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Swan Song in the Woods

A great week of bringing opera to the kids. Probably about a thousand of them all together. Lots of enthusiastic feedback. (Today’s 6-person story included a rapper/narrator singing Rossini, (I never would’ve believed it if I hadn’t seen it), a jailor, a prisoner, an evil landlord, a genie, and a fortune teller.) We had set

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Don Giovanni!

What a marvelous opening. It’s gratifying to allow our young singers to sink into these bread-and-butter roles, but it’s intimidating at the same time. To quote from director Ned Canty’s 4,000-word (!) initial email to the cast: “Finding the right tone and the human truth in the piece is like tap-dancing along a high wire,

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Cinderella Falls into a Pond

Once upon a time in a house, Cinderella and Manny Ramirez went to a pond until Captain Hook came to marry the princess. The mezzo-soprano Manny Ramirez was a big hit with most of the audience. Who says trouser roles stretch the imagination, anyway… Day off rehearsal for Giovanni cast, and they need it. Terre

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"The Uninvited Guest" times two

One of the best things about this week in the woods is getting to drive the electric golf cart. Simple pleasures. Today’s improv challenge: Once upon a time in a castle, a knight and a king played poker until a donkey came to eat the cards and ruin the game. Today’s improv opera “The Uninvited

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The Wizard’s Pool

First foray into the woods. Theatre-in-the-Woods, that is. Load-in at 7:30am. Didn’t get home from last night’s tech rehearsal until 12:30. Ouch. We finally had a chance to try out our improv project on real children, and we lived to tell the tale! Today’s “mad lib” format netted the following challenge: Once upon a time

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Sitz in the rehearsal room

Giovanni Sitzprobe, this time not in the theatre, but in the rehearsal room. It’s a trade-off. The Sitz in the theatre gives us an extra rehearsal to acclimate to the performance space, but it brings with it the typical difficulties in pit-to-stage coordination. A Sitz in the rehearsal room is more luxurious on a purely

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Perfido! Briccone! Scellerato!

The !*&%(^ supertitles* aren’t done yet! Every year I say I’m going to write them in the spring when things are calm. But the spring passes, and summer shifts into high gear, and somehow the calm period never comes. There no reason on earth why I put them off this long, but I did. Grrrrr.

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"Master Class"

Yes, in quotations. Because it’s not, really, strictly speaking, a “Master Class”. The training of most young singers includes a few run-ins with something called a Master Class, in which a famous singer humiliates students in front of a paying audience while pretending to impart the musical wisdom of the ages. Sorry, that was a

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Designer run-through

Finally. Straight through Giovanni. Again blessed with a remarkable cast. We always feel fairly secure about the vocal chops of our young artists – there’s a range of ability to be sure, but in general, they wouldn’t have gotten this far in the business if they didn’t have solid instruments and techniques. The sheer depth

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Back to my roots

Blogging falling into serious neglect these days. Because “Instant Opera” is a brand-new project, one that we are developing as we go along, I’ve put myself in the cast. Have enjoyed it thoroughly, but it’s made this week an endurance test. I am astonished daily by the enthusiasm with which our artists have thrown themselves

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