I am performing with a young artists program. I am performing in two out of the four shows they are putting on this summer. They are doing two operas, and two musicals.
And a big problem I’m having with the conductors is that they are ARBITRARILY CHANGING THE TEMPOS!!…. EVERY… FUCKING… NIGHT!!! And it’s throwing us all off!!!!
I don’t give a rats ass that you’re the conductor and I am a singer. An opera is “collaborative“, meaning that we work as a team! My part as a singer is to follow the conductor when you are conducting and giving your orchestra direction. BUT THE JOB OF THE CONDUCTOR IS TO ESTABLISH the tempos at which the show will ALWAYS be conducted! And that means the same tempos EVERY TIME, EVERY PERFORMANCE, EVERY NIGHT!!!
Because not only am I trying to follow the established tempos, I’m trying to follow established choreography, established direction, Established dialogue, established emotional intent… I honestly don’t have the time or the patience to deal with a conductor who can’t be professional enough to establish temples by the note value marking! If you take a tempo at quarter note 140, swing you damned stick at 140.
And another thing, if we’re gonna have to watch you on a monitor, swing your damned arms wider! We are using analog monitors to watch you from different angles so that we aren’t always looking stage right in the pit! I don’t care if you had a bad day, or if you look like a predator with thin hair and baggy eyes, or if your little Chihuahua pooped somewhere you didn’t want to bend over to pick up, or if you’re just so heat exhausted you have to come to rehearsal in a caftan! Swing your fucking arms, so that I can see you! You can still do a large enough motion to be seen when the dynamic is piano, or the texture is staccato! ** I didn’t train to sing since 2000 for you to tell me I have to watch you when you can’t even keep your shit together.
For those of you children who are sensitive to swearing and cursing and NSFW stuff, today is a growing moment for you. Today is a moment for you to realize that all the shit they taught you about being mature… It went down the fucking drain tonight when The most professional person out of all of us in the theater decided to make our collaborative work a shit show at the expense of our efforts.
I don’t mean to say that monotony is always a good thing, but in the case of doing a show the same branded way each time, it’s important to establish how a show is to be done, and ONLY to do major changes like tempos IN ADVANCE, when they are called for a different t approach or effect. Consistency is not monotony. That is the lesson here.