Day 5 of Bajazet rehearsals

Today Thomas moved on to Act 1 scenes 3 and 5 - the ones where Andronico discovers that Tamerlano loves Bajazet's daughter Asteria and intends to wed her. Andronico loves Asteria also. Two beautiful countertenor arias were covered today - In sì torbida (Tamerlano) and Quel ciglio (Andronico). Conductor Erin Helyard has reconstructed the opera from Vivaldi's manuscript and has produced a lovely score (typeset in Finale), but there are always questions and discussions about the recits and arias as they are done. This will continue right up to the first performance! How a singer ornaments a piece is particularly discussion worthy, and here is a great pic of Erin and Russell doing just this. Behind Erin is his computer on which he has the Vivaldi autograph and he will frequently check this to make sure everything is how Vivaldi wanted it.

 Erin Helyard and Russell Harcourt

Erin Helyard and Russell Harcourt

Bajazet rehearsals Day 4

Our first full day of staging (a half day yesterday) and we worked through the rest of the overture and the first two scenes of Act 1 with Idaspe's first aria (sung beautifully by Sara Macliver). Idaspe is described in the libretto as Andronico's friend; in our production she is perhaps a more neutral character in a different kind of role (I won't spoil the surprise of what). A second day of costume fittings as well, and we were joined again by our very talented designer Alicia Clements, and her associate designer Elizabeth Gadsby. And here's a pic of the two of them - it's great to have them both on board with us. The costumes - even in their early stages - look really wonderful.

 Alicia Clements and Elizabeth Gadsby

Alicia Clements and Elizabeth Gadsby

Day 3 of Bajazet rehearsals

and a big day filled with many different facets of putting on an opera. In the morning was a cast read through (just text) of the entire opera, and a discussion on the story arc for each character - fascinating. In the afternoon we started staging - beginning at the beginning with the overture. Already some beautiful imagery starting to appear and great to see the work getting on to its feet. Costume fittings also began today; and again terrific to see design ideas becoming reality. Much work has been done on props, and stage plans are now covering much of one wall in the rehearsal studio. Add to this harpsichord tuning, working on vocal ornamentation, Italian language, body language, fight techniques and many other things and you'll begin to get the picture! Here's a lovely pic of Bajazet's two would be lovers - Asteria (Emily Edmonds) and Andronico (Russell Harcourt).

 Russell Harcourt and Emily Edmonds

Russell Harcourt and Emily Edmonds

Day 2 of Bajazet rehearsals

and our second day of music calls. Today Erin worked with Sara Macliver (Idaspe) and Helen Sherman (Irene), and then after lunch worked on the quartet (Asteria, Irene, Tamerlano and Bajazet). A long production meeting was held, and then the cast was given their design presentation by director Thomas de Mallet Burgess and designer Alicia Clements. Very exciting for the cast to see how the show will take shape, what the stage will look like and what they will be wearing. We've moved our office over to the rehearsal spot, and so there was also all the normal office activity, including a big letter run. A busy day and a very exciting one. Staging starts tomorrow. Here's a pic of our beautiful cast with Erin Helyard and Thomas de Mallet Burgess.

 Bajazet cast

Bajazet cast

Bajazet rehearsals have begun!

And welcome to the Bajazet rehearsal blog - lovely to have you with us. It's been a long time coming, but now we are here. Our first two days are music rehearsals - two days of Erin Helyard seeing all the singers one at a time and working through their arias and recitative for tempo, ornamentation, style, mood and many other things. A first taste of the wonderful Vivaldi score. Today we saw Hadleigh Adams (Bajazet), Russell Harcourt (Andronico), Emily Edmonds (Asteria) and Christopher Lowrey (Tamerlano) and it was a very good day. Here's a lovely pic of Erin and Hadleigh - maestro and hero together. 

Erin and Hadleigh