Saturday, April 24, 2010


It happens to me at least once during every Barber of Seville production. By the second week or so, we get to staging the second Act, when Rosina and the Count start all their canoodling. It usually begins in the lesson scene, followed by even more hanky panky in the quintet, trio, and finale. By the time we get to these rehearsals, I've usually gotten to know my leading man a little bit, (if we didn't already know each other) and we've probably already staged a moment or two where we have to be kissing or at least hugging, so we've gotten comfortable with each other. Add to that the fact that I am a total goof-off (a "just one of the guys" tomboy) who likes to make jokes, and by the time we reach the end of my second act aria, both the tenor and I have finished with all of our significant singing, and are relaxed. Plus, the director usually has to spend a good long time with Bartolo and Figaro doing the shaving scene, and the Count and I are usually over at the Harpsichord, with the direction that we're supposed to be flirting with one another, so we inevitably start chatting.

And without fail, we totally get busted by the director for being disruptive in rehearsal, like two school kids who get caught goofing off in class. Either we get caught up in a conversation (at Opera Pacific, the tenor Brian and I were really into talking about food production in America and self sustaining farming, and Scott the director was always having to clap his hands and mutter, "stay with me people"), or more likely, I get the tenor into trouble because I try to make him laugh. Tonight at rehearsal, the director very gently made the universal symbol for two people who are yapping - his two hands in the air, talking to each other - and gave us a smile that said, "kindly focus on the task at hand, you two." I whispered to Nick, "BUSTED! This happens to me every Barber. I'm sorry! It's totally my fault."

I can't help it. I'm a goofball. My excuse is that I need to bond with the tenor so we can have good chemistry for the opera, but the truth is that I'm super chatty AND I really like to horse around. I am very rarely disruptive enough so that the director gives me the stink eye, but somehow with Barber, I always seem to get really goofy by the time we get to the second act. I think it's because Barber is such a comedy, and everybody gets used to being funny, so the jokes just start taking on a life of their own. I really think I would be happy as some kind of slapstick comedian doing Three Stooges skits all day, every day.

I don't want to paint myself as one of those people who doesn't take rehearsal seriously - that's definitely not the case. As I've written about in previous blog entries, I adore rehearsing, and find it totally stimulating and fun. Just sometimes, I find it a little too much fun. And while the director might shush us a little bit, he or she is usually not terribly annoyed, because they know that if a spirit of fun permeates rehearsals, it will make its way into the comedy, infusing it with that extra element of joy that brings all the jokes to life. So when Chris told us to quit yapping today, he did it with a smile that said, "I love you two, just shut up your mouths for a little second, would ya?"

So we did. But we learned a valuable lesson. The next time we feel the need to yap during rehearsal, we'll be smart enough to stand near Danny, the Figaro, so we can blame him.


Unknown said...

I'm sorry this isn't specifically related to this post, but I was wondering if I could ask you a question? I've been reading your blog for awhile, and you said in a post awhile back that you started out as a soprano. How did you know to switch to mezzo? Did you hear a difference in your voice, or feel your voice becoming more comfortable in mezzo rep? Or both? Did it feel strange at first? If you're ever stuck on what to write about, I would love to know more about your transition from sopranohood. :)

Best wishes,

sestissimo said...

Hi Zoe -

Thanks for your comment - I promise to write a post about that subject soon!


Unknown said...

ooh, thank you!