Well, last Thursday's rehearsal went comparatively well. That's a bit like saying Derek Conway MP is honest compared to his Italian or Nigerian counterparts, but at least it was something of an improvement, with quite a few people knowing several of their entries.
And there was plenty of entertainment. We were doing the Pub Scene where Bob Boles, viz me, gets roaring drunk and tries to chat up one of the Nieces. My efforts to portray the beaming pisshead caused a fair bit of amusement, possibly for my staggering acting ability, possibly for my staggering, or possibly just because of the novelty of seeing me sober pretending to be drunk.
We also did a couple of run-throughs of that pesky 7/8 round about Joe and his idiot son going fishing and, do you know, we pretty much started and finished in the right place. I'm beginning to think that we might just get through this opera without having to take down our Facebook pages out of embarrassment.
In the evening I went out to ENO to review their re-run of Anthony Minghella's Madam Butterfly. (You can read it on the Sky Arts website.) It's really rather good, despite the odd sight of Butterfly's three-year-old boy being played by a wooden puppet. Actually the puppet was one of the best actors on stage. That's meant as a compliment to the blokes working him, not a dig at the singers, who were jolly good.
Though I was a bit distracted by Ashley Holland's Sharpless, who was a dead ringer for Hale of 1990s TV duo Hale and Pace. I kept expecting him to break off into an aria about 'the Management', though of course Puccini didn't do comedy very well. A bit like Hale and Pace I suppose.
I went with Casey, who is doing the Butterfly/Suzuki Flower Duet later this year with Jenny somewhere for someone. So she could come along and make some notes. Casey is playing the very Niece that I slobber over in that Pub Scene; so she was remarkably composed, considering that earlier that very day I'd been repeatedly groping her in E flat minor.