Home » Behind the Scenes »Lifestyle » Currently Reading:

Exhaustion and Joy … Behind the Scenes of The Merry Widow

April 4, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Behind the Scenes, Lifestyle No Comments
Merry_widow

By Molly Pinson Simoneau

Around ten ‘til seven, I arrive at the church building, gather what I need out of the back seat of my car and walk inside where I find my fellow cast and crew members already gathering and preparing to rehearse The Merry Widow. I set my score, water bottle, and character shoes down next to Erin Winkler, a soprano with impeccable comedic instinct, who is singing the role of Natalie in our performance.

“How’s it going?” I say, as I sit down to change my shoes. “Pretty good, how are you? Feeling better?” She asks, remembering that I had a throat infection last week. “I’m much better, but still not totally healed. My voice is still tiring out easily, you know?” “I know. I’m still not 100 percent yet either.” She says. She had come down with laryngitis a few weeks ago, but recently has been sounding as good as ever, and I told her so. Sometimes it seems like all we singers talk about is our various ailments, and how to cure them. When your instrument is literally a part of your body, it becomes a priority.

I notice that Quong Van, Loudoun Lyric Opera’s music director and pianist, just walked in, and I have something I want to discuss with him. “Hey Quong, can I go over something in the Can-Can with you?”

“Sure.” He gets his score out of his backpack and opens it to the scene that takes place at the iconic Maxim’s restaurant in Paris.

I’ve been having some trouble with breath-management in the number, trying to reconcile dancing and singing at once. “If we can take a bit of a longer pause here,” I say pointing to a place in the score where the music sort of shifts gears, “Then I think I’ll have a chance to catch my breath.” I explain that I’d like to be able to fully exhale and then inhale again before moving on.

Quong agrees that it should work, and by the time we’re done discussing it, it’s time to begin rehearsal. We start with a sing-through of the very same number and try it with the longer pause.

“Ok,” says our stage director, Meredith Bean McMath (a name Loudoun’s theater goers should recognize as the head of Run Rabbit Run productions, and author of the locally popular play All for the Union based on an episode of Loudoun’s civil war history), “let’s do the whole number with the choreography, from the top.” She talks through a quick review of some choreography that was added to the beginning of the number a week before as everyone makes their way to their opening places.

Quong begins playing the music that opens the scene on the upright piano in the corner; it echoes the Act I aria about the carefree atmosphere at Maxim’s, sung by baritone Gregory Stuart who is playing the lead role of Count Danilo. Then, I hear my cue line and the music shifts from a lilting waltz to a sort of gallop. I prance out with six other can-can dancers or “grisettes,” and together, we perform the show-stopping can-can, which frenetically increases its pace with each iteration of the refrain, “Ritantou! Ritantirelle! Et voila, que je suis belle!”

By the end we’re kicking our feet up fast and I can’t help but get caught up in the sheer fun of it, when finally we strike our last pose, and the tenor next to me whispers in my ear, “Breathe,” as I pant hard, trying to recover.

I admit, I’m not quite as physically fit as I’d like to be. But, there’s no time to worry about that, because we’re getting notes from Meredith and our choreographer, Kelly Gray, and getting ready to run it again. In French, the word they use for practice or rehearsal is “répetition,” and it is absolutely apt. We run the can-can three more times before everyone’s satisfied.

Later on in the evening, our two stars, Gregory Stuart and Melissa Chavez, a glittering soprano who is playing the title role of Hanna Glawari sing their final duet, also known as the Merry Widow Waltz. As someone who is not just a performer of opera, but a huge fan, one of my favorite things about rehearsal is just listening to my fellow singers practice their craft.

For a small, young company, Loudoun Lyric Opera has some truly amazing talent among its ranks. As Melissa and Gregory sing, I relax and just enjoy the music – but not for long, because now it’s time to rehearse the final number which uses every voice in the cast. We haven’t visited this one in a while, but after a quick review of the choreography we’re going full tilt.

When we’re given our last notes and reminders for the evening, everyone disperses and begins packing up their things. Melissa and Gregory decide to go over their duet one more time. Everyone’s saying “Good night,”and “See you Friday,” when we get to do this again. I’m exhausted, as I expect my cast mates are as well, but I also couldn’t be happier. Doing opera is a joy, and seeing opera is a joy too. I think I speak for the entire cast and crew of Loudoun Lyric Opera’s Merry Widow when I say how I just can’t wait to share all this fun with the rest of Loudoun County.

The Merry Widow opens at the Franklin Park Arts Center on Friday, April 13 and runs through April 22. For more information, visit www.LoudounLyricOpera.com.

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

The Trump Effect

noerpel_new

“Corals are marine magicians. As colonies of the tiny ocean organisms grow, they transform the calcium that circulates in seawater into enormous limestone reefs. These reefs—which can extend for more than 1,000 miles and provide homes for crabs, eels, sea …

Six Tips To a New Year and a New You in 2017

drmikenewpic

By Michael Oberschenider, Psy.D. Research has shown that as many as 45 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions, but only about eight percent are actually successful in achieving them. And it seems that age is a factor: about 39 …

Investing in the Family Stock

Smith0035

Family relationships are usually not considered under the rubric of “investments”. Yet, the personal gain and loss from family relationships is much more significant than economic return from stocks and bonds. Taking time out to relate to a person without …

Choosing a Different Lens

moore-sobelnewmug

We have all heard, “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” maybe even said it aloud while perusing old photo albums or scrolling through Facebook timelines. Sometimes words fall short of adequately describing an emotion encapsulating a distinct moment. Pictures fill …

Freedom Park

freedom park

A great name for a great place, this public space shows us – in my opinion – what’s best about Leesburg, Loudoun County and our country. Freedom Park – just off the Dulles Greenway on the South side of Town …

The Grim Reaper and the Great Barrier

grimreaper

(to be presented to the Board of Supervisors in January) “The recent frequency and intensity of mass coral bleaching are of major concern, and are directly attributable to rising atmospheric greenhouse gases.” [1]

Pearl Harbor

flag

By Nicholas Reid Seventy-five years ago this December 7, to quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” It will have been 75 …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

(Be the first to comment)

Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

(Be the first to comment)

Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

January 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
December 26, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016 December 29, 2016 December 30, 2016 December 31, 2016

Family New Year’s Eve Celebration

January 1, 2017

New Year's Day Musikabend

Restore & Renew

January 2, 2017 January 3, 2017 January 4, 2017 January 5, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 6, 2017 January 7, 2017

Core Purpose, Core Practice Yoga

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

January 8, 2017
January 9, 2017

AUDITIONS - SEUSSICAL

January 10, 2017 January 11, 2017

Beale Street Puppets: Dig Those Dinosaurs

January 12, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 13, 2017 January 14, 2017

THE IMMORTALS

January 15, 2017

Come Paint with Us at Breaux Vineyards

January 16, 2017 January 17, 2017 January 18, 2017

Virginia Opera: Deep River- The Marion Anderson Story

January 19, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 20, 2017

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

January 21, 2017

DANNY KNICELY CONCERT

January 22, 2017
January 23, 2017 January 24, 2017 January 25, 2017 January 26, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 27, 2017 January 28, 2017 January 29, 2017
January 30, 2017 January 31, 2017 February 1, 2017 February 2, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

February 3, 2017 February 4, 2017

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

February 5, 2017
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

Upcoming Waterford Concerts Feature St. Lawrence String Quartet and Four Other Acts

18 Jan 2017

waterford

Subscriptions and tickets are now on sale for five upcoming concerts, the Waterford Concert Series announced. All concerts begin at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons in the Waterford Old School auditorium, 40222 Fairfax Street in Waterford. The concert series begins March 19 with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, known for exalted performances and joyful connection with audiences. First violinist Geoff …

(Be the first to comment)

Historian Rich Gillespie Speaks on Haunts on the Loudoun Landscape

12 Jan 2017

The Mosby Heritage Area Association announced an event in conjunction with the Purcellville Library on January 29, at 2:00 p.m,. which will feature Rich Gillespie, Historian Emeritus of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, speaking on the “Haunts on the Loudoun Landscape.” The stories are all from the personal experiences of long-time local historian and teacher Rich Gillespie, or from close …

(Be the first to comment)

Help Joseph … and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

4 Jan 2017

blueridge2

Blue Ridge Middle School’s PTO is seeking help with its drama department, working diligently on the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat. The children in the show are enthusiastic and very talented. And, the school has a long history of first class productions with recent shows such as The Lion King, which won 11 National Youth Arts Awards …

(1 comment)

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

blueridge2.jpg

– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

blueridge2.jpg

– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Vote No To the Minor Special Exception

catesbyproposal

We are a group of Loudoun County citizens who will be adversely affected if the board grants a special exception for the Catesby Farm property at your upcoming meeting. You …

It’s Our Right

catesbyproposal

On December 6, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a “Minor Special Exception” proposal we submitted earlier this year concerning our Catesby Farm property. Unfortunately, our limited …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm

blueridge2

By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

Office Building on Capitol Square To Be Named After Civil Rights Pioneer Barbara Johns

image002

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the newly renovated state building located at 202 N. 9th Street on Capitol Square in Richmond (currently known as the 9th Street Office Building) will bear the name of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns. The building, which reopened last year, houses the Virginia Attorney General’s …

(Be the first to comment)

Rep. Comstock’s Key Top Priority Legislation Initiatives

barbaracomstock

Signed into Law in Her First Term Rep. Barbara Comstock, who serves the 10th congressional district in Virginia, recently reviewed the achievements of her first term in office, identifying 17 legislative initiatives that she supported that were adopted. She said: “My staff and I have met with stakeholders, local elected …

(Be the first to comment)

Man Killed Walking To Gas Station on I-95

police_tape

Virginia State Police Trooper M.J. Kryznefski is investigating a fatal pedestrian crash in Prince William County. The crash occurred at approximately 4:10 a.m., on Monday, December 26, on Interstate 95 near Exit 158B. Three males were traveling south on Interstate 95 when their Honda CRV ran out of gas. They …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Ida Lee Spring NFL Flag Football Registration Filling Fast

18 Jan 2017

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Deadline for the House League registration is February 13. Registration for the Spring 2017 NFL Flag Football League at Ida Lee is currently open and filling fast. We are excited to offer again two great leagues: Ida Lee NFL Flag Football House League and the Ida Lee NFL Flag Football …

(Be the first to comment)

Woodgrove Grabs First at Glory Days

10 Jan 2017

Woodgrove Gymnastics

The Woodgrove Varsity Gymnastics took first place in the red division of the Glory Days Invitational at Park View High School on Saturday, January 7. Woodgrove competed against Rock Ridge, Potomac Falls, Loudoun Valley and Heritage high schools. Host team Park View came in first in the lower blue division. …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2017
  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009