The third week of rehearsals for ETO’s Autumn 2013 season is drawing to a close and the three productions are starting to take great shape. The final batch of props are being sourced and made by the stage management team, fight scenes have been choreographed and, in Jason rehearsals, we have witnessed Hercules throwing Medea into the ocean!
Observing rehearsals of Jason this week has been very insightful. Director Ted Huffman has been working on a scene towards the end of Act I, which really takes the character of Medea in a different direction. Medea, previously identifiable as the object of Jason’s love, now becomes a pagan witch. In her magic chamber, Medea sings of the ‘caverns of mystery’ and calls for the king of the underworld to protect Jason on his quest to discover the golden fleece. In scenes like this, where the action is so far removed from any sense of reality, great imagination is demanded of the singer. Whenever I have observed Hannah perform on stage I always felt very attached and drawn to her character, partly because of the beautiful music but also because of how much Hannah seems to open herself up and live her character. Even though the witchcraft addition has completely changed my perception of the character, I still feel like Medea is a very tangible character.
IMG_0909Jason (Clint van der Linde) and Medea (Hannah Pedley) with Delfa (Michal Czerniawski) and Hercules (Andrew Slater)
It has been such a privilege to be involved in ETO’s rehearsals and to be given an insight into so many different aspects of the company, from creative tasks to the more administrative activities, I have learnt a great deal about the whole process of producing opera. This week I have continued my work on the production books, making sure that the blocking notes are up to date so that the cover casts can be rehearsed with ETO’s staff director, Olly Platt. I have also been preparing surtitles and helping in the final proofs and edits of the programmes, which will shortly be sent to print.
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PJ Harris is an aspiring director, recent graduate of the University of Leeds, and a production intern at ETO. This post was originally written for ETO’s ‘Opera that Moves’ blog.