The entire weekend was tied up with our performance of Carmen. Rehearsals Friday night and Saturday morning, with performances Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Even with sections cut from it, the piece was 2 hours and 45 minutes, including half-time. The weekend took on the tone of perform-collapse-perform-collapse.
Friday night was our first time hearing it all the way through. There were snags, of course. The Chorale didn’t have a full score, and the soloists were singing sotto voce so we couldn’t get our cues from them. Saturday’s rehearsal went better. Saturday night’s performance was great, but it still felt a bit like a dress rehearsal. Everything finally came together Sunday afternoon. The audiences at both performances seemed to really enjoy it.
I had warned Laura about the length and about the fact that it’s in French. Even having rehearsed the show for so long and knowing a little about it, there were still huge sections I missed. I think I was finally piecing the action together by the fourth time I’d heard it all the way through. Laura, on the other hand, didn’t have the benefit of that repeated hearing. The soloists were great actors, and did an excellent job of conveying content with actions and facial expressions, but it would still be nice to know what’s going on. I think my attitude would be to treat it like ballet – as more of an abstraction, and just enjoy it as is or hope for the best.
Speaking of ballet, I always enjoy watching Edvard Tchizvel conduct. His motions are always highly stylized and choreographed. He can be hard to understand in rehearsal, but his conducting tries to express every nuance of the music. The result is a dance that is as much a part of the enjoyment of the orchestra as anything else.