a little something extra

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Russian Peasant Extravaganza

Hereafter, the RPE.

The L.A. Philharmonic plays its summer season at the Hollywood Bowl -- which, as has been pointed out to me, was historic before the sports industry started calling playoff or championship games "bowls." To close this summer, they programmed a concert presentation of the opera Boris Godunov. Yes. The whole opera.

Since the group from the Pacific Chorale did such a good job with the "Alexander Nevsky" film score last spring, the Phil has rented us again -- this time more of us, about half of the Chorale's total forces. So for the past two weeks, 80 of us have labored mightily to learn the choral part of Godunov -- happily not too extensive and not very difficult musically, which freed us to apply all available brain cells to the fiendishly challenging Russian text.

This past Wednesday, at our most recent rehearsal, the singers started to get on top of the text. A few times, and more and more as the rehearsal went on, we were able to peel our eyes up off the page, start taking cues from the conductor, and sing as a group. Which is always a great feeling -- it's a large part of what I do this for.

A former boss of mine used to distinguish between feeling like you're driving the bus, and feeling like you're being dragged behind the bus. We had been dragged for several rehearsals, but this most recent one saw us taking some moments in the driver's seat.

The next rehearsal is tomorrow evening, even though it's a holiday. We'll troop up to Disney Hall to rehearse with our piano accompanist and the conductor who will lead the performance.
Here's hoping we remain in the driver's seat for that rehearsal.

We get together with the orchestra on Wednesday morning, rehearse with them and presumably with the opera soloists on Thursday morning, then perform Thursday night.

I'm thinking about what to do with Thursday afternoon, when I'll be up in L.A. with a few hours to spend. Maybe the L.A. County Museum of Art? or the Museum of Contemporary Art? or maybe I'll schedule another visit to M* and H* and see how baby G* is getting along -- they live right in the same neighborhood where the Bowl is located.


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