The sitzprobe took place at LSO St.Luke’s (the London Symphony Orchestra’s rehearsal and education space) which is a fabulous venue (a converted church with a great acoustic and space to fit the chorus, singers and orchestra). The orchestra and singers were on fine form. The score is such fun. There are some gorgeous, romantic passages interspersed with what I would call filmic/cartoony writing. There’s real humour in the music. It’s the type to make everyone smile at some point. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Ed wanted a specific colour from the orchestra. Sometimes needing a dry sound from percussion, rather than that of a bierkellar. Also the strings needed to find a smoky, sensual sound to aid the storytelling. The piano accordion passages are a fun and unusual addition, it’s such a distinct sound. It also links the score to the on stage action, by having a set that is a huge accordion. Ed was great at conveying the story to the orchestra, giving them an idea of emotion in which to find the right colour. This is the time when the balance between the voices and the orchestral playing starts to getting calibrated making sure the final sound at the Coliseum is as tight woven as possible.
In Julietta, the soloists and chorus need to spit the words out in the fast sections. Diction is key in this piece as it’s such a strange and sometimes confusing story. Peter Hoare sings the role of Michel and has some stunning music to sing.
I’m always excited to hear the orchestra at a sitzprobe. Rehearsing with piano accompaniment in this particular piece has been alien to what the score really sounds like. You can’t get the mood and colour of the score without having the orchestra to bring it to life. Martinů’s character music is expressive, humorous and quirky. There’s lots of fun, percussive sections that were lost with solo piano.
The opera has now come alive for me and we start to rehearse on stage in the actual space, with the set, costumes and props. This is the point where Martinů’s imagination, the beautiful orchestral sound under Ed Gardner and Richard Jones’ direction will become one and take us to the final straight to the stage and dress rehearsals.
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Claire’s shots from the rehearsals