So today was our second rehearsal and our first sitzprobe. I always love these first rehearsals with the singers, although not as much as I used to; in the old, less nice theatre, we could actually see the singers. And that was fun.

This year we have a whole lot of new singers. At first I had no idea who any were, but one of our musicians asked if they wouldn’t come to the front of the pit rather than stand on stage when being introduced. So they all kindly walked down into the hall and, while facing us, were introduced by the Maestro. So at least we’ve seen them. Once. That’ll be it, I’m sure. (Monitors? Anyone ever think about video and sound monitors? Anyone ever think about us poor little old instrumentalists? Sigh.)

We then nearly made it through the complete opera; there were still a few cuts some folks weren’t quite getting, and of course a few glitches we needed to work out. Yours truly managed to not come in when she should have. (My sins are usually sins of omission rather than commission. I’m smart that way. “If in doubt, leave it out.” You know?) But in any case, I am at an age where, at the first few rehearsals at least, I can usually manage to mock myself when I do stupid things. (Except when I’m a klutz, that is. But do note that the wonderful musician who was so gracious about my clumsiness received two truffles today and I do plan on a lunch or dinner when we can manage it. I like to pay off my debts!) But this time I honestly thought I was counting correctly, so who knows what the heck I did wrong.

Although I’ve always been bad at numbers ….

But … back to the important stuff … the singers sounded absolutely wonderful! I’m pretty darn excited about this new “batch”. (Is it a “batch of singers”? A “stock of singers”? A “crowd”? I dunno. It must be something.)

So, for those of you in the Bay Area, you really ought to come out and hear these young singers. Really.

And I promise to count correctly from here on out.

I hope.

31. August 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Links

So go here, and enjoy!

(Thanks, Pam!)
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So … heigh ho, heigh ho … and all that jazz. It was great to see my colleagues. NOT great to cause clarinets to tumble. Yes. Me. I am usually tremendously careful in a pit, as is required by union regulations and copyright law if you want to survive pitworld. But today I exercised my horrible clumsiness and I’m still embarrassed. And I owe the clarinet player a dinner or something. (His horns were okay. Whew.)

But one rehearsal down. And it was fun to play with my pals!

I was also hired to play a show for American Musical Theatre San Jose, so that’s pretty nice.

I like work. Both playing and teaching. So I’m happy, although rather weary, camper. :-)

29. August 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

When A Chorus Line came out the first time, folks realized they could hide an orchestra. When I played it the pit was entirely covered so that you couldn’t see us at all. There was a reason, I was told: the musical was to feel as much like a real audition as possible, and of course you don’t have a pit band for an audition. So that made sense.

But then we started being hidden for other shows as well. They realized we didn’t eve have to be in the same room … or building, for that matter! … to play a musical; the instruments used microphones anyway, so why not put us pesky folks elsewhere and play with balances? No light leak. No noises from the pit animals. No prob.

This led to a concern, as you might imagine, as it could easily take us to the Virtual Orchestra or even tape. (And yes, tape has been done.) But I think audiences have appreciated seeing the orchestra and we have gradually come back in for most shows. Audience members always come to the pit prior to the show, during intermission, and after. They are always appreciative and we love yakking with them.

But now, with the new Sondheim Sweeney Todd, something new has been brought in; have the stage folk play the instruments. No more pit, and lots of money saved. And isn’t also something new, unusual, and witty (Patti Lupone playing tuba?!) fun to see? (Hearing might be another story, but I’ve not seen the production so what can I say?) But I thought, “Not to worry … not every show can do this sort of thing.”

Reading this however, I see that another Sondheim show is going to do the same thing, though. Sigh. Company will have the stage folk doing the instruments. I wonder if they’ll have an oboist (there is oboe in the score) or if, as with Sweeney, they’ll just dump the oboe (along with other instruments).

Time will tell.
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28. August 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

This DVD might be worth the price. (What is the price?!) I think I’d like to view it. (Would our local library carry such a thing? I wonder.)
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“…nobody goes to a concert to listen to a computer.”

Well, now maybe some will disagree with that. But there you go. The guy who is all about the Vienna Symphonic Library is being quoted here.

Several folks have written about the VSL, and some have offered up listening tests. And yes, it seems that musicians—perhaps other listeners as well?— can tell the diff. Does the general public care? I do worry about the future of musical theatre orchestras (we’ve heard about the Virtual Orchestra for a while, and I went to a show where they used it and it sounded abominable but I was fairly sure the audience couldn’t care less—they were on their feet at the end, no matter) but I think your opera and symphony concert goes do want to see us live folks.

Call me an optimist.

For once.

27. August 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

I continue to work on my list of double reed players in European Orchestras. This is pretty fun to do, actually, but it does take a lot of time. Check it out and see what I’ve got up so far!
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27. August 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Quotes

Pieces of music are wormholes, which we can enter to escape our normal experience of time.

Robert Spano, quoted in Justin Davidson, “Measure for Measure” (The New Yorker, Aug. 21, 2006.)

(This quote was stolen (Borrowed? I could try and return it later, I suppose) from a Terry Teachout entry in About Last Night. And I must confess I was relieved that he must have decided my site wasn’t “tedious”. Or could it be that he just forgot to delete me? Hmmm. But when I read that he was cleaning house, and that he deemed some sites tedious, my little heart started going “kabong, kabong” and I thought it would be curtains for yours truly. Whew.)
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25. August 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

A former oboist turned computer guy turned apprentice at a mental hospital turned goat farm worker has a book out. About a former musician turned computer guy turned apprentice at a goat farm and organic gardening center, and aide at a mental hospital. Hmmm. From oboist to a mental hospital? Okay … I won’t write what I want to write. I’m holding back. I really am.

In any case, being as the author did the same things his character does, I suspect he knew what he was writing about. And I think I might want to read this book.

The author’s name is Terry Row (anyone know of him?) and it sounds as if he played quite a bit in a number of places before going the computer route. And then he worked in both San Francisco and San Jose (as well as other locations). The title of the book is Summer Capricorn. And I want it.

Article here.
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25. August 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

This article suggests that Jim Broadbent may be in the Tim Burton Sweeney Todd movie, and that he might be Judge Turpin. Of course it also says Johnny Depp will be Sweeney. So who knows?

But when they explain the musical and say this:


Although MSN doesn’t mention a particular role, Broadbent would presumably be cast as Judge Turpin in the film version of Sweeney, which spins the macabre tale of a revenge-obsessed demon barber and his assistant, who turns his victims into the worst pies in London.

… I wonder if they know what they are even talking about! The “worst pies in London” (“Only lard and nothing more”) were made prior to the man-filled meat pies (talk about a manwich!).

So who knows?
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