I have no idea where the last few months have gone but I suddenly find myself in the Rehearsal Room of Opera North excited to start 'Music Week' for Carousel. Most of the company are still out on tour, so it's very quiet and a little strange for me to be back here in the building without my colleagues from the chorus.
Jim Holmes & Jonathan Gill are in the building however, so it's time to make a start on Julie's music. I have turned up this week having prepared & practised 'the dots' myself but I know that my preparation will pale in comparison to the level of detail that Jim will open my eyes to and help me to include.
In Carousel, some of the musical numbers I get to sing as Julie are 'If I loved you' (with that important 'if' providing the impetus for the 11 minute bench scene with Billy); 'What's The Use of Wond'rin ' and the opening bars of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' before Nettie, (Elena Ferrari), takes it over. Jim has many methods to break the music down & rehearse - one of which is speaking the text to try to get you to find the natural stresses of words without the musical constraints. As a singer I find this really difficult as you dutifully learn the words and rhythm together, so turning off the inner metronome is a nightmare!
The week ends with a session with Claire Boulter, who is playing Carrie Pipperidge. We play best friends in the show and I know instantly upon meeting Claire again that it's going to be an easy ask - we get on like a house on fire. In this musical section, Carrie is trying to wheedle out of Julie whether or not she likes Billy Bigelow, so that Carrie can than finally tell Julie about her intended 'Mr Snow'. One of my favourite moments from this session was Jim asking Claire to imagine herself as a Yorkshire terrier, and myself as an Afghan hound to get the difference in our energies in the scene!
So now I've made an official start on the music it's time for the weekend - next week, production begins.