Countdown week

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Countdown week. The shows are at Dress rehearsal stage: the challenge is to keep warm the shows that open next week, while bringing the first 3 to the final stages. Yesterday’s dress of Teseo was strong – the great excitement comes when a piece like this is sung and played so rhythmically. Anne Marie Gibbons and Claire Booth have the longest phrases imaginable, with devilish coloratura – and both are on top form! Our model for Anne Marie’s swordplay in the title role was Terence Stamp – as Sgt (?) Frank Troy in the film version of Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. Claire and Paula Sides are sharing out the Julie Christie inspiration!

At the same time, Flavio had its final sitz (‘sitting rehearsal, singers and orchestra) – always my favourite, as everyone sings so well. Today we will be working on keeping the recits zinging. Our theorbo player commented on how different the recits are from one opera to another – Ariodante’s stern drama plays at a more measured pace, while Flavio’s effervescent semi-seria surprises at every turn.

Today it’s Tolomeo’s turn to dress. James Laing is back with us, so we should have the full cast for this wonderfully concise piece. It’s an exacting week for James and for fellow counter tenor Clint van der Linde, as both of them are in Tolomeo and in Flavio. Happily, both are in top form!

At this stage I am frantically grumpy about press, and all that I think we should be getting that we aren’t. We are getting quite a bit of ‘ we have had enough Handel in the news’. Can you imagine anyone saying this about blooming Wagner, or Mozart, or Verdi? Did any one of them create a golden age of opera here in this country?

Once in a while I get a bit of perspective on things… and am treated to Das Lied von der Erde (LSO at the Barbican) or Spiral II on the box. I even cleaned the bathroom today, before going to the library to see if I could find some interesting letters from daughters to fathers and vice versa, or will, poems, diary entries. I am collecting these for a performance of the Carissimi Jephte we are putting together fopr the National Churches Trust.

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