Let The Fun Begin !

It has been a fabulous first week of rehearsals for BambinO with Scottish Opera. The sun has been shining in Glasgow, and the energy in the rehearsal room has been electric. As some of you may know, I have performed this opera before, and it is lots of fun to revive as I love singing the music. It is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with former colleagues again. I will reunite with Sam Pantcheff, Baritone, who I performed opposite in 2018 and Andrew Drummond Huggan, Cellist, who I have worked with a few times, the latest being last year in the 2021 Scottish Opera Pop-Up Tour. On this tour, I am working with a new percussionist, Darren Gallacher, who is a quick study and accomplished player. I have been impressed with Darren’s ability to jump straight in and keep up with the rest of the quartet who have performed this opera

In today’s post, I thought it would be interesting to share what we cover in the rehearsal process when reviving an opera with a majority returning cast.

Firstly, we rehearse the music and negotiate speeds and tricky corners.

Music Director Chris Gray led these working sessions and ensured that our current interpretation was accurate to the score. This aim is important because small changes to the score can occur over time in reaction to flexibility found in the performances, and it’s an opportunity to remind ourselves of the composer’s original intentions. These sessions also allow performers to explain why specific changes were incorporated, especially if the composer agreed with them. These changes may have been in reaction to particular dramatic needs, for example, taking more time for a character’s emotional arc or (in the case of this specific opera), because a particular section of the music regularly encouraged the babies to crawl in the performance space. Hence, the musicians added a few vamp* bars to allow the performers to negotiate where to step. 

(* A vamp is a short, repeated section of music often used for improvisation by an accompanist. The accompanist would play the repeated pattern until the soloist was prepared to enter.)

Secondly, we plot out the staging.

As an ensemble, we walked through the show. When you rehearse in a relaxed manner, the task is to get a sense of entrances and exits, choreography, prop placement, your character arc and your colleagues. It is often done without music so that you can move at a comfortable speed to encourage better memory recall and memorisation.

We then revised Phelim McDermott’s dramatic style.

Guided by revival director Lisa Lorenzo, we played acting games inspired by Phelim’s working style to reconnect with the movement language of the piece. At the core of this piece, eye contact and connection between quartet members is integral. Reminding ourselves of these elements will help us capture the original production’s essence and Phelim’s style.

Check that all costumes and props are in good working condition.

Throughout the week, our stage managers liaised with Scottish Opera’s Costume and Prop departments to ensure the visual elements were ready. Following my costume fitting, I will wear my original costume, with some TLC tweaks and improvements to allow for natural wear and tear. I think it is wonderful that Scottish Opera have taken great care with storing our costumes, meaning we can reuse them. Reusing the costume is terrific for the environment and my interpretation. My outfit carries many memories of past performances, and I feel it helps me embody the character.

Start running the piece

Towards the end of the week, we had made significant progress and had already begun running the piece from start to finish to see where the niggles were. Highlighting these moments early in the rehearsal process means we have plenty of time to tighten up the music and acting.

I have been researching Instagram reels and how to make them during my downtime. Reels are a feature on Instagram, where you are encouraged to create and share short, engaging videos. Please watch my first reel below. The video aims to spark a conversation, so I can find out what “Behind the Scenes” footage or information interests my blog friends the most. I plan to use your comments to guide my content inspiration while on tour.

27 thoughts on “Let The Fun Begin !

  1. Sounds like fun! It also sounds like extremely hard work, but hard work doing something you love is almost always fun it itself. And very nice to see you at the top of the cast list! Well-deserved.

    1. I‘ve had a great week, I just copied the cast list off Scottish Opera just a coincidence but thank you 😊. First performances at the end of the week with babies and toddlers again for the first time in a long while.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. I love the set, the Belli duo did such a great job and its so much fun for the babies and toddlers I‘ve had pillows thrown at me a few times hehe.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Great ideas Pascal, thank you for your suggestions. The speed and length of these reels is tricky but I read it is Instagrams version of tiktok style and thought I‘d give it a go.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. It’s a great group of people, Darren has fit right in, so yes great fun.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you Sheila, we‘ve started off well in rehearsal I‘m having a blast, we have babies in tomorrow which is exciting.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you John, you are all in my company, I take you wish me on tour and I don‘t get lonely.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. Hi Charlotte, so lovely to have this insight. I agree it is great to have a costume with which you feel familiar and empowered. I used to wear a red suit whenever I had to present to the board. Even wearing a suit to work helped me feel the person I had to be to do the job.
    As for the reel. It does need to be short for the audience. Maybe Pascal’s suggestion could be for a second. I tested it. Screen fits perfectly for my mobile phone but not for the laptop. Had to reduce screen size to 50%. I’ve forgotten the word for it, but it is something like ‘dynamic or responsive’ for the programme to re-size automatically. Might be buried in the settings somewhere.

    1. I love that you wore a red suit, I remember my Mum had a red blazer and I had a little matching red coat and red beret. A vocal warm up will be an excellent idea, I‘ll have to persuade Sam to join in.
      I wonder if that is something I can control to make it fit on a laptop automatically, gosh I wish I had my Dads skills with computers. Great suggestion though if I can work it out.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. I’m a bit too time pressed at the moment to volunteer to take a look around at the options, but if you tell your Dad what application / software you are using to make the videos, he may be able to find the setting. On reflection, I think it might be called auto-size.

    1. It would derrick but there are rules about recording children and parents permission etc. The babies and toddlers do join in though it is a different show every performance because the babies always react differently, we have to stay on our toes. I love my job. Performing, making people happy, singing and dancing around. So pleased we have a bit more normality now.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  3. I loved watching the reel it’s fabulous! I love hearing BambibO and that you have been performing the role from its conception. Well done Charlotte. 🥰😘

    1. This was the show that was supposed to go on just after my cancelled wedding in 2020 so it is great to be getting back to a bit more normality. Rehearsals are going well, I‘ve been working on another reel to introduce everyone, and tonight I have a ticket to see Scottish Opera‘s Candide so that will be fun.
      See you soon,
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  4. It’s nice you can make your followers understand all the work that goes into getting a production up and running. I’m so excited to hear about your Scotland tour this year. Bring bug spray!

    1. Thank you Noelle, I just spoke to my Mum and she said are you sweltering in rehearsal today, I said no, why? She said its like a heatwave at hers and then I spoke to George and he‘s in shorts sweating it out in London. It‘s just nice up here, warm, sunny but not too hot, suits me down to the ground lol.
      We‘ve got some babies in rehearsals tomorrow can‘t wait to get back to some more normality.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  5. Charlotte,

    The reel is brilliant!

    I enjoyed all you wrote about prepping, especially about your costume.
    I LOVE that you have top billing!

    Okay, so, I’ll be starting your Art Gown next week.
    I have already posted the last one “JADE”.

    I’ve slowly been moving in sewing supplies, fabrics, ironing board, etc. to the gown room.

    I’m excited to begin the process!

    Take care, have fun and sing your heart out!

    Resa
    ❦❦

    1. I‘ve just caught a glimpse of Jade now, what a fabulous gown and colour! I don‘t wear much green but when I do people say it suits my colour and pale skin.

      I‘m very VERY excited 😆 that you are starting my gown, I can‘t wait to see what you create with me in mind. ♥️ 💙. I keep reading on Instagram that they share reels more than they share pictures now, I don‘t know if its true but a friend suggested I tried it, so here goes.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

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