Pauline, day 2

May 14, 2014

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.

Nerves can run high on the first day. In my experience, the first day is the director discussing their vision and showing set designs and maybe some costume designs. Then everyone goes into music rehearsal. You want to really know your stuff for this rehearsal and you need to be confident. In school we heard (horror) stories of how people who didn't know their stuff on the first day of rehearsal would be replaced. An extreme situation, but in opera you need to have come to the rehearsal period having done all the work. This work normally involves sitting at a piano and learning the notes and rhythms, listing to different interpretations of the work, taking your part to a coach and teacher and spending money upfront before you even arrive at the rehearsal space, and then finally practicing and memorizing you part till you know it cold. This is both expensive and time consuming as well as being the nerving wracking part! You have never sung you part along with anyone but maybe a coach or along to a recording.

So, please imagine yourself in a room full of people who have worked very hard, both the singers and the technical, artistic and administrative team. There will be jitters, nerves, awkward laughter, lots of posturing and egos flaring. People will do a lot of funny thing to make sure they are comfortable and to not show they are scared. This day was different though. We were all so happy to see each other, as many of us have worked together before professionally and as student. We had also had the opportunity to workshop and even perform the opera last year. So we were on a different footing with one another, then a regular first day.

Cathleen Gingrich