Well, you could really call it a soft-start – as the chorus start in a few days, with the principals starting in a week.
The Pinchgut rehearsals are at the Opera Centre in Surry Hills. The fortepiano, that we have borrowed from Neal Peres Da Costa, was moved in early this morning, with Erin Helyard also in early - keen to get his fingers moving on the keyboard. Andrew Johnston, production manager, had been moving props and other staging bits in for several hours before the 10.30am start. Our trusty stage manager and hat lover, Sophie MacKay, Alison Johnston, artistic administrator, and myself where also there.
Then it was over to our director Mark Gaal, Erin and our three “Fates” (actors from NIDA - Sean Hall, Nicholas Gell & Jake Speer). Mark started by simply playing the opera through (using the Decca recording with Christopher Hogwood and Cecilia Bartoli) and commenting on what will be seen on stage, while Erin talked about the music including the unusual aspects of the text with the music etc... Mark went though the lighting moods and action and what the audience will experience. For example - during the overture the audience will listen to the beautiful music with some clever lighting and simple staging with the Fates – in order to orient themselves for the action to come next. Mark is a genius and has really come up with a brilliant concept.
Elsewhere, everyone is arriving in Sydney. Elena Xanthoudakis (Eurydice) arrived on Saturday and Andrew Goodwin (Orpheus) is here already with his family. They will have some coaching sessions with Erin and Nicole Dorigo during this week. Derek Welton (Creon) arrives next weekend - and all of them ready for their rehearsals from next Monday 15 November.
We’re all feeling very inspired and excited – with much to do! It’s always so good to start rehearsals and I know many of the choristers, principals etc.. are eager to get into the rehearsal space.
Photos of Mark, Spohie & Andrew; the 3 Fates: Nick, Jake & Sean.