The Consul opened yesterday evening in the Silk Street Theatre. This opera by Gian Carlo Menotti is about a man who is a political dissident and is on the run from the secret police. The piece won Menotti the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1950. This production has been directed by Stephen Medcalfe and conducted by Tim Redmond and is sung in English.
Here is a look at the set being worked on, ahead of the final orchestral dress rehearsal last Friday. The set and lighting design has been done by Simon Corder, with costume design by Susannah Henry.
The Stage Management team for this production is comprised of a Stage Manager, Deputy Stage Manager and four Assistant Stage Managers. Here they are having a bit of Stage Management Day fun in their rehearsal room.
The Stage Manager for the production, Becky, wrote the following about her experience:
“Stage Managing this production of ‘The Consul’ has been full of fun and challenges. As this is my first allocation of my third year, this means that I’ve never stage managed at Guildhall before, so this allocation was very new for me.
As someone that enjoys Opera I was excited about starting this allocation.
One thing I particularly enjoyed was getting to know my team – four ASMs (Tash, Abby, Jack, Tamsin) and the DSM, Pippa. We made sure that we had fun along the way, as the opera rehearsal period can often feel long at times (7 or 8 weeks rehearsal) and it is important particularly as a stage manager to keep your team motivated.
We had ‘Cake Friday’ and made sure that we met every evening to talk about what we had done in that day and what props we had found. The ASMs had lots of challenging props to find, such as a working 1950s typewriter, two huge filing cabinets, and a special propping task of my own, 300 chairs (thanks Winchmore School).
Another thing I enjoyed was sitting in the rehearsal room and getting to know the director and designer, Stephen and Simon, and watching their rehearsal process.
As a duo they created a beautiful world for the singers and audience, definitely helped by our expert rehearsal props, including a scale cardboard oven and moveable steel deck.
The show has a revolving set so this provided challenges of its own as a stage manager, trying to choreograph with my team and the director how we would move the revolve in time with the music. This paid off as it now looks lovely thanks to our fab crew who wear costume while pushing the revolve.
Overall my experience on ‘The Consul’ has been tiring, loud (singers are noisy on and off stage) and very very fun”.