Wednesday, June 10, 2009
It was a few days after getting to Olomouc that I learned there would only be one rehearsal for "Nabucco." And when I got to that rehearsal I discovered that my preconceptions, based on a video of the 2004 premiere of this production, were all wrong. That video had been extremely slow, so I thought, I have to speed this opera up! After about 10 minutes of rehearsal, the concertmaster says to me, "But maestro, we are used to a faster tempo." It seemed that in five years, the opera had been getting faster and faster and faster ... Well, then the leading lady was "indisposed" and didn't make it to the rehearsal at all. Despite these problems, and the inevitable first half hour of caginess and mistrust, it turned out to be great working with the Czechs and eventually they responded brilliantly. The day after the rehearsal was spent trying to figure out what to do if the leading lady never recovered. On the morning of the performance, she was up, though, so about 3 hours before the show, I sat in the intendant's office lstening to their proposal for a cleverly cut version of the opera in which the leading lady was no longer leading, and the opera was actually about the OTHER soprano.... it seemed to make sense. I mean, Nabucco's plot isn't very logical to start off with.
The performance as it turned out was packed ... standing room only ... and we got standing ovations and a lot of curtain calls, so I suppose it must have made sense to the audience....