Yesterday we had our first rehearsal for Opera San José’s Barber of Seville. Dealing with Rossini is interesting. There are often (always?) different versions of his operas. The book I’m playing from has more notes than I play; there are so many pages that do not appear in the score that our conductor is using, and many of those notes are played by other instruments (usually piccolo or clarinet). I’m thankful; some things are SO fast I can’t imagine I could ever manage to play the passages! I do have a few places I’m having to really work on, due to the speed of the pieces, but that came as no surprise, since I’ve played this before.

But there were a few surprises today that weren’t my “cuppa” as I like to say. For one, I find the overture slower than I prefer. And then there is this one spot where I’ve always slurred three notes but our current conductor is having us tongue them, as that’s the way they are in his score. And he’s the boss, so we do as he says.

You can see the change on this first page of the overture, in the 10th, 11th, and 12th bar after rehearsal #3:

Thoughts? How have you played this passage?

There are times when I might talk privately to a conductor if what he or she is asking seems so over the top to me that I’m afraid I’ll go nuts. For the most part, though, I mark the part and do as I’m told.

That’s not to say I won’t tell a conductor about something if he or she asks me. And of course if Bryan Nies reads this he’ll know that I’m not jazzed about the tempo or those tongued notes in the overture! Hmmm. But really, I’ll live with the tempo. And those tongued notes. And it’s certainly easy to play at this speed. Bryan is a very good conductor and I really enjoy having him in the pit!


  1. I would go with the Bugs Bunny interpretation. jk

  2. Hah! I’ll try that tomorrow!

  3. And now…what do you think? Apparently it was a practice tempo. I’d say I knew so Wednesday, but I think I only hoped so.

  4. I like it much better! After the first rehearsal Mark asked him if that was the final tempo. I told him I liked it faster. So I think I’m going to take credit. 😉 (I’m sure I don’t deserve it, but still ….)