Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Concert for Peers

There is something magical about the first run through of an Opera. In many ways, it is not just another rehearsal run through, but it is a concert for peers. There is a unspoken, mutual, respect amongst all the performers. It the last opportunity that the Company: Principals, Stage Crew, Chorus Members, Dancers, Staff, and really, anybody involved with the Opera, are all joined together in one room.

It is also the first time that the Principal singers are able to share their scenes with the other performers since they rehearse these solo scenes independently of the chorus. The schedule is so that the Principals rehearse in the afternoons at the Jubilee Rehearsal Hall, and after a dinner break, they are joined by the chorus to rehearse group numbers. Thus, the first run through grants other members of the cast the luxury of seeing the opera in its entirety. Once the company moves on stage at the Jube, there is diminished opportunity to hear the music as an audience member. Your attention is drawn to other performer tasks such as checking the hair and make-up schedule or waiting for pages on the intercom from the Stage Manager.

Therefore, the Rehearsal Hall run through is a chance for the whole company to experience the Opera in its entirety. Lining the perimeter of the Rehearsal Hall, the company sat with rapt attention on Thursday night, their gaze focus on the action in the middle of the room. The Principal singers sang full-voice as they unleashed emotional torment buried within their core. They allowed the company to experience the full weight of Eugene Onegin's love story within such an intimate setting. The intensity of the entire Opera was heightened just due to sheer proximity.

I found it hard to focus on blogging. I could not help but ache when watching Tatiana's emotional torment or the desperate frenzy I felt as I watched the duel scene between Eugene Onegin and Lenski unfold. Reading a Wikipedia did not prepare me for the helplessness I felt as I watched Lenski sing the heart-aching Aria, Kuda, kuda vĂ¯ udalilis, before he goes to meet Eugene Onegin for their duel.

Even though the Aria was sung in Russian, I had no trouble deciphering the intent of his message as I now consider this English translation:

Where have you gone, o golden days of my spring? 
What does the day coming has in store for me? 
It escapes my eyes, it is hidden! 
Shall I fall to the deadly arrow, or will it pass by? 
All for better, there is a pre-determined time 
For life and for sleep Blessed is a day of simple tasks 
And blessed is the day of troubles. 

Will the day beam shine in the morning 
And the bright day shall reign 
And I, well, will I, perhaps, will descent Into mysterious darkness of my fatal tomb? 
And the memory of a strange poet will fall into Abyss 
The world shall forget me, but you, you, Olga! 
Tell me, will you, the maiden of beauty, come to shed a tear 
Over the early urn And think "he loved me, he devoted to me 
The gloomy dawn of a troubled life!" 
Ah Olga, I did love you, 
To you alone I devoted 
The gloomy dawn of my troubled life 
Yes Olga, I did love you! 

My wonderful friend, my dear friend, 
Come, for I am your husband.

Where have you gone, o golden days of my spring? 

The run through is such a unique spectator opportunity because there is an organic ease about the performers. You could hear the soft chuckles as Tatiana almost began penning her letter with the wrong end of the quill or marvel at the organized dance numbers throughout the show. You can also hear the rounds of supportive applause following the final scene and Onegin offers the intimate crowd a smile.

The last moments in the Rehearsal Hall are cherished ones before moving all the activity to the Stage.

All photography by Nanc Price 

Eugene Onegin Tickets

DateTimeBuy Tickets
Friday, April 19, 20138:00 pmPurchase online
Sunday, April 21, 20132:00 pmPurchase online
Tuesday, April 23, 20137:30 pmPurchase online
Thursday, April 25, 20137:30 pmPurchase online

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