Saturday, March 17, 2007


Tomorrow starts a very busy week of symphony work for me. We are presenting a partially staged version of the opera "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Arguably one of the most recognizable operas ever written, it is filled with music that I can guarantee you've heard someplace else. Go ahead--click the player up above and listen to the overture. It was used extensive throughtout the 1976 movie "The Bad News Bears". Also using the music was Episode #72 from the 3rd season of "Gilligan's Island", where the castaways stage "Hamlet, the Musical", with Harold Hecuba (Phil Silvers) as the Producer, and using bits and pieces of Bizet's opera.

I could give you a synopsis, but you can go here to read up on it. It's got gypsies, Spanish music, flamenco dancers, bullfighters, horses, love, war, deceit, death, etc., etc. All the stuff that a good opera has! As far as the actual music, Bizet was smart enough to only use the trombones in the important parts, so we come off fairly heroically, without having to do a great deal. Can't say the same about the strings or the woodwinds, but hey--they could have chosen the trombone years ago! And it helps that this music is so fun to play. I've never been a big fan of opera--I generally hate to listen to it. But playing in a pit orchestra like this makes it alot of fun1

So where's all the work come from? Well, there's going to be about 220 people involved in this thing, with the orchestra being just another cog. The principal singers will get the glory, but they also will be doing the most work. Hours of musical rehearsals, blocking rehearsals, costumes, lighting, make-up, and stage work. There's nothing worse than sitting in the orchestra, waiting for the other cogs to be up to speed. Granted, that's what the rehearsals are for, but we don't have to like it... So that's where I'll be most of this week. Fortunately, we have no rehearsal on Wednesday night, so my regular activities then won't be affected. But other than that, my surfing will be hit and miss all week. Wish me luck!

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