Oliver - Behind the scenes
This week, I thought I would explain how the music rehearsals for Oliver - Featuring Richard O'Brien are run.
Victoria Brown is the Musical Director for the production. She is also an accomplished violinist and conductor, and holds the position of Director of Performing Arts and Cultural Manager at St Peter's School in Cambridge. Those who have been lucky enough to be conducted and/or instructed by Victoria also know that she can't help but roll out a few of her accents and impersonations during a rehearsal, which makes for a very amusing time indeed.
Before a single note of the show is sung, the company under Victoria's leadership, stretches left and right, rolls their shoulders and necks, and generally loosens and limbers up. Then a series of exercises designed to expand diaphragms and warm the vocal chords are undertaken.
This can consist of fun drills such as breathing out hissing sounds for as long as possible and gently humming tunes like "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". Warm-ups are always completed with ascending scales of "ahh" or "doo bee doo bee doo bee doo" and are accompanied by rehearsal pianist Sam Cleaver.
Once all the nervous energy is expelled and the group is focussed, then the music rehearsals begin in earnest.
At 4.30pm on Tuesday, the tenth day of April in the year two thousand twelve, the rehearsals for “Oliver! – featuring Richard O’Brien” finally began, and some of the Hamilton Operatic Society creative team and associated production personnel all collectively breathed a sigh of relief.
Although auditions were only held last month, the planning to get to this particular point in time has been underway for more than eighteen months.
Over the next 11 weeks, my intention is that this blog will build a complete picture of what it takes to get the show on the road, so to speak, and to that magical moment when the heavy velvet curtains of the Founders Theatre in Hamilton lift at 7.30pm on opening night, Saturday, 23 June 2011
Why did the society choose Oliver? There were a number of factors involved in making the decision. Firstly, we hadn’t staged Oliver since 1990. Secondly, we thoroughly enjoyed working with a large number of children during our extraordinary 2010 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. And lastly, the society was successful in securing the rights.
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