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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Conducting vs Directing

This past Friday I agreed to conduct the final production here at Brevard: Puccini's Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi.  I'm replacing a conductor who had to cancel at the last minute.  The students in the casts gave me a rather sweet ovation when David Gately announced it (no audible groans, thank the gods!) We open in less than a week and while I'm excited, it has posed a bit of an identity crisis the last few days.  
Brevard is a busy place, and we've just closed a great production of Hello Dolly on Saturday.  At the same time, we've been trying to get up a 2nd scenes program that is going to be performed THIS Wednesday at the Porter Center in Brevard, NC.  A paying public is coming and we're doing scenes from the following operas: Partenope, Don Giovanni, Cenerentola, Falstaff, Boheme, Little Women, Strawberry Fields, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Peter Grimes, The King and I, Turandot, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Walküre, and the Merry Widow.  IT IS A HUGE PROGRAM.  I'm directing (as in stage directing) the first half (Partenope thru Strawberry Fields) and playing some of the scenes in the second half.  So for the past few days I've been directing scenes, coaching scenes, and conducting musical rehearsals for the Puccini double-bill.

Some obvious thoughts on all of this: It keeps me busy.  I've lost some weight already (conducting is a great work out!) I've not had time to block any of the remaining scenes because my mind is already on the upcoming orchestra rehearsals for the Puccini so it's forced me to think on my feet.  I've rediscovered how great it is to conduct Puccini. I'm ticked off at the singers who aren't as excited as I am to be working on these masterpieces and I'm thrilled with the singers who are MORE excited than I am to be working on these masterpieces!