The Convent of Pleasure - May 3
Just back from a delightful reheasal with three superb sopranos - Virginia Hatfield, Michele DeBoer and Dawn Bailey - and an amazing continuo team: Noam Krieger and Justin Haynes. We spent the evening doing detailed musical work on the two large pieces in this show: Monteverdi's "Il ballo delle ingrate" and Luigi Rossi's "Noi siam tre donzellette semplicette". I am overjoyed by the progress we've made in the past week and it was such fun to watch earlier today as actors and singers came together to watch and listen to each other's work.That's always a very satisfying moment in the evolution of a TMT production. We necessarily rehearse the different artistic elements separately and no-one's quite certain what to expect, especially those who have not worked with us before. The thrilling thing about it all is that it "works". We are never completely sure how things will come together, but in this case I think we have an absolute winner on our hands. The humour and flowing poetry of the play - Margaret Cavendish's "The Convent of Pleasure - is brilliantly juxtaposed by the rollicking joy of the Rossi piece and the gravitas of the Monteverdi. Our conceit is that these pieces are the "entertainments" in Lady Happy's new convent, which is dedicated to aesthetic and sensual pleasures, and they work perfectly. Along the way, we have also added some gorgeous songs by Pelham Humphrey and William and Henry Lawes and the sublime six-part madrigal "Draw on sweet night" by John Wilbye. Justin Haynes is also going to perform some Divisions for viola da gamba by Christpher Simpson.
Now, we look forward to the arrival on Sunday of Les Jardins Choregraphiques, four dancers from Montreal, and to add their energy to the already palpable excitement of the rehearsal hall.
I should also add that the wonderful costume designer, Erikca Connor, is knocking herself out outfitting the singers, actors and dancers and Gabriel Cropley is working his quite magic, developing a lighting design.
I'm always excited - and a little terrified - at this point in the process, but usually we have a known quantity: one or two large, stand-alone works that have a built-in dramatic arc. We're taking a big risk with this show, though, in that we've created it by putting together a number of disparate pieces. So, it's deeply satisfying - and a relief! - to see it all coming together so swimmingly.
Everyone involved has brought such open and generous hearts to this project. It's going to be quite special. I suggest you book your tickets immediately!!