Friday, 22 June 2012

End of week two of rehearsals

Hello after a long break!

Well, by some miracle I actually finished the opera, even though it involved quite a few 19 hour days, including one particularly horrible one where I realised that rehearsal marks didn't match up between the vocal and full scores. But it all worked out well in the end and seeing the published scores helped to convince me that it was actually done! Finishing something this big was quite a bizarre feeling and I felt without purpose for quite a few days. I always get that feeling but this time it was particularly pronounced!

Anyway, so almost immediately the rehearsals started (the singers had had their scores for a few months as I wrote the community participation sections and did the orchestration last.

To be honest, when I finished the score, the last thing I wanted to think or hear about was Amy Johnson! But my enthusiasm has been totally revitalised by being in rehearsals. It's SO amazing to see people bring what was in my (and Adam's) head to life. More on this later. Also amazing to see all the things other than the words and music - as I type this I'm watching the lighting being plotted, and over the last week, when I've been practicing (I have to play the piano for the Friday performances) I've seen the set taking shape (designed by Hannah Sibai).

The instrumentalists are great, and everything is taking shape really quickly, in no small part down to Jonny Lo, the fabulous conductor working on this project. It's a wonderful feeling as a composer to feel that you don't really have to say anything in rehearsal because the conductor understands exactly what you are aiming at, and this is definitely the case with Jonny. I've learnt to be pessimistic at the beginning of orchestral rehearsals - no matter how good the musicians are (and they are very good!) the music always sounds a little muddy in the beginning stages - but then as the musicians get to know each other, and the music, and 'get' the music, as it were, then it's like a camera lens gradually focusing. You hear all the little details that were clear in your head, and that's when for me it gets really exciting!

And of course there are the wonderful singers: Natalie Raybould, David Pisaro and Rebecca Lea. They are truly inhabiting the characters now in ways that I could not of imagined. Natalie just becomes Amy on stage and all are utterly utterly convincing.

More later about other things....just the guilt of not posting for a while finally got to me!

Finally, this is a picture of me helping to transport percussion earlier today...good to do something practical after using up all my brain cells on the music!

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