|Aureliano Perile, tenor|
Puccini: Gianni Schicchi
Opera Project Columbus
June 15 and 16
Last night's rehearsal had more singers but no Gianni Schicchi. Puccini and Dante's Gianni had an adult daughter. My Gianni has a toddler and a cancelled baby sitter. I missed him. But we went on and did some good work.
I arrived at the church basement to find the room set with tables, tablecloths, chairs, even a vase on each place. I had to move things around to make room and was sweating away when who should show up but the church sexton. Nice older gentleman. He wasn't too pleased with me since he had just finished setting UP these tables, etc. I don't blame him. "Big luncheon here coming up." I doubt it's during the week but okay. I promised him everything would be as he left it. And it very nearly was. I can't promise every table cloth was on daintily but I did my best. Never mind the piano is missing a caster because I stupidly moved-dragged it -myself. "And they ripped up part of the floor" said the Sexton. "Imagine!" I replied. How careless!
Then my morning was cheered by a photo my myself looking like a fat godfather, taken in rehearsal. You want to brag about weight loss? Don't wear a baggy untucked shirt on a hot night.
Well yes, but its not about me. Rehearsals are going well. One role still not cast. Another was kind enough to e mail me to say I live far way, it's three lines and if I get to one or two rehearsals that's plenty. O-KAAAAY.
And our ten year old boy was so proud of getting his line right! He's three measures ahead but I will personally beat up anybody who gets on his case about it.
The Maestro will be at rehearsals next week .He's my friend and I love him. He's a fabulous musician. To listen to him playing with the Italian text is a joy. What if he hates the staging? Non mi frega niente. It is important that he establish the tempi he wants so the stage action is better timed.
Also I was shown a diagram of the stage with the orchestra seating re-arranged. Initially the orchestra-twenty six pieces-was to be split in half onstage. Leaving us a mall 'corridor' to use. And use it we do but we also use the house and every corner where the orchestra is not. (I'm an audience participation kind of guy)
Now we may have the orchestra all together on a slant upstage This leaves a piece of the area but it will be all ours-and we will still have the lip of the stage for our 'promenades' plus the house. This might be a good compromise.
I've been thinking about the blood and guts of performance. See the above photo of Aureliano Pertile. He wasn't born with a great voice but words, guts and musicianship made him a great artist.Verdi and Puccini do not lend themselves to a pristine performance (paging Renee Fleming) You need some blood in your singing. You need just that touch of arrogance that tells the audience THIS IS IMPORTANT AND I OWN THE STAGE. Verdi and Puccini always win, mind you-but you need to sing and act LARGE (you no longer need to BE large)
Guts. Fearlessness. Like this: