Posts Tagged ‘Marc Lowenstein’

Among Erin Thompson’s many brilliant contributions to the show, maybe none of them were as dead-on and necessary as the frozen treats she brought for all of us yesterday. It was right up there with Ivy’s Margarita Mondays (which became Tequila Tuesdays):

For the penultimate rehearsal, I sat in the Skybox, which I think is really a spectacular place to see the show. Right from the beginning you have tenor Jonathan Mack ascend to your level for his aria to the sunset:

I also loved the ability to see so much of the world splayed out in front of you and watch the intersecting lines of the cast’s choreography through the space. What you can’t quite see is very satisfyingly filled in via video monitor.

Scott Timberg for The Los Angeles Times printed a fantastic feature story with a lot of pictures. I really love that he sees one of my values as “instability,” which to me might be equated with a sense of “potentiality,” “openness,” and eschewing of fixed values. That is indeed of tantamount importance to this project and to what I believe in for opera (and, for that matter, life) in general, so I’m glad he picked up on it.

I think I speak for everyone when I say: it’s all sinking in that there is only one rehearsal left!

We all spent Monday getting finishing touches in place to make the warehouse feel more like a performance space for Thursday’s opening, so the photographs are not particularly compelling…Luckily, Timur asked his friend, photographer Dana Ross, to stop by on Sunday, and he took some fantastic pictures:

Today’s tech was about one of the more challenging scenes in the libretto: the ghosts flee the cemetery as they hear a new hurricane is coming, one will really wipe Crescent City off the map. Marie Laveau gets this information from a Bound Ghost, who informs her: “All the baddest ghosts are out for blood. Please let me stay dead: I can’t live through another flood!”

I’m excited about how this will be portrayed in the production but don’t want to give it away, as I think the surprise element is crucial, but I’ll offer these pictures as a hint. (I’ll also say that our conductor makes a phenomenal cameo in this as well…)

Appropriately for a day about ghosts, Martin Gimenez and Ryan Ainsworth spent the afternoon in “quiet time,” ringing out the space so the amplification will be as pristine as possible.

Today we rehearsed two of the principal voodoo possession scenes, which seemed like a fitting first day to introduce the chromelodeon, Harry Partch’s amazing pump organ, which Anne has used in her orchestration for Scene 11, and which resides in Olga’s Dive Bar.

The sounds inspired us to have add a few more voodoo possessions, namely at the top of Act II by our Reveler Stacia Hitt:

And we’re adding filmmaker to Maria Elena Altany and Timur Bekbosunov’s many talents…and challenges in this production!

The orchestra and the singers came together for the first official time yesterday to play through the entire opera from about where they will be in performances: the orchestra in the loft and the singers among the installations. It was the first time for all of us to hear it together, and Marc did an incredible job keeping it all together under extremely challenging circumstances:  singers scattered all over the place with no direct eye contact with the conductor; lots of electronica; brand-new and at times fiendishly difficult music that has only had three previous rehearsals; and a first integration of amplification. We all had our first opportunity to hear what the sound reinforcement would be through Martin Gimenez’s design. His system has a lot of power and a great ability to create surround effects, which will be great when we get to the wild electronic numbers, but the space also has a presence and intimacy that allows us not to lose the acoustic beauty of the natural voices.

The scenario is nonetheless a bit of a composer’s nightmare, since the perception of sound is radically different depending on where you are in the world of Crescent City. So Anne was listening all around, and amazingly always seemed to have a smile on her face!

“For the first time ever, I have a gravitational advantage on the singers!” Conductor Marc Lowenstein began his orchestral rehearsals from the loft at Crescent City, with 18 amazing players:

It seems like every day we add a significant new layer to the experience of Crescent City, but the orchestra adds a myriad of new colors to the world of the opera.

In rehearsal with the Revelers, we added a River of Death into Crescent City that Baron Samedi will navigate expertly:

And planned the “catastrophe” scene with The Revelers’ attacking the Good Man:

It was a whirlwind of a day in Crescent City today as we power through the opera scene by scene, and focusing on three individual, virtuosic turns. Today we made it through the first half of Gwendolyn Brown’s monumental first scene, complete with her exciting first entrance in the cemetery:

We then proceeded to explore the bitter drag queen in Timur Bekbosunov–made complete with 7″ heels that he quickly felt right at home in:

The scale difference between the towering Timur and me (of mere average height) made for a pretty entertaining rehearsal:

And finally moving on to the stoic, powerful music for Cedric Berry, who looked so fantastic in and around Mason Cooley’s Shack.

At every step, I am awed at Anne’s primordially powerful and wild score–I think the audience will be astounded at every turn at her musical imagination. I know we are doing our best to match it visually and spiritually (in terms of the performance)!