Monday, April 25, 2011

Benjamin Richardson Reports from Rehearsal, #2

Hello, this is Benjamin Richardson, the Second Spirit in the Gold Cast of Seattle Opera’s production of The Magic Flute, back to report on a second exciting week of opera rehearsal.

We began last week by polishing up what we had already worked on, especially the marching. Rosa Mercedes, the choreographer, said to imagine a string pulling up from the head, so that our posture was straight. We also worked on the choreography that we didn’t know so well, like when to turn, when to wave, and when to march. I’m SO excited to try this out on our set! We also fixed some of the scootering parts, and it was quite a challenge to not run into the other spirits. They also said to enjoy the ride and swing your legs up while you kick.

It was very fun working with the conductor who was there, and the pianist who will soon be replaced by an orchestra! Philip Cutlip, who plays Papageno, was also wearing part of his costume. He wore long pointed green shoes, a long tail feather that was clipped to his back, and a small hat with a very long beak that was facing straight up.

Alissa Henderson, Benjamin Richardson, and Casi Goodman rehearse for The Magic Flute.
Photo still from a video by Bill Mohn

The second rehearsal was Pamina’s suicide scene. At the beginning, we blew some bubbles out to where the audience will be, which we weren’t very good at doing yet. We also saw Pamina’s dagger, which has a really beautiful crystal blade look, and the handle has a switch which will light it up with colors. Also, we wore our costume shoes, which are all silver. Sometimes the wings on the back trip me a little bit. I can’t wait to wear the full costume. We had a wonderful time working with Christine Brandes, our Pamina, and doing choreography with her. It was fun working out the movements for when we steal the dagger before she can kill herself.

The second rehearsal this week was a complete run-through of the opera, which was very fun to watch. At the beginning, Tamino is chased by a dragon, and the one that we have is amazing! It's all purple with colorful whiskers, and it can hold about ten people inside. The people under the dragon were magnificent at giving it a fluid movement which made it look terrifying yet angelic. Papageno had some fun things to do too. When he enters, there are a lot of birds running and flying around him. One is a girl in an emu suit, another is a tiny bird that is controlled by a hidden person (one of our "Anubi"), and others are flying, controlled by high sticks.

Alissa Henderson, Benjamin Richardson, and Casi Goodman work with Magic Flute Assistant Director, Jeffrey Buchman.
Photo still from a video by Bill Mohn

We also got to hear the Queen of the Night. She sang her famous aria, and we were blown away. I wish I could sing that well! I also can’t wait to see her costume. It’s going to be dark and blue, and it should have a snake around the middle. The three ladies were very good too. I love the scene where they first find Tamino, and they fight and argue over who should guard him because all of them think he’s handsome.

All those rehearsals were very fun. I hope you can come to our performances! I'll check in again next week.

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