Monday, April 21, 2014

Opera Parallèle Rehearsal

Saturday afternoon Opera Parallèle held an open rehearsal for its up-coming double bill of Mahagonny Songspiel & Les mamelles de Tirésias. We heard substantial chunks of both works, with staging. The cast includes 7 principles, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, an adult chorus, 2 dancers & 4 supers. Opera Parallèle may be a small company, but there is nothing modest about its ambitions.

The show combines the 2 works into a single asurdist scenario. The performance starts with the Mahagonny Songspiel, set in an arid, dystopian future, where a troupe of travelling players is dragging a boat across a desert. The production features an actual boat, which can be wheeled all around the stage & becomes a stage-within-a-stage for the troupe's performance of Les mamelles. Conductor Nicole Paiement was very excited to demonstrate how the last notes of Mahagonny dovetail into the 1st notes of Les Mamelles without a break or transition.

This was a working rehearsal, & there were times when the performers were getting notes from 3 directors simultaneously. There will be a lot to watch. The young cast is charismatic & sounded great. Soprano Rachel Schutz has a spacious voice & gliding high notes & is a confident actress. It seems she will be wearing a very peculiar costume when she appears as Thérèse, before transforming into Tirésias. Baritone Hadleigh Adams is a persuasive actor, even when wielding a prop as silly as a hobbyhorse.

Following the performance portion of the rehearsal, there was a Q & A with the cast & artistic team, who all clearly enjoy working together. The rehearsal took place in the old Palace of Fine Arts location of the Exploratorium, which has been converted into a very cool campus for the Town School for Boys.

More rehearsal photos over at Barihunks.

§ Kurt Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel
Francis Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias

Opera Parallèle
Nicole Paiement, Artistic Director / Conductor
Brian Staufenbiel, Stage Director / Concept Designer

Rachel Schutz: Jessie/tirésias, La Cartomancienne
Gabriel Pressier: Bobby/le Mari
Thomas Glenn: Charlie/lacouf, Le Journaliste, Le Fils
Daniel Cilli: Billy/presto, Le Directeur
Hadleigh Adams: Le Gendarme
Aleksey Bogdanov: Jimmy/ Le Monsieur Barbu
Renee Rapier: Betty/ La Marchande De Journaux

§ Open Rehearsal
Town School for Boys (formerly the Exploratorium)
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 19, 2014

§ Performance
Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts’ Lam Research Theater
8 p.m. April 25, 26, 2014 and 2 p.m. April 27, 2014

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