We’re now in the final week of stage rehearsals for Cinderella and while the scenery and costumes look simply amazing, there’s still an enormous amount of work to be done before it’s ready for an audience. Last week’s three Piano Dress rehearsals were productive but slow going – this show is incredibly detailed and technical, and every element requires the full focus of everyone on stage. There are very fast costume changes for everyone, lots of spectacular scene changes and some tricks up our sleeves I won't spoil for people who are coming to the show. And having the wonderful Queensland Symphony Orchestra in the pit will lift the energy levels even higher.
This has been a joyful rehearsal process from beginning to end. One of the privileges of my job is casting the right artists for each of the roles, and building a team of people whose sole focus and shared purpose is to create the most engaging production we possibly can for our audiences. We have exactly that with team Cinderella, every singer, every musician, stage technician and artisan. I am particularly happy this week to be Artistic Director of Opera Queensland.
Which isn't to say there haven't been some moments of tension and anxiety along the way - that's perfectly natural and normal in any production, and I'd be worried if there weren't. The Cinderella rehearsal period has had its share of winter illnesses, frustrations, "reality checks", small disappointments and potentially scary accidents (thankfully averted by quick action), but any negatives pale into the background when I think back on the many moments of inspiration, achievement, revelation, laughter and collegiality we've all shared over the last few weeks. On Planet Opera, schadenfreude and bitchiness can corrode the creative progress. Happily not here at OperaQ, and I'm determined to keep it that way.
But for now it's time to get back into the darkened theatre for another 3 hour session. We're concentrating on Act 2 tonight, much shorter than Act 1 but it's very complicated and features Rossini's famous storm scene, for which we hope to pull a few theatrical rabbits out of our Victorian top hat, including a snow storm! One of my favourite parts of the creative process is the lighting sessions, and I'm delighted that Australia's most brilliant young lighting designer, Matt Marshall, is spinning his lighting magic for this fairytale. It's taken Matt and his team many many hours to hang, focus, colour and shape the lighting for Cinderella - there are literally hundreds of lighting cues, each of which capture and illuminate the joy and spirit of Rossini's joyfully humane Cinderella, Or Goodness Triumphant!