So….what have we done this week in rehearsals for Iford’s Butterfly? Well….we had “the Sitz” (orchestral rehearsal with the singers), LOTS of “schwitz” (Yiddish/German for sweat!) and we were all in bits when we rehearsed the end of the piece…it’s gonna be a real tear-jerker!
Our director and conductor have been running a very clear and detailed rehearsal process and it’s taken shape really well this week. Each time we revisit a scene it’s often about adding more detail rather than filling in gaps of misremembered direction! And I’ve felt during this process that there is always time allowed for musical/vocal matters. For example, I always found my final aria very hard in the current translation but that’s not because of the translation but more so to do with where the breath should go before the high phrase and also deciding 100% what we’re doing musically and what I’m doing vocally at this point. Once we’d taken the time to do this, it was much better and I felt I could give more to the staging of the piece at this point.
On to other musical matters; the Sitz! This is one of those days when the singers hear the orchestra for the first time and feel that swell of noise (often beautiful!) underneath their own voices. It’s quite a special moment – when one can take stock musically and focus solely on the dots! It always impresses me how a conductor reads a score with so many lines in it and also picks out so much detail eg. our conductor tinkered around with the orchestration according to the players he had and always produced a better sound. Even in the articulation of a single chord, he was quite specific but it was for a reason and you heard the difference! It was truly impressive.
This week, we’ve also had the pleasure of having Frederic and Dora at a rehearsal, who will role share the child in Act 3. Having an innocent well-behaved child on stage is, for some reason, all the more moving to me. One’s own imagination colours the rehearsal room with true despair and tragedy and it’s absolutely gut-wrenching at the end!! Having young children myself, it wasn’t too difficult for the emotions to come up and it was rather a teary rehearsal!!
On top of this, we’ve had mountains of schwitz due to the weather! Underneath all those kimono layers, it’s been a hot but rewarding week!
So, the final studio run is upon us and then down to Iford for stage week!