30 April 2013

The Haushofmeister’s Diary, Part 12: Our Very Own Sitzprobe

Show time! The Ariadne cast, orchestra,
and Maestro Illick in Bass Hall.

It’s happened to me so many times. Teresa Stratas is singing in a small, beautiful theater, before an orchestral ensemble led by a distinguished conductor. When the time comes, I take my place beside her. We sing — sometimes from the classic repertoire, and sometimes an entirely new work that we improvise on the spot. We are magnificent. The audience cheers. Weeping with gratitude, I fall into Teresa’s arms —

— And then I wake up.

Guardian angel: The auditorium ceiling in Bass Hall.

The great curiosity, then, is that I did not wake up yesterday when I took my place at the center stage, looked down at the distinguished conductor Joe Illick and the massed forces of the Fort Worth Symphony, and joined a brilliant cast of singers in a performance of Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos with the Fort Worth Opera Festival.

This was real.

It’s the mark of a true diva to know at all times
when there’s a camera in the room.
Audrey Luna (Zerbinetta) casts a wary eye on a certain clumsy amateur photographer, while Marjorie Owens (Ariadne) looks on.

What follows is a selection of photos from among the 250 I took last night. (I’m not cheating you: most of the pictures were terrible.) This has been an astonishing adventure, and thus far it only gets better: tonight is our “piano dress,” with costumes but no wigs, makeup, or orchestra. Bis später!

Willkommen zu Hause, meine gnädige Damen und Herren!

Unofficially, this year’s Festival is the Season of Soldiers: there’s at least one in each production. David Miller (left) is Ariadne’s token soldier, Zerbinetta’s boyfriend; Michael Adams, who plays a Customs Officer in Bohème, sings the role of the Lackey — the Haushofmeister’s subordinate — in Ariadne.

Friends from other productions dropped by to listen. Left to right, David Blalock and Caroline Worra of Glory Denied shmooze with our Jeni Houser. Standing: Emily Urbanek (back to camera), stage manager Joe Gladstone.

General director Darren Woods has sung the Dance Master, in his day — which explains how he knows every lyric in this opera.
Ian McEuen picks up a pointer or two.

When life gives you pits, make music!
Maestro Joe Illick with the Fort Worth Symphony.

It seems that the score still holds a few surprises for tenor Corey Bix (Bacchus), but Marjorie Owens (foreground) is more than ready for her close-up.

Mezzo Cecelia Hall as the Composer.

Stephen Lusmann as the Music Master.

Ian McEuen as the Dance Master.

Aaron Sorensen, the world’s youngest Alcindoro, sings the Wigmaker in Ariadne.

Ganz nicht jämmerlich, unser Schauplatz!

Maestro Illick conducts an opera, the title of which escapes me.

Backstage: Through this doorway, I make my second entrance.

Backstage: The Café Momus and a villager’s cabin from Daughter of the Regiment.

Dream Girls: Amanda Robie, Corrie Donovan,
and Jeni Houser as the Nymphs.

Send in the clowns: Michael Porter (Brighella), Anthony Reed (Truffaldin), Zac Engle (Scaramuccio), and Steven Eddy (Harlekin).

Marjorie Owens: “Es gibt ein Reich.”

Zerbinetta (Audrey Luna) and her boys:
Michael Porter, Anthony Reed, Zac Engle, Steven Eddy.

“Großmächtige Prinzessin”: Audrey Luna sings Zerbinetta’s tour-de-force aria.

Through every kind of coloratura and notes only Jesus can hear, Audrey keeps going...

...and going...

...and going...

...and going! Seriously, she is beyond spectacular.

Soon, however, Marjorie and Corey will get their turn.

“Is your name Theseus? No? Well, I don’t mind.”

“Just don’t tell Circe about this!”

Corey Bix as Bacchus.

Getting the last word: Marjorie Owens and Corey Bix,
with Joe Illick in the pit.

Play on!

1 comment:

Anne said...

The excitement is building and already its at a slightly uncomfortable level( that's a compliment on your writing and emotion ) I can't imagine a dress rehearsal!

There is something about the time when it's still just among those involved and coming together. One can see how it is and have an idea how it will be when performance comes ...wow

Keep taking those photos!