Next week I start rehearsal for the new chamber opera Pauline. Written by Margaret Atwood and composed by Tobin Stokes.
I am not the main character nor do I have a heavy load of singing, but I'm so proud to be part of the production and to be premiering a work a believe in. I am playing the Nurse, an IODE (Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire) lady and a society lady/spirit.
The music is memorized and coached. The costume is fitted and thanks to three different workshops last year we have an understanding of what the directors vision is. Now I get to wait...
The third in a series of avant-garde performances, in this instance showcasing young Canadian filmmakers and composers, Synesthesia III was a captivating event that worked to redefine how we perceive film and music. Presented by FAWN Opera and New Music, in collaboration with The Seventh Art, the performance illustrated some of the innovative and ambitious minds at work in Toronto’s contemporary art scene.
Well we have all survived the first day. Not just the cast, but my son and his babysitter too.
We began on Monday by meeting the crew and the rest of the technical team. We had a tour of the York theatre and our safety briefing. The director, Norman Armour, spoke to us about setting up his vision for the piece and how we can enhance this along with the artistic team.
It was a busy day to begin with, as three of the cast also had auditions for Vancouver Opera scheduled in the afternoon, myself included.
We finally got to hear Tenor Adam Fisher sing his parts as well as Bass John Minagro. They are the two recent additions to the cast, so it was very exciting to have an aural picture of what the sound will be like. We only have to wait one more week for the Sitzprobe to hear the orchestra. It's all very exciting.
We started with all the ensemble parts and moved on from there.
Day 4 and we have now had two days on the stage at the York Theatre.
Rehearsals are going swimmingly. We have sketched the bare bones of the pieces: the ins and outs of the scenes. And we have moved on to adding more life to the creature. The cast is continuing to get to know one another and the atmosphere is light and full of a working energy. We know we can do this!
Rehearsing in the theatre. What an unexpected treat.
We have had the joy and the privilege to have rehearsed the last week in the York theatre.
This is an unusual treat to have as most productions begin in a rehearsal hall or studio of some sort. Instead of a set you normally imagine one to be there and it's dimensions are taped out on the floor.
We arrived to an almost fully prepped stage with furniture already placed and spiked (a piece of tape is behind the legs so you can see where it needs to be in the dark).
One of the most interesting discoveries I've made during this process is that I'm identifying with certain aspects of Pauline Johnson's life. Specifically the double life she led.
In interviews (like this one...http://www.cbc.ca/nxnw/featured-story/2014/05/18/pauline-by-city-opera-vancouver/) Charles, Margaret and Rose-Ellen have all spoke to the fact that Pauline was a woman who had her feet planted in two different worlds. In speaking with the cast and the production team they all identify with this part of her on some level.