and the first day that the performers were in the theatre. A very exciting time. Today is what are called the piano stages, but in our case we call them the continuo stages. These are the technical rehearsals of getting everything onto the set, using lighting and costumes as well. It's a day for putting everything onto the stage, but also sorting out the technical issues of which there weren't that many. We call them the continuo stages because we are very fortunate to have our continuo team of two theories, 2 harpsichords (including Erin playing one) and cello and gamba come in and play. We also have the principal string players for each section as well - so in total 11 players of 23! Almost half. I don't want to give too much away about the stage, so I'm grabbing the opportunity to talk about the two harpsichords that we are using - very kindly loaned and hired by Carey Beebe, harpsichord supplier, technician and tuner extraordinaire. We are using a pair of harpsichords modelled on an Italian design by a Sicilian builder named Carlo Grimaldi who was building in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. These are beautiful instruments and function really well as a pair. They are single manuals (only one keyboard each) and have a bright, articulated sound that is perfect for Italian opera of this period. You can see more info on these, and many other harpsichords, at Carey's website - www.hpschd.nu. Here's a pic of the two instruments (in mood theatre lighting) and their two players - Erin Helyard and Anthony Abouhamad. With them is Colin van der Lecq who is maintaining and tuning these throughout our run.