Last rehearsal room run of Tolomeo this afternoon: well focussed and clear, I think, with big strides from Clint van der Linde in the title role. Not only has he a generous voice, but he is generous enough to give everything he has to this demanding part, right at the heart of misery. The whole cast pitches in to make it intense and important, at every moment. By the end, you see 5 very different, full colour destinies in what could be a routine chorus: it’s a major feat of concentration.

Flavio had its first run in the morning. Both Clint and fellow counter tenor James Laing are in both operas, so it was an exacting day for them. It is SO different. We have to keep from laughing too much in rehearsal, as it is comic death to find yourself funny! Both operas are wonders of economy, and vocal genius.

Meanwhile Teseo was in sitz proben (literally sitting rehearsal, singers with orchestra) upstairs, and the wonderfully committed RCM understudies were working on Alcina with Bernadette Iglich in another room. I hate to admit it, but sitzen are my favourite rehearsals, and I hated missing this one especially, as Teseo is all brilliance and virtuosity. I did hear some fantastic ornaments in ‘Vieni, torna’, featuring two bassoons alongside Claire Booth, and some pin-you-to-the-back-of-your-seat spitfire from Anne Marie Gibbons and the strings in Teseo’s sword-brandishing number, causing soprano fainting fits.

They must think me very odd in the Alcina room. Whenever I walk in they are rehearsing very sexy bits, very precisely. Were they this sexy when I made them up? Anyway, understudies Suzy Shakespeare (great name!) and Anthony Gregory were not knocked off their stride when I poked my head in at break time. Bernadette really makes them create the world of Alcina, all water and poetry and improvisation. I have high hopes of this production: replacing 3 of the main roles at pretty short notice was not fun, but it has introduced me to some terrific artists (Natasha Jouhl, Wendy Dawn Thompson and Celeste Lazarenko) who arrived beautifully prepared.

One evening I even managed to meet up with soprano Amanda Echalaz, currently rehearsing around the corner with ENO; Amanda created our Alcina – and Fiordiligi, Jenufa and Tatyana – so we have become close colleagues and I have followed her richly deserved success since then with real pleasure.

I have a cold. I am prodigiously tired, and fantastically lucky to be in the middle of all this.

I’d better look at the programme proofs.

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