I am on way to Pearson Airport. However, this time I am not going anywhere, but I'm picking up my wife and daughter returning from a vacation in Paris.
These past days have been increasingly busy. We had the piano dress rehearsal of The Flying Dutchman on Saturday night, followed by two stage and orchestra rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday. To me, Christopher Alden's production, which we have done in 1996 and 2000, belongs in the same category as Brian Macdonald's production of Madama Butterfly. A timeless COC classic. We have a fantastic cast led by Evgeny Nikitin (watch out for him on youtube, you will be surprised) and Julie Makerov. In the pit, our new Music Director Johannes Debus is already creating a lot of excitement with his truly modern vision of conducting Wagner's music. There will be one more stage and orchestra rehearsal and a dress rehearsal before we open on April 24th.
Maria Stuarda had its final run-through in the rehearsal room on Sunday evening and it will be on stage for a piano rehearsal tonight. The COC has rarely done bel canto operas and I am looking forward to our performances. Of course, this kind of music lives and dies with the quality of singing and I am proud to say that we have assembled a stunning group of bel canto specialists. Our Stuarda will be a vocal feast.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Rehearsals / comments (0) / permalink
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I am writing this after the second dress rehearsal of Madama Butterfly. It was the fourth complete run-through of the piece we have done in four days. Tomorrow will be a free day and then we will have the opening on Saturday to arrive at a total of five Butterflies in six days.
In order to understand this high density of activity you have to know that we have planned a total of 15 performances with two different casts. We are proud that in each cast two out of three principal roles are sung by graduates of our Ensemble Studio, David Pomeroy as Pinkerton, Yannick-Muriel Noah as Cio-Cio San, James Westman and Brett Polegato as Sharpless. And there are many more Ensemble Studio members and graduates singing supporting roles.
Both casts need to be properly and equally prepared and rehearsed, of course. After tonight's rehearsal everybody should be ready.
Earlier today we had our monthly Board meeting. Not that I've ever had a bad one since I've started at the COC, but today was an especially good one. We are privileged to have a group of extremely committed Board members with a great enthusiasm for the art form of opera in general and our company in particular. Their guidance and expertise has helped us navigate the company through all recession difficulties and together we have developed some exciting initiatives to ensure the COC's bright future. How good to have your Board on board.
Just before this evening's dress rehearsal we started the season of our extremely popular Free Concert Series at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. The members of our Ensemble Studio sang in front of a packed and enthusiastic auditorium. As we prepare to open our mainstage season it is great to have this wonderful series back as well. From now on there will be two or three concerts every week, most of them at noon. Watch out for our program and make sure that you come early enough to get in!
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