It is the day of the premiere of Lotus Lives. One of the great things about performing away from home is that you can give yourself an honest-to-God free day before the concert. I saw fit to get up after 9:00, make a slow breakfast, sip my tea, do some practicing, do some relaxing, then do some more relaxing, then (now) a little blogging. All with the goal of putting on a good performance tonight, of course. The horn part of Lotus is not that taxing, but I have had performances of other pieces where I planned the entire week’s activities around making it through the concert. The lips have these delicate muscles, and if they are overtired, you just can’t play very well. In this case, however, I just want to be well-rested and energetic.
We had our dress rehearsal last night. It was imperfect. The coordination between the singers and Meridian is extremely hard, and we are all working hard to make sure that we are together with Brenda at all times. She needs room to express herself, and we need stability. It is the classic Apollonian/Dionysian conflict, and I am confident we will find the solution tonight at 8PM. Note to Brenda: sorry if I made you mad last night. I just want it to sound good!
We also had one technical snafu. If you think that’s bad, check out Spiderman, on Broadway. This is why we rehearse.
The good news is that the opera is very effective. It tells a good story, though it tells it in more of a circle than a straight line. The music is great, the singers sound great, the band sounds great. Especially for Su Lian Tan, the composer, tonight will represent a culmination of a huge amount of work. As well for Tim Bartlett, the videographer, who has been working nonstop for months on the project. I’ll add that “videographer” does not do justice to what Tim has accomplished. Yes, his medium is video, but he has created the entire look and feel of the production, and it is a masterpiece. I think there will be moments where the audience will gasp from the visual effects, but I will report back tomorrow on that.
A performance is a strange combination of activities. On the one hand, it resembles filing. You have assembled the pieces in rehearsal, and in the concert you simply insert the fitting into the metal clasp, and you are done. On the other hand, your creative side is going a mile a minute, trying to make what you are playing meaningful and beautiful. Interestingly, in Meridian, we refer to this as “selling” a piece, a bit of low-brow talk to describe the most important part of what we are up to.
I think I can remember my lines for the skit. Although, funny, they just popped right out of my head.
The Lotus Lives team:
The composer: Su Lian Tan
The librettist: Anne Babson
The director: Claudio Medeiros
Video: Tim Bartlett
The singers: Brenda Patterson and Miriam Gordon-Stewart
The conductor: Evan Bennett
The Meridian Arts Ensemble: Jon Nelson and Tim Leopold, trumpet; Daniel Grabois, horn; Ben Herrington, trombone; Raymond Stewart, tuba; John Ferrari, percussion.
Technical manager: Mark Christensen
There is also a choreographer, a prerecorded violinist, some prerecorded dancers, and various people backstage. Apologies to all of them (except David Bowlin, the violinist, who I’ve played with a few times, and who sounds GREAT on the tango music – bravo to him), since I haven’t met them.
There will be a quiz tomorrow.