It's not terribly piano-ey, though it will certainly involve me having to play the piano as part of it...
I'm emerging from what has been a very difficult two months on the personal front not only for me but also for a close family member whose life suddenly went pear-shaped in a very distressing way, and this is going to be a big lift if it happens as planned. Last week I went to see a production of Iolanthe in a big barn done by one of the village societies in this area, and I realised how much I missed doing that kind of work, which I was doing a lot of before I moved to Cambridge.
Part of the reason I don't is that I can no longer sing, which is very distressing to me, as it was my first instrument and the subject of my teaching diploma, so I can't do all the choir training i used to do; and I spent nearly ten years teaching in school when I came here, which was probably what finally did for my voice. But I was also musical director to a load of projects in different societies and community activities, musician in residence at an adult day centre, did fringe opera for about eight years in the summer, trying to make it more accessible to people who thought it was "not for them"... and so on. Now, I thought, all I do is sit at home and teach people to play the piano. All well and good, but there must be more. I know the point of being a has-been is that at least you HAVE BEEN, but I didn't want to thnk I'd stopped "being"
So this week I've been whizzing into action. Whizzing very slowly
I've chatted up a few friends and useful people, and I think I've started setting the wheels in motion for the Cherry Hinton Community Opera. Long way to go yet. But the idea is to put on productions which will involve (almost) anyone who's really interested. Not something elitist, but more like what we were doing before I moved here.
The piece I really want to do is The Beggar's Opera, which I've done before, and included as well as esperienced performers quite a few who didn't know they could sing or act or dance. So it's a good vehicle for community performance. But I don't want to jump in with both feet, so I'm hoping that when I have a team round me, they will agree to start with something small but perfectly formed, and I want top revive something I did in about 1994.
The boy Mozart wrote this little opera called Bastien und Bastienne, about two shepherds and a shepherdess, and I updated it and added an extra character and a small chorus of girls; it's called The Agony Uncle, and I've had the files on my computer now for years, so I've been tarting them up and gradually uploading them to Score Exchange.
The first one's here http://www.scoreexchange.com/scores/127895.html
and the rest can be found from that. Although it does use a chorus of girls, I'm not sure I can take it into schools because it's - ahem - a bit rude in places, mentions sex quite a bit (not much in the numbers I've uploaded already, it gets worse. Or better, depending on your tastes) But it's also very very funny.
If this gets off the ground, we'll be abke to plan for the Beggar's Opera, and eventually, though it may take a few years and a lot of money, something like Britten's Noye's Fludde, which must surely be the ultimate community project! I'm finding this prospect quite exciting
Meanwhile back to the daily grind, I have three pupils doing Trinity exams next Saturday and seven, if you count 3 prep tests, doing ABRSM on July 4th; one already gone last week, a grade 1 who's already left the country (aw, c'mon, V****, it wasn't THAT bad, surely?)
Takes me back to my secondary school days when the music department put on an opera every year - all female cast, costumes and sets made in-house, directed from two pianos by our Head of Music and her husband who was the school piano teacher. We all had great fun doing it.
I'll be watching for updates.
The Mozart I wanted to start with can be found here http://www.scoreexchange.com/scores/127 ... oE.twitter andin all the subsequent numbers
But I wonder if I ought somehow to cut straight to Noye's Fludde as it's Benjamin Britten's centenary next year (sorry Gill)
I know Gill's not going to like this. It was Gilbert & Sullivan.
The thing is, I have to do the Noye's Fludde this year becasue of it being Britten's centenary, becasue if I don't, someone else will. I didn't want to do it for a year or so, so that we could get established first, but heigh ho - anyway, I dithered about with this Mozart thingy and couldn't get myself started with it as I needed a tenor and a baritone and I really didn't know anyone any more. Then I remembered when I used to sing with Somerset opera we used to do these staged G&S things every year for the audience to come and sing the chorus parts, which were taught to them in the first half and then we did a truncated version of the opera in the second half.This filled the theatre for a week and made enough money to pay for things like Menotti which they did for the rest of the year.
Mine was a concert performance of the Pirates of Penzance and it took a lot of work. And it was a brilliant performance and I got loads of contacts to be able to get help for Noye's Fludde.
And no money. Pathetically small audiences. Oh, VERY appreciative, those that came, and I think I played pretty well - accompanied the whole thing on the joanna, and very laboriously made a 24-page chorus score for the audience to sing from - it looks lovely - not to mention the posters and all the admin. I'd love to delegate but there's nobody to delegate things like that to. So we're in the black still, but that's only thanks to a big anonymous donation (and I have a suspicion that was from me, though I can't confirm it )
By the time schools break up for summer I have to have the whole thing cast - principal singers, animals, orchestra, everything. I do have a good Voice of God who I'm married to. There's just NO answer to that!
'll try to keep you posted and won't be away so long next time. Just exhausted at the moment!
Gizzy in Cambridge
It's a pity that we are geographically so far apart as I would have been more than willing to volunteer my services. I'm afraid that from Balerno, all I can offer is moral support.
I don't see what it wrong with a bit of G & S now and then especially if accompanied by a large G & T - it is proven to assist in reaching notes well outwith ones normal range
I was wondering where you';d got to, but I knew you had a lot planned so wasn';t unduly worried. Can't get over how much you've achieved - I hope everyone appreciates you & is proud of what you've done, Giz.
It was wonderful to read your update! You can't go far wrong with the Voice of God on your side; I'm just a lousy earth-bound mezzo soprano I have to admit to having a very soft spot for G&S, I was taken to many performances when I was a sapling by my mum and I loved them all. Pirates was a definite favourite though! You've got me all nostalgic...
Many congratulations to you and a big hello to everyone here.