Friday, September 7, 2012

Bouts with Brittan

A new semester has begun and that means I have lots of new music to learn. It's actually one of my favorite times of the year. I thrive on getting all of this wonderful music in my hands that I'm not familiar with and getting to plow through it so I can learn the notes as quickly as possible.

This year has an added "treat" for me. I'm one of the pianists for opera workshop. This term features Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde. This is going to be an interesting experience for me since I am not terribly versed in the British composer's works and it will be my first time to play rehearsals for a full-staged opera. (Previously, I've only played scenes or assisted during vocal coachings.)

I picked up the score late in the spring so I could learn the music over the summer. I worked through a few passages, but quickly realized that I really don't like the show. Its harmonies are challenging and often feels extremely repetitive. At the end of August, however, the cast and I got together for a rough read through. I was pleasantly surprised! Intellectually I know that is a perfect formula, but it was so nice to realize that this short opera is not going to be the horrendous experience I was anticipating. Thankfully I'm only responsible for 1 hour of rehearsals on Monday afternoons most weeks. A few passages are going to demand a lot of work on my part to just get through them, but most are actually quite pianistic.

I know I'm going to learn a lot through this experience. I'm certain there are things I should be preparing for that I am omitting because of ignorance. What was the one thing you wish someone had told you when you played for your first opera? I'll keep you all informed of what's happening as we progress through the semester.