One Down, Three to Go

Back to Notes From Valhalla

By Francesca Zambello (Director)

Friday, May 27, 2011

I have not posted myself for a while because I wanted people to get a sense from my colleagues of the many moving parts involved in putting the productions together. We are now deep into full-on technical and stage rehearsals. Two days ago we did the Piano Dress for Götterdämmerung—this means that all the elements are there in place except for the orchestra (A huge protagonist for Wagner).

[Left: Siegfried Final Dress Rehearsal: Fafner as a giant monster. Photo by Cory Weaver]


Last night we had the Final Dress for Siegfried and I now feel like we’ve got one down, three to go. We had a number of glitches caused by computer failures, but they will be resolved. Siegfried opens this Sunday for one performance outside of the three complete cycles. This means that it is opening almost two weeks before we will next perform it in the first cycle. Because of this unusual schedule, we will have to rehearse it again closer to the next performance. Shows can be like race horses—you have to keep everyone warmed up. [Right: Siegfried Final Dress Rehearsal: Act I, Mime's trailer. Photo by Cory Weaver.]
Today we dig into problem-solving certain technical aspects of Götterdämmerung. On these days the staff and stage crew work together (without singers and orchestra members) to figure out how to do all of the technical effects. These include everything from lighting, cueing, and projections to scene shifts, pyrotechnics, live fire, and other special effects—all precisely timed to the music. Often it can take all day to get through just one tricky section. So today we will be working on the Immolation Scene with no singers at all. We will work through just the technical aspects while we play a recording of the music or have a pianist play through the parts. Meanwhile in the rehearsal hall across the street we are getting Das Rheingold up to speed and ready to come back to the stage. And a few miles north in the Presidio, Donald Runnicles will be working on Die Walküre with the orchestra.
Just another day in Ring cycle preparations.