March of the trolls

As you can see if you look to the right, I tweet. I don’t like Facebook but I like Twitter. I like the way you have to focus an idea into 140 characters.
One of my fellow Tweeters is Rebecca Caine, a soprano whom I worked with in the early 80s when we did “The Gondoliers” at Sadler’s Wells. I didn’t get to know her very well – we only had one scene together I think – though we bumped into each other once while doing different operas in Nice in the 90s. I haven’t seen her since. I stumbled on her on Twitter, decided to follow her and it turns out she’s an excellent and witty tweeter. The other interesting thing about her is a parallel with my wife Lucy in that she has managed to work both in opera and in musicals. Indeed Rebecca was in the very first cast of “Les Miserables”, a show I’ve never seen, nor I confess have much desire to see. But the point is, she’s no slouch.

On the good ship Lollipop

It’s a funny thing, rehearsing a tragedy.
I’m no dramaturge or theatre theorist so I’m not sure if there’s a strict definition of Tragedy. I’ve always supposed Tragedy to mean a drama in which the “hero” comes a cropper, in some shape or form, as the result of a fatal flaw, event or decision. And I’ve always supposed that in the best tragedies there is usually a moment at which the plot comes to a crossroads and, despite the entire will of the audience to take one route, the other fatal direction is the one chosen and the story takes off towards its inevitable, terrible conclusion.
If only Desdemona hadn’t lost her hanky eh?

Reach for the skrei

My wife Lucy has been here for the last three days, which has been good for me but not so good for blogging. She leaves again tomorrow just as we have grown used to being together again. Contrary (probably) to what you may imagine, a few days if reunion isn’t like a brief honeymoon. I’m having to work during the dreariest part of the rehearsal process – stage and piano technicals, and Lucy is readying herself for her next job which starts in Geneva on Monday (a new house for her), and try as hard as we might, it is often hard to relax.

Being studious

So, I’ve had a few days off rehearsals. Days off rehearsals are both adored and resented by singers, in pretty-well equal measure, though I lean much more to the former.
I’ll explain. The resentment bit first.
You’re away from home to work, you’re not being paid (because singers are never paid to rehearse, only to perform, something which I keep banging on about because very few people believe me), and yet you have to stay in the city. In theory you might be able to go home but as often as not it’s impractical or hideously expensive. Some opera companies forbid it; you are not allowed to leave the city without the consent of the boss. You’re renting expensive digs (and yet you’re not being paid). You’re thinking: I could have arrived here a week or two later, paid less rent, and still got the job done in the time I’ve been used. You could find yourself in a city that is, very often, an absolute armpit (I’m thinking Liege here) with no redeeming qualities whatsoever and sod all to do.