Saturday, 28 March 2009

Why do we do it? Well, the buffet lunch helps

What a week it's been: rehearsals, ooh, every other day. Almost like doing a real opera.

Wednesday we had some additional music run-throughs which were, frankly, a bit overdue. I pitched up at 4ish at Goldsmiths, and we hacked through the 'Jeremy Kyle show subtitle: Figaro can't marry Marcellina because she's his mum' recit and sextet.

What always amazes me about singing is just how much physical and intellectual detail is involved before you can get it even half-right. The position of your jaw in the Italian 'a' vowel sound (totally different from English); knowing when to put in a passing note, contrary to what the score says, in a recitative; where in your upper body that particular vowel sound should come from; striking that balance between speed and restraint in the recits... Even in the simplest diatonic phrases, the capacity to get it wrong is immense.

Thursday was the Act III finale, which involves the ambitious notion of a Wedding Dance. There was a fine turnout, and I was pleased to see friendly faces such as Helen C, Xenia et al. But the choreography turned out to be quite a dog's dinner, or cat's cradle, or elephant's tennis match, or something. Nan's proposal for us all to do a 'seeeeexy' knee-bend as part of this terpsichorean wish-list delivered big in amusement value, if less big as an aphrodisiac.

Helen and I had a good giggle because it took us back to primary school, this 30-odd class of nice-natured but short-attention boys and girls being encouraged by Miss to do something a bit beyond their current skill set, and reacting by going off into little groups playing cat's cradle or football in the corner.

Then there was Saturday. We had a music run-through at Nan's house. A few people were held up by the G20 demo in central London, or by their full-time jobs, and it was a shame, because by the time they arrived the lovely buffet lunch Nan had dished up had largely been scoffed. Those of us who cycled there, and so of course arrived early, profited.

Richard B came along to accompany. It continues to astonish me how much time, effort and energy people are willing to put in for free, or for ludicrously small amounts of money, to come together and make an opera. All for no real payback other than a few minutes of people smiling and clapping. Most of it really does seem to be the sheer enjoyment of making music.

No comments: