Friday, April 15, 2011

Benjamin Richardson Reports from Rehearsal, #1

Hello, my name is Benjamin Richardson and I am the Second Spirit in the Gold Cast of Seattle Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. For the past few weeks all the Spirits, also sometimes known as Genii (six kids) have met together every Saturday at our awesome youth vocal coach's house to rehearse. Elizabeth, our youth vocal coach, first had to teach us how to say each letter in German, such as w=v and v=f, but soon we all became familiar with them. Then we went through our music, Elizabeth saying each line of German, and us repeating. Soon, we could sing all of the words, diction, rhythm, and notes of the first two movements.

A couple weeks ago I went in to the costume shop to fit my costume. I got to meet Zandra Rhodes, our costume designer, and had a picture taken with her. I tried on the costume, which was very beautiful. On top of my shoulders are little bunches of green and silver feathers. The shoes have golden buckles with silver wings coming out from the back. The costume shop was very large, with lots of sewing machines and pieces of clothing everywhere.

A sketch by Zandra Rhodes, of the costumes to be worn by the Spirits.

A few days ago we had a banquet with most of the cast. Then we all met in a room where we went around and introduced ourselves. The director talked about the opera and we watched a slide show of what the set will look like, which is very Egyptian and like an Indiana Jones movie.

That day was also our first practice at the Seattle Opera rehearsal building. After we rehearsed in a coaching room we moved into the SORS, the stage-sized room, to practice with some of the principals. It was VERY fun singing with them, and we were amazed at their voices. It is kind of cool that the Queen of the Night’s arias have some of the highest notes of any opera, and Sarastro’s arias have some of the lowest notes of any opera! Anyway, after all the principals left, we stayed awhile to work with the conductor. We switched from the Gold cast to the Silver cast for some of the music, and we worked hard to please the Maestro. But, as Max, one of the other spirits, said, we are awesome!

The next rehearsal at the SORS was one of the most fun. We did some of the blocking and were told how we enter for the first time: we come in on this ten-foot high catwalk which hovers over Tamino and Papageno. We wave to them, and Papageno goes straight below the catwalk to look up at us. Then we sprinkle some glitter at him, which disgusts him, and he runs away. We have a good laugh after that. Then we point at the direction where they are supposed to go, and start to exit. Papageno, though, takes forever to say goodbye to the Three Ladies, and when I realize this, I turn around and pull him back offstage.

The next scene was really fun. It is our first singing scene, and we enter the stage on scooters! I’m pretty sure that the scooters are going to be black, and so is the screen behind it so it looks like we are hovering. We scooter around a few towers, then we meet up in a diagonal line and we sing to Tamino. Then we scooter offstage.

Well, that was our week! I'll be back next week to give you another report from rehearsal!


  1. What a great blog, Benjamin! I think it is so cool that you are in "The Magic Flute," and I love your detailed descriptions of what this experience is like. I have no doubt that you are awesome in it! -- Beth Busacca

  2. That sounds really fun! I always wondered what it was like backstage. I'll look for your report next week.
    :) Susan