Interesting perfromance

Tonight was one of those very interesting performances that make it fun to be on stage. Unfortunately, our bass who sings Rocco, was ill, and, since they don’t employ covers here in Paris, another bass had to be flown in. He arrived at the airport at 5:30. Curtain time was 7:30. By the time he got to the theater, he only had time for a brief look at the set and a quick discussion on SOME of the staging and tempi. He was thrown into a costume and make-up and off we went. And you know what, we had a blast improvising our scenes. He did an outstanding job especially as he had not done this production (we only premiered it 23 days ago). He may have to sing the final performance on Sunday which would surely seem, after tonight, like a breeze to him.

I’ve been in a few of these performances over the years where a singer has to jump in (I’ve had to do it myself once or twice too---but I’ve usually had a bit of rehearsal before hand). It can be nerve wracking. On the other hand, it can provide a great energy that carries you through very nicely.

I’ve always enjoyed improvising. One of my favorite performances happened here in Paris back in 2003. We were doing a production of “Don Giovanni” and I was singing the role of Leporello. Six performances were scheduled however we only ended up singing two performances as they had been rehearsed. Two more performances were cancelled due to labor strikes. The final performance was also struck by some of the some of the unions but this time it was decided that the performance would be allowed to continue---minus sets and lighting. We used basic work lights and the normal black curtains that hang around the stage. The cast completely improvised every entrance and exit and all the acting in between. It worked beautifully and we had a great time. And you know what? It was one of the best received performances I’ve ever been in as the audience went crazy for the work that we put together that night. I’ll never forget it. Many times, I don’t think directors “trust” the singers enough to be fine actors. When we are given a bit more “free reign”, some wondrous things can occur. That’s what happened back in 2003---and once again tonight.