Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bregenzerfestspiele 2010

Back to Austria again. And the season has JUST started.

First of all, it’s great to be back in Bregenz. Sad to leave London, but great to be back here. So much familiarity. So crazy to wake up in London one morning, and to be falling asleep in a bed in Austria, on Lake Constanz. Wild. London was a LOT more fun than I ever thought it would be.

Yeah; London was fun. Had a lot of fun. Fun to have a decent amount of time there while on the Pearl Fishers job with ENO. It gave me a huge chance to really strike out and explore some of the city on my own. The Tube was a snap as far as transportation was concerned. And then, once I moved from Holland Park to Westminster/Central London, there was never a shortage of sights and sounds.

I was truly floored by the drinking culture in London. In the U.K., pubs and bars function as a place where folks get together to chat and meet. It’s the place where the community really gets together. No one goes to get drunk and stupid. It’s where people find out about the day’s goings-on. People don’t drink to drink. And the etiquette is a lot more than I can say for a lot of pubs and bars in the US. It’s something I will remember about London.

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I think everyone’s happy for Aida to be open and running. Enough rehearsals. Albeit, our director has done some nice things in tightening and retooling the production. I had three different people come up to me and all of them agreed that the show was different from the previous summer. They all seemed to feel that things made better sense than before; that the overall story seemed to be told clearer than it had before. It’s nice to know we’re doing something RIGHT.

It feels to me that the members of my cast are all moving as one in the production, in spite of some mild opposition or a bit of unwillingness to cooperate, shall we say, from one or two others. But overall, I think we have a wonderful opportunity to really pull off a great run for this production of Aida. And I think our director, Graham Vick, is generally happy with what we’re doing. We’ve had a handful of sessions for musical notes as well as staging corrections. It’s nice to have been given all this attention. Makes me feel like somebody gives a damn about what I’m doing and wanting to always be sure I’m putting my best foot forward.

One idea which I shall continually keep in my mind is that of constantly reinventing one’s character onstage. Not fully, but a resetting of the emotions of the character every single night, as though each night were the premiere. Otherwise, one leaves him or herself open to the possibility for an eroding of all the work that’s been done to hone and shape the character into a finished product. The director gave me this. He instilled in me the idea of how important it is to always remember to keep things fresh in the mind. Always fresh. For as minute a change as it could be, not doing so would take away the edge that is needed to completely interpret such a pivotal role as Amonasro in Aida, for example.

It's been nice to come back to such a unique environment as the Bregenz Festival and NOT have to work so much. Of course, the new singers were given a lot of attention in the beginning. And then, once the casts had been decided, rehearsals could really begin to come together to where we would just churn out full run-thrus of the show.

Good people all around. Great production. Please come and check it out if you're reading this and will be nearby at all. I think you're in for a treat.