Ein guten Rutsch! Happy New Year!
I had a very German Silvester (New Year’s Eve) with Fledermaus. If an opera house has an operette production in it’s season, it almost guaranteed that they’ll play it on NYE, and probably twice, as we did. No less than nine other theaters in Germany were performing Fledermaus last night, including both the Bayerische Staatsoper and Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in München (Munich). Wien (Vienna) also had two offerings with the Staatsoper and the Volksoper both showing it.
In our production almost all of the parts are double cast, so most singers only do one performance, however, the other Falke is also one of the Eisensteins, and it’s less of an ask for me to sing Falke twice than it is for him to sing one of each (though I know he could certainly do it, and would probably enjoy it too!). For several reasons, last night took a lot out of me, and was a great learning experience!
I had actually cancelled on the 28th, when I was supposed to sing Falke. I had come down with a sore throat and fever, and so, while I was very much better, I was still not in top form by Silvester, and having not sung in a few days I was very conscious of technical and vocal issues, particularly as the night went on. At least I didn’t need to blow my nose on stage!
It was also my first performance with a different conductor, and despite a few minutes the day before checking certain corners, I had to be very aware of possible differences in tempo. In the first performance we also had a guest einspringen (jump-in) for Adele, who had a very limited amount of stage rehearsal with the director’s assistant beforehand. Obviously it was much more stressful for her, but it did mean that we all had to keep an eye out for her and occasionally guide her, particularly in the chaotic party scene where it’s very easy to get taken out by a moving sofa! One particularly nice moment near the end of Act II was when she simply grabbed me and began to waltz; I don’t normally waltz there, but she didn’t know who she was supposed to waltz with and I was there! At moments like that, one just needs to go with the flow.
I was surprised to find the second performance more difficult in terms of memory. I had assumed that having just done a whole run, I wouldn’t even need to think about the lines and dialogue, but perhaps the amount of concentration spent in the first one made it less secure in the second.
In all, it was a very enjoyable night (as it always is with this piece) and good way to learn about my own abilities and limits.