A first rehearsal with Adams and Sellars

On Monday the SF Symphony Chorus had their first rehearsal with John Adams and Peter Sellars for A Flowering Tree. The opera, which received its premiere at the New Crowned Hope festival, is adapted from a Kannda folktale. The libretto is an amalgamation of the folktale text, Tamil love poems, and Virasaiva religious poems. Our rehearsals to this point have been somewhat routine — learning the notes, getting a handle on the tricky rhythms and meter changes, and using little tricks to help ourselves be heard over the orchestra.

Monday’s rehearsals catapulted us into the world of characterization and theater. Our performance will be “semi-staged,” from what I understand, and I saw bits of scenery backstage before the rehearsal. Turning a massive chorus into a dramatic agent is no small task, and Sellars was as clear and effective as any director I have seen. He knew at what level he had to talk to the chorus to get the effect he wanted, and we the change in effect from the first readthrough to the second (after some direction) was huge. Adams will be conducting us, and he is likewise clear and direct in his requests and his conducting. It’s a real treat working on a piece like this, and after Monday’s rehearsal I am certain that the audience will be wowed. Although I do have to say that next week will put my voice through the wringer, so I better stock up this weekend on lemon juice, honey, and ginger…

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0 thoughts on “A first rehearsal with Adams and Sellars

  1. Hmm… should I buy tickets to this? There are five left in the 2nd tier. (And some $100 seats too, but I don’t want to see you sing that much… it’s not like you’re Norah Jones or anything. ;-))

  2. WOW! Anand- the show totally blew my socks off- as usual…

    Like w/ Dr. Atomic, the last 20 minutes had me falling out of my seat in pure, stunned silence!

    My favorite soloist was the soprano. What a voice.

    The choir totally rocked
    I especially liked the “chucka luckka” mistrels’ chorus.

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