It’s so good to hear you together!” – Erin’s exclaims after the first run through of their first duet. And boy, do they go together. It’s such an art to cast well. And we certainly have a Eurydice and Orpheus that go fabulously together. Our artistic team, Antony, Erin and Alison work very hard to get the best and well-matched voices; it’s a skillful and clever business.
Last Friday, the men’s chorus had their first rehearsal. It’s so powerful hearing Haydn’s music by this strong and talented group of men. The chorus in this opera, as explained by director Mark Gaal, are primarily the Gods – sometimes they comment on the action, sometimes they direct the action, but they never get their hands dirty. They have the Fates as their servants to carry out their wishes. Unusually the men and women quite often sing at different times; the men have more of the music at the beginning with the wild shepherds and the abductors, and the women have more of the music towards the end where they are the bacchante.
One of the differences in this setting to other Orpheus interpretations is the addition of Creon, Orpheus’ father. The two men have very different responses to the longer term impact of the death of Eurydice; Orpheus can’t find a way to move forward and is unable to recover from his loss; Creon finds a way not to get lost in his grief, and is able to move on.
Derek Welton is our Creon. He arrived in Sydney yesterday and was thrown by Sydney’s high temperatures and humidity! Even though today is cooler he’s still feeling the oppressiveness. It’s great to hear a baritone after the higher voices of Orpheus and Eurydice, and it gives him a lot of authority and gravitas as Eurydice’s father. He has some lovely arias, which he sings beautifully, and all three are very different.
Here are some photos of the last few days of rehearsal….
photos: Men’s chorus in first two photos; Elena & Erin; Mark gives Derek the low down on arrival; the awesome team of Nicole Dorrigo (lanaguage coach) & Erin; Derek get's measured up; Derek now confident he knows everything thanks to Mark; Eurydice and Orpheus finally together! - Elena & Andrew.