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 Grim Reaper and the Great Barrier

noerpel_new

(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 …

Early Returns: How U.S. Markets Reacted to the Presidential Election

Smith0035

On November 8, 2016, Republican candidate Donald J. Trump won a closely contested election for president of the United States. Late on election night, when it became evident that Trump was likely to win, despite consistently trailing in the polls, …

America: Worthy of Our Trust

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel My friend and I sit in a bar near our office. He is upset, bags under his eyes due to lack of sleep. Thursday, our weekly night to meet is usually a happy hour filled with intellectual …

South Riding

South Riding

I should have known that this one would take me far from my contemplative, Zen-inspired comfort zone; after I’d traversed more construction projects than I wanted to tally, competed with hurried, coffee-driven commuters with no time for mere existence, and …

Support Group Help Needed

drmikenewpic

Dr. Mike, My son was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago, and his pediatrician at that time recommended we try a social skills group for his “immaturity” and “impulsivity.” We did that, and our experience was horrible. The kids in …

The State of Corals

Figure 3 close up view of healthy coral polyps. [9]

(Presented to the Board of Supervisors December 6, 2016) “Events as severe as the 1998 event, the worst on record, are likely to become commonplace within 20 years.” – Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999 [4] Tony Noerpel

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

December 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
November 28, 2016 November 29, 2016 November 30, 2016 December 1, 2016 December 2, 2016 December 3, 2016

Holiday Open House

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

December 4, 2016

Holiday Open House

December 5, 2016 December 6, 2016 December 7, 2016 December 8, 2016 December 9, 2016

Christmas Market and Trolley Tours

December 10, 2016

Holiday Open House

13th Annual Purcellville Christmas Parade

Barrel Tasting Event Saturday

December 11, 2016

Christmas Market and Trolley Tours

December 12, 2016 December 13, 2016 December 14, 2016 December 15, 2016 December 16, 2016 December 17, 2016

Intro to Essential Oils

December 18, 2016
December 19, 2016 December 20, 2016 December 21, 2016 December 22, 2016 December 23, 2016 December 24, 2016 December 25, 2016
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

Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

Farm Bureau President Hopes for Immigration Reform

5 Dec 2016

pvllehorsefarm

Virginia Farm Bureau President Wayne F. Pryor told county delegates at the organization’s annual convention in Hot Springs that immigration reform “is an issue that has been delayed too long.” He noted that: “Work will begin on the 2018 Farm Bill next year. This is the most complex federal legislation farmers face, and it typically takes at least two years …

(Be the first to comment)

Northern Virginia Chamber To Host Congressional Roundtable

5 Dec 2016

blueridge2

The Northern Virginia Chamber will host its annual Congressional Roundtable on Monday, December 12, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Northern Virginia Chamber in Tysons (7900 Westpark Drive, Suite A550). The dialogue will cover several issues at the intersection of federal policy and business – federal spending, energy, trade policy, the sequestration and the effect on Northern Virginia, transportation, …

(Be the first to comment)

Ugly Christmas Sweater Fad Keeps Growing

30 Nov 2016

uglysweater

Since 2012, the Re-Love It consignment shop, at 138 N. 21st Street in Purcellville, has developed the reputation as the place to get your Ugly Christmas Sweater in the Metro D.C. area. In that time, Re-Love It has sold more than 3,000 vintage Ugly Christmas Sweaters.

(Be the first to 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

Warner Introduces Bill To Help Wells Fargo Victims Get Their Day in Court

blueridge2

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced legislation to give Wells Fargo customers who were victims of a fraudulent account scheme their day in court. The bank was involved in a scandal this year after it was revealed that Wells Fargo employees secretly …

(Be the first to comment)

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall

outandaboutloudoun

The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

(Be the first to comment)

Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Accepting Applications for Sports League Funding

30 Nov 2016

basketball

Purcellville is accepting applications from local organizations for its annual sports league funding program. Organizations must serve the Town of Purcellville area, have citizens of the Town of Purcellville as players, and provide a letter to the Town from the IRS confirming the organization’s tax exempt status in order to …

(Be the first to comment)

Woodgrove High Student Will Pursue Track and Field at George Mason

30 Nov 2016

woodgrove

Puneet Kaur of Woodgrove High School has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her track and field career at George Mason University. Kaur has held the school record in shot put since her sophomore year and is looking to throw shotput, hammer, discus and maybe even the javelin …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

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