I am surprised how many people introduce themselves at the King for a Day performances by telling me about their lifelong quest to see all of Verdi’s operas. I’m so glad that these folks found us at The Barns, and even though we’re unlikely to have more Giuseppe on our season any time soon, I hope they’ll come back.
Turn it Down
The biggest patron topic, next to the operatic bucket list, is volume. As in, patrons asking the house manager to turn down the amplification system. (There is none.)
I’ll admit that we worked through a few moments of unbridled decibel-level competition at the beginning of the rehearsal period. But thanks to our artistic team and the sensibilities of our fabulous singers, we have since found a wide range of expression – in volume and timbre – appropriate for each character. So no, it’s not a shouting contest. But even though this is early Verdi, it still calls for voices with more heft than do most of the Mozart/Rossini/Handel operas we typically produce.
Yes, there are some moments in Giorno that lift the roof of the barn. It’s what Verdi intended, and it adds to the ebullience that is a wonderful defining feature of this production. We programmed this opera because we found an abundance of larger-than-typical voices during last fall’s audition tour. Had we produced Giorno with more slender voices, it would have been like an out-of-focus picture. So we allow the sound to expand to fill this vehicle, and we encourage these singers to stretch to the full measure of their wonderfully versatile instruments.
A shout-out to the best graduates of the 2008 crop. We’re so proud of you. Keep rocking our world!