First day of rehearsals

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Woke too early, anxious and then happy. Regret the writing I did not during the sunny weekend.

First day of rehearsals for this monstrous and beautiful Handelfest. Teseo is the one with which we are starting. As usual, I am nervous, and as usual I blather about history (civil war again) and mythology (Medea and Theseus) and religion (the Hanoverian fear of the Catholic, and specifically French Catholic, woman) and sex. But there is a wonderful, excited atmosphere. It helps that the piece is so rich, the musical quality so brilliant. The opera sparkles, shines – and then Medea’s aching, lonely, groans and bloody fury put great dents in all that polished silver.

I have a slight advantage in knowing the whole story, having prepared it for more than a year before directing it in 2008 – but I am reminded that in our production we reinstated some text (had to set it and all) that Handel had cut before performance, and that the text is absolutely crucial for the story to work. Of course, I forgot to make sure that page was sent out… Amazing how clear it all is when you perform it, how bewildering sometimes on the page.

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