Thursday, 24 September 2009

Moving up a gear

Well, whilst it's been relaxing in one sense to spend the past few weeks doing, basically, bugger all, in another sense (generally the pedantic, OCD, over-sensitive one), it's fabulous to start getting down to the nitty-gritty.

Today's agenda went roughly like this:

6 a.m.: Wake up. Realise it's seriously chucking it down. Revise projected clothes for today. Worry about whether I've remembered to bring that particular top with me. Worry about whether it reveals too much. Choose another one. Remember I haven't brought along a cardy that would go with that...

9.20 a.m.: Meeting with new Operndirektor (head of opera at the theatre) (I think this went OK but was so busy trying to chatter nervously in German that I suspect I lost most of the gist).

10 a.m. (ish): Coffee in canteen. Discussion with lovely prompter and her family about dentistry (her eldest son kept hitting his nose rather violently; I gathered rather hopefully that he had a cyst, they'd given him an anaesthetic, he couldn't feel his nose, and resented this; otherwise, I had breakfast with madmen). I feel I failed to convey the subtleties of finding an NHS dentist in the current climate...

11 a.m.: Konzeptionsgespräch (for those who understand a small percentage of German, as I do, this is not as interesting as it may sound - it's a conversation about the concept behind the piece, rather than about conception). I was very glad I'd gone through the score translating what I wasn't sure of; it meant I understood what the director was saying for the most part. I concentrated hard on laughing when I should, and shutting up when I wasn't sure of what he'd said (nothing worse than people asking why you're laughing when you don't actually know, you were following everyone else; I learned this the hard way on the school bus some decades ago).

About 12.30 p.m. (losing track of time by now): Lesenprobe. This consisted of us reading out the spoken bits and either (a) sweating with nerves (me) or (b) falling about with laughter (rest of cast).

Some time after that: cycling home, stuffing cheese and apple down gullet, and falling dead asleep for a couple of hours (probably the weather; it's due to rain again). Warning: learning German can seriously damage your nervous system.

5.30 p.m.: Catch up on e-mail; coffee, half-hearted ashtanga yoga and practising swearing to wake self up (latter helped by, yes seriously, what looked like a hermaphrodite appearing from next-door flat and asking me to keep the singing down during its exams).

7.30 p.m.: Rehearsal for first entrance, with director, pianist, costume people, set people, etc. Absolutely priceless! It occurred to me during the first few minutes that this was what I love about the theatre. I buggered up the German left, right and centre. My "husband" laughed his socks off. The soprano, whose character (my daughter) is meant during my aria to be attempting suicide in various novel ways, managed to half-destroy a sofa, nearly brained me with a falling wall, and ended by pinning herself giggling to the ground by means of a rehearsal dress snagged on an errant nail.

I'm going to enjoy this!


  1. What is the Opera?

  2. Bluebeard, given the Offenbach comedy treatment then translated into German... (yes I know, hard to imagine!) - I'm playing the queen.

  3. Ah! I only know the Bartok version.

    Obviously I am going to have to look at the Offenbach.