backstage Candide: progress

Week #2 working in the chorus of CANDIDE. Been taking antibiotics and steroids all week to knock out the remnants of a lingering upper respiratory problem. Some days I sound like I should be banished to a TB colony on a remote island. Other days, it feels like a champagne cork has permanently lodged in my right ear canal. Other than that, I feel fine.

Tuesday night we received our official score.

Spending every spare moment with this book.
Spending every spare moment with this book.

I skipped into our house after Opera practice and proudly displayed my big book of music to the TV-watching Texan.

The brilliance of Berstein.
The brilliance of Berstein.

Look Texan…..I got a score tonight!

Who won?

No, no silly….the musical score….for CANDIDE!

What grade did you make?

If it doesn’t involve a round ball and a scoreboard, the Texan ain’t interested.

The chorus had a very productive rehearsal last evening.

Our esteemed chorus master.
Our esteemed Chorus Master.

Dr. George leads the chorus rehearsals and he keeps us on our toes. He has a LOOK.  When you see the LOOK, you’re highly motivated to sing your part correctly. After one of my particularly noisy TB coughing spasms, Dr. George chastised, ‘If you’ve got a cold, don’t come to rehearsals and spread it around!’

Oops. Didn’t think I was still contagious. Guess that was my invitation to slink out the door. I stayed.  Let’s just say rehearsals next week will find me on the back row with a pocket full of Halls. It’ll be OK. I’ll be a safer distance from the stick.

I’ve been pondering the unlikely mash-up of Voltaire and Bernstein that is CANDIDE. What sort of musician decides to make a musical of Voltaire’s grimly satirical work?

I thought I was utterly alone with my ponder-ations.

Until I spotted the bookworm weiner dog.

The Doxy reading her favorite biography.
The Doxy reading her favorite biography.

She wasn’t going rogue this time. She was studying THIS.

voltaire

Roxy Doxy:  You DO realize, Voltaire and Jonathan Swift are considered the greatest satirists in all of literature?!

Me: What do you know of Bernstein?

Roxy Doxy:  Bernstein? I was the featured counter-tenor soloist in his Chichester Psalms!

I am no longer alone.

Not-keeping-score love to all.

backstage pass: Candide

” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher.

Note by note, bar by bar, page by page the expedition has begun. I’m grabbing your hand and pulling you alongside. Join me?

Candide

I’ve been up to something. I’m singing in the chorus/ensemble of Amarillo Opera’s Spring production……CANDIDE. Our first rehearsal was last evening. You guessed right! I’m gonna blog this adventure’s every jagged twist and turn. You’re gonna inhale the musky waft of grease paint and hear every backstage squeeze of the corset on our expedition together. My role may be as a potted palm tree stage right, but you will be privy to the inside scoop of how this massive musical undertaking makes it to opening night.

candidechorusJPG
The first read-through of CANDIDE.

We have an abundance of intoxicating topics to discuss:  Leonard Bernstein, Voltaire, satire, history and music. Lots and lots of gorgeous music.

We’ll start at the beginning…..the audition. Be very relieved I don’t have a photo (or recording) to share with you. Don’t think I could post my pale face and breathless, shaky attempts at singing. Knees knocking in utter terror and a voice cracking at the high notes are not the makings of a fun blog photo or a great audition. This is a big chorus show…..so somehow, I made it. Guess they needed a few Clydesdales of the female vocal range.

Who knew my horsemanship skills could be used in the opera?
Who knew my horsemanship skills could be used in the opera?

This Candide is Bernstein’s musical adaptation of Voltaire’s novel Candide, and yes, I read the novel. The book was in-ter-est-ing. The plot? It’s outrageous, ludicrous, racy….we’ll talk more later.

candideart

We’ll be counting down the days until opening night, April 6th. I’ve tried putting a countdown clock on the right sidebar of this blog to help us as the anticipation builds. We’ll see how that works. Sure, I’ll be blogging about other things along the way, but this series will continue until CANDIDE opens. Bloggy pay dirt!

Learning this music makes my spirit soar. I’m grateful to have such a sparkling jewel in my life right now. How lucky am I? I’m taking your ticket. Welcome aboard. Let’s have some fun.

Traveling-mercy love to all.

Disclaimer: I am a Board member of Amarillo Opera. I want you to come to this production. I’m extremely biased. Read this series at the risk of learning to love CANDIDE.