Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sitz what? Whosit Probe??

It's a pretty scary word, Sitzprobe. It sounds like an extremly invasive uncomfortable medical proceedure. The german word translates as "Seated test." In our case, it's a seated rehearsal.

Actually its a very special moment in the opera world. It is the moment when all the pieces come together for the first time. Singers and chorus will sing through the entire opera on stage for the first time with the Louisville Orchestra in the pit of the Brown Theatre. The singers will generally sit down or just stand rather than go through the stage blocking.

This special moment is happening for Kentucky Opera tonight. Up until now, the main stage singers have been rehearsing during the day in the 2nd floor rehearsal room, the chorus rehearses in the evening in the same space, and the orchestra has rehearsed on stage rather than in the orchestra pit.

Tonight we will hear how the voices blend with the orchestra. Most of the guest artists have only SEEN the stage. Tonight they will hear how their voices resonate in the hall. The conductor, Joe Mechavich, will be in the pit with the musicians. The director, our very own David Roth, will sit in the middle of the house with a note taker. Stage management will be back stage, making sure artists are ready, preparing cues and ready to halt the action if something needs tweeking.

Customarily, the rehearsal following the Sitz, is the wandleprobe. I bet you can guess what that means. It means singers may not sing full voice or "mark" but they will add the blocking and maybe there will be more props and they might try costume changes. Lighting cues will be refined. All of this requires the strict coordination of the stage management team. More on them next time.

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