Friday, July 22, 2005

Don Giovanni!

What a marvelous opening. It’s gratifying to allow our young singers to sink into these bread-and-butter roles, but it’s intimidating at the same time. To quote from director Ned Canty’s 4,000-word (!) initial email to the cast: “Finding the right tone and the human truth in the piece is like tap-dancing along a high wire, with a pit full of alligators on one side, a pool of magma on the other, and a frothing mass of critics poised at the other end, holding a pair of wire clippers, a wild-eyed look on their faces. Worst of all, we are competing with the audience's platonic ideal production, complete with CD quality sound, a cast composed of all of their personal favorites, and production that conveniently blurs over all the difficulties of the piece.”

To bring this piece to an audience in the so-intimate-it-feels-naked-sometimes atmosphere of The Barns is a scary and exhilarating thing. But to have them respond as they did this evening is well worth the risk. Everyone did their absolute best work, and that is itself is payoff enough for me.

I gave my first Giovanni pre-show talk at 7:00pm tonight, and I think I finished planning it at 6:55. Months ago (on paper), combining tech week, the writing of supertitles, preparation of the pre-show, and playing Instant Opera performances seemed reasonable. As my kids would say… NOT!!! I’ve been in more than a little over my head. I hope to survive, but if I don’t feel at least a little regret, I’m afraid I’ll push the envelope even further next time.

P.S. In the woods, Mariah Carey and Batman went sledding every day, until a bear came to eat Nemo.

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