Well, the opera managed to pull off a pretty exciting Aida Saturday night.. The singers are totally AMAZING. Antonello Palombi sings the role of Radames and I am reminded of the late great Pavorotti everytime this man opens his mouth. You should have seen him at the orchestra's first rehearsal. He was sitting in the back of the room with the other members of the cast and the sound that would come out his mouth (while he was sitting in a very relaxed manner) looked totally effortless. Palombi is the REAL DEAL.
Tiziana Caruso's Aida is extremely heart-felt and expressive.
The orchestra, as always, needs more rehearsal. We pull off these productions with only one day of rehearsals and then two more evening rehearsals (one of them being the dress). I am always in awe that we are able to go in there and perform without (usually) any major disasters (knock on wood!)! The members of this orchestra, especially anyone who plays solos, have to be rock-solid and extremely vigilant in watching the conductor. There is no room for day-dreaming and you have to be willing to move on sometimes little or no notice from the conductor.
The other big challenge for the woodwind section is our continuing to be placed under the lip of the stage. Now this would not be a problem if the stage were not also continuing to be extended at almost every production. Yikes! This situation forces the Principal players to have to force instead of just reacting to what they hear on stage. There are so many places in opera for a woodwind solo to be played much like one would play in a chamber ensemble. I look forward to the day when I can actaully hear what they are singing on stage and actually make music with these awesome singers. My woodwind colleagues are to be commended for playing so well under such challenging conditions.