Alan's Blog...It's all Gesamtkunstwerk to me!

Thoughts from nearly 40 years on the professional stage

Breaking a "flipper" in London

Well, it’s been an interesting start to the run of “Rusalka” at The Royal Opera House-Covent Garden in London. What a magnificent evening of music we had on the opening night this past Monday. When you have committed singing actors, a marvelous orchestra, and a TREMENDOUS young and exciting conductor in the pit, great things are going to happen. And they did. There are some who will not like this production (and they made themselves quite well known on Monday night) but it was great to hear how receptive they were to the musicians involved. The critics have showered praise as well on the musical achievement. We are pleased. HOWEVER........

As you may know, I play the role of Vodnik, the Water Goblin (and Rusalka’s father). In the picture above (left) you see me in full costume and make-up with the wonderful Finnish soprano, Camilla Nylund. (I’m sorry that you can’t see my feet---which you couldn’t see anyway because I wear large swimming flippers in the show). We did the production together in Salzburg in 2008 and it is great to work together again. The position I’m in is pretty much my position for the whole show--I slither around a lot and spend 95% of the evening on the floor. However, for the remaining performances, it’s going to be more like 100%. In the last act on Monday (Act 3), I broke a bone in my foot (the 5th metatarsal) during a bit of stage business. Let’s just say, hurt a lot. Fortunately, the orchestra was very loud at that point--the pop that I heard and felt wasn’t heard past the lip of the stage. I was able to complete the scene without anyone being the wiser (including my cast members) and really hobbled through the curtain calls (sorry about that). Yesterday I went to the hospital and had an x-ray which showed the break--I was very surprised as I didn’t think it was “more” than tendonitis although the pain was pretty severe at times. I now have this lovely fashion accessory that you see in the picture on the right and a pair of very handsome crutches to help me get around--although, it’s a very slow mode of travel. It’s going to be very interesting to see how I can pull off these next 5 shows at the ROH. I have, however, TREMENDOUS colleagues and a great Maestro in the pit to help it all come together. I’ll be leaning on them just as I know I’m always there for them to call upon. There are “no people like show people”. We are a family out here on the road even though we are constantly meeting our new “relatives”. For each of them, I am very grateful and I look forward to sharing this journey together--the hills, the valley, the streams, the lakes, the strong steps, and the tiny shuffle.

We’ll find a way to get through these shows--I’m a bit more concerned about the trip home in a few weeks. That may be more of an adventure--heavy bags, crutches, cast, oh joy!!! I’ll then get some days off before heading up to Toronto with hopefully a much lighter cast on my leg. That should come off sometime after my arrival in Toronto and I’ll be all set for the next run of shows (what a double bill that will be).

Oh, and this is February 29th--Leap year Day. I can only re-post this---go get ‘em ladies!!!
From last week’s “Evening Standard”---
the one day in almost 1,461 when you are "allowed" to get down on bended knee. That Feburary 29 is the "acceptable" day for a woman to pop the question is said to be the work of Queen Margaret of Scotland, who decreed, in the 13th Century-that a woman could ask any single man. If he declines, she can claim a dress in compensation."