DP's blog: Lulu week 4

Posted on Tue, 2013-01-29 12:41 by David Pountney

Believe it or not we are not only through, but on Friday said farewell to our cosy, familiar but de luxe rehearsal space, and “kleine Lulu” took her first steps out in the big cold world, having delivered a full run through with very few hitches, and rather flabbergasted Lothar who has been nursing his orchestra all week so was quite surprised at how far on everyone was. This is the first base camp, so to speak, and these moments when the whole opera comes together in the confines of a room are always a rather special experience: it will never be quite so intimate again, once the machinery and distance of the stage and auditorium takes over.

We have had the added fun this week of inducting three members of the orchestra into the real action, including a very athletic pianist who races across the stage and arrives at the piano just in the nick of time to bang out a couple of great, scrunchy Alban Berg chords upon which Heather, the leader of the second violins, goes tearing all over her instrument with a frenetic cadenza, whilst Lulu and the acrobat go into an athletic ballet routine. Not a dull moment. Seconds later, Mario, playing a blind accordion player, is lead across the stage squeezing and wheezing his instrument as Lulu and her Countess admirer go through one of their sexy little dialogues.    

Yes there are dialogues too – in fact every conceivable gradation of delivered text from pure dialogue, to rhythmical dialogue, to half spoken/half sung  dialogue, to the full singing monty – and how! Along this stylistic roller-coaster we are delivering the pure spoken dialogue in rather a special way, so that it makes a strong atmospheric contribution to the evening and doesn’t gives that slightly let down feeling that often happens when the singing stops – but HOW we are doing that is my little secret….but it is part of the virtuosity that Berg demands that every aspect of operatic style is explored, from florid coloratura, jazz (quasi!), ensembles that go forwards and backwards and Lord knows what else.

Meanwhile, I can’t help mentioning that last week just down Scenery St. as we call the very large and draughty corridor that joins the three large rehearsal rooms together, Lulu’s country cousin arrived and was soon to be seen frolicking with cheeky abandon in her green patchwork woodland: the Cunning Little Vixen. I hope it hasn’t escaped your notice by now that we have deliberately brought these two sisters together on one season so that you can have the fun of comparing their fates and their characters, not to mention the strange coterie of men that both lithesome ladies gather round them. I admit it, I’m one too: I’m a sucker for both of them!

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