“...and now the end is near,
and so I face the final curtain” (My Way lyrics, Paul Anka )
"All you need is open space, starlight and a bit of dirt..." (anon... possibly me.)
The best and worst thing about touring opera is the uncertainty. Uncertainty about small things – like will there be a Woolies where I can get my 5 grain unmilled sustainable oatmeal, or my dolphin/whale/albatross safe tuna? Basic things like is there a Whirlpool to wash my clothes in or will I have to stomp on them in the shower again? 'Trivial' things like can I get reception on my iPad to Skype my family “over east”? And funny things like is it ok to steam a chicken fillet in my kettle?
And there's always the thought...'what's the theatre like?' That always get settled within five seconds for singers, conductors and orchestra - a click of the fingers or a quickly warbled note, hopefully resulting in a chorus of “this is going to be a goooood one!!”
For others the eyebrows raise when the semi arrives, and its entire contents have to get from point A (inside the truck) to point B (inside the venue). The theatre, (or community centre or concert hall) is not necessarily geared to loading an opera set in. Perhaps the dock door is too small, or the truck can't get close enough! Doesn’t that make things interesting!!
Yet somehow, it all happens!
|Our Oz Opera touring company of 2011|
Somehow, these vagaries that come with our experiences all get solved, and suddenly it's SHOWTIME!
It's such a different experience from mainstage performing, which, by the way, I wouldn't trade for quids. Sometimes it's sink or swim, battling the new elements. It's always interesting, however, and in the thick of making it happen - constructing a pit out of nothing, adjusting Brett's lights, transforming a storeroom into a makeshift Green Room, or slapping mozzies away in FNQ - it's exhilarating...ask anyone...
Last week we performed in the glorious acoustic of the Perth Concert Hall, a new challenge that hit us, coming from smaller venues. But what a roar our little band made in that room. Booming bass, soaring strings and pleading woodwinds. And those ladies of the horn section!!!! Even onstage we could tell that the hall was extremely generous. What a nice surprise!
We followed this up with a relaxing stint in Margaret River, some happy vineyard hunting and a little beachcombing. With two shows to go we took the opportunity to have a slightly premature “closing night” party here –a 6:50am bus departure the morning after our last show is not very conducive to celebrating...
Last night’s show was at the brand new Albany Entertainment Centre – a jewel in the crown of this lovely little town. And what a reception from the folk of Albany – our little show sold out in 3 days!! Vanessa and the gang had the pleasure of testing out the pit acoustics for the first time.
And now, as I write this, I am 48 minutes into a six-hour bus trip through the canola fields to our last port, Esperance.
It’s a bittersweet feeling, knowing there are only two days of this tour left. For some, the excitement of seeing loved ones again has turned into a counting down of hours. For others, truths of returning to “reality” are starting to sink in, and these last moments shared with comrades are ferociously cherished.
There is nothing quite like sharing the road with 28 of your closest friends. Today my office is a 48-seat coach, tomorrow it will be the Esperance Civic Centre, and then the good folks at Qantas will deliver us safely home. What a life!
Adieu from the road,