The Magic Dream – Day 3 from LA Opera on Vimeo.
Three days of staging down, and we’re two numbers shy of having the whole show on its feet.
Watching the video footage from today’s rehearsal, the word that kept coming into my mind was ensemble.
Let’s face it, you can’t do opera by yourself. Singing in the shower aside, there’s very little you can accomplish without another person there. We need pianists, orchestras, conductors. And most importantly, audiences!!
Part of the joy of staging an opera is that you get out of the (sometimes coffin-sized) practice room and into the rehearsal room. When you get a great group of people together, ideas start bursting like popcorn. The director guides, filters, shapes, the performers bounce off one-another (in this production, sometimes literally!), and a show begins to emerge. What you get is something greater than what any one person could conceive of by themselves.
The other joy is that every show brings together a new group of people. Some faces will be familiar, some will be new. By the end of the show you have a handful of new acquaintances, and it’s safe to say at least one new true friend. As life goes on and career paths diverge, you find you have comrades all over the world. I know if I was traveling I would have a couch (or better yet, guest bedroom!) to crash on in at least seven countries. And the door swings both ways: I have two separate “opera” friends who will be staying with me in Los Angeles in February alone.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: what’s special about opera isn’t just what we give to the audience, it’s about what we give to each other as well.