"Theodora", an oratorio by George Frederic Handel

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by LaFoto, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In only one day more than a week from now, i.e. on Saturday, 25 November, my choir will take part in the performance of Handel's oratorio "Theodora" (largely unknown!) in St Lucas Church in the neighbouring town. Unlike most oratorios, we are not going to present this as "just" a concert, but as a drama. We'll build up a stage in church the day after tomorrow after the morning service, which will get a stage background and all, and the solo singers who sing the major parts will act the piece along with a little stage choir (to represent the "crowd" that my choir will also represent with our voices, but we shall not be seen, both choir and orchestra must sing and play on the balcony in front of the organ, for there is not enough room in the church otherwise) and two silent players who act the part to two Roman soldiers. A group of three ballet dancers will also appear for a short while in Act 2 while the festivities to celebrate the Roman gods Cypris and Venus will be going on.

    We've practised our choir pieces all throughout the last couple of months, and now the theatre rehearsals with the students to act "the crowd" for us are in full swing. As of Monday, the solo singers will be in town every day for their parts, alone or with the students, and I will be deeply entangled with the whole practise works since I was chosen to be the director's assistent.

    I am quite excited to see how work will proceed once the orchestra and soloists will be around, and what it'll look like when we take it to the "real" stage (it is a makeshift affair, for a church is not a theatre), and they will all act their parts in their outfits.

    Whoever feels like doing so, think of us during all of next week and mostly so on the 25th ... this is a kind of project our choir and choirmaster have never taken up before, we've sung many a concert but never done any real "play" - "opera" - with people ACTING their parts!
     
  2. (Ghastly) Krueger

    (Ghastly) Krueger TPF Noob!

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    Viel Erfolg! :D
     
  3. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    Wow, how exciting! Hopefully someone will take pictures so we can see the setup and how it went.
     
  4. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Cool! Any recordings you are going to make? ;) If so, will you post them?

    Pretty soon we're going into Baroque mode with Bach's Brandenburg Concerti played on Baroque instruments and also the Messiah (entire). Next week we're doing a staged version of the "Hänsel und Gretel" (sp?), should be fun.
     
  5. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    We had the last rehearsal in "the room" today, while yesterday, still only in "the room" the students who play the part of "the crowd" on the stage for the first time acted in their costumes. The difference was ever so noticeable: they immediately ACTED a lot more, a lot better, it was great fun to watch it. Also the three ballet dancers who take part in Act 2, when there is a big "party" going on to celebrate the Roman Gods, instigated by the governor of Antioch (where it is supposed to happen) were there and we saw them dance for the first time.

    The drama of the whole thing is that Theodora has become one of the early Christians and refuses to pray to the Roman Gods and gets imprisoned with the sentence that she'll be forced to serve "in the Temple of Venus", horrible thought for her, she'd much rather die... and so on. Very dramatic. Quite sad.

    OK, tomorrow we shall build up the stage in church and all during the next week leading up to the performance on Saturday, 25 will take part on the actual "stage" (which is no real stage, either, for you don't have stages in a church, but you know... a 8m x 4m area with a background and all.

    I am glad that as of Monday the solo singers will be present to play their parts, so I no longer have to jump in and play their parts (and get thrown into prison four times in a row, ouch! that one's a very ROUGH scene!!) ;).

    Yes, an audio recording and a video recording will be made (since to perform this as a staged version sung in German in a church has never ever happened before, so it is going to be ... listen carefully ... a WORLD PREMIERE!), so that later in a studio the video version can be put together (we have three cameras) and the audio recording can be underlayed since the video recording of the music will be too bad. I doubt I myself may put up parts of the recording on here, but should a link show up on the official website of the church (www.kirche-scheessel.de ), I can tell you about it. For right now you can see some pics of the choir rehearsals in "the room" if you go to "Fotos von den Proben zu Theodora", a link right up there on the first page that will show.
     
  6. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The stage is up.
    Took us 11 hours to complete the job. Whoa! That was longer than we had thought, for sure.
    Today rehearsals begin with the soloists and in the afternoon the students who act as "the crowd" on the stage will join us, too.
    I will have little to no time for TPF in this week, other than giving it a couple of peaks in the early morning to fight withdrawal symptoms. So behave, folks. And miss me! ;)
     
  7. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'll quickly put up some photos of our preparatory work into the Snapshots, in case any of you are interested at all, which I don't know, given the kind of music I sing... But just so you know how I am spending my time THESE days (everything will be over by Saturday/Sunday night).
     
  8. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The performance is tonight.
    Think of us (beginning at 19:00 hours Central European Time), will you? We need it.
     
  9. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Unfortunately there are no photos from my side of neither the dress rehearsal nor the performance. I was way too busy taking minutes and putting down all the director's comments during the first main and the dress rehearsal for after-work critique. And I was part of my choir in the performance. There was no THINKING of getting out the camera. Sorry. I am very sorry about that fact myself, too, but my task in this whole production was that of director's (and later also general production) assistent, so I was way too busy to take any photos in the last stages of preparation when they began to act in full costumes. I don't know who else took any, the press were there during the dress rehearsal and took pics (using flash), we'll see what they are going to look like ... some will be in the one paper's online gallery soon as of Monday, I am sure. I'll give you a link when it is there. OK?

    Well, all in all it was a HUGE success for the little place where it was performed. Few realised that they were witnessing a world premiere, since this piece has never ever been performed as a STAGED version and sung IN GERMAN.

    Admittedly, the German version is no longer original. Händel thought in English at the time (since he lived in England for most of the time in those years of his life) and the writer, Thomas Morrell, surely only thought in English, too. Someone made a translation into German in 18-so-and-so and it had been a wise decision to perform it in this German version. This way the drama of the whole story around Theodora and her lover Didimus transported much better to the audience.

    Applause was long and passionate and everyone was very enraptured and fascinated by the story line and performance and not only few cried in the end.

    This morning, I am still so full of emotion over the entire production (also my work involved, which is so much more than I could possibly put into the Random Thoughts here only), I listen to my (English) CD and cry and cry over the wonderful, and ever so sad arias ...

    I am very happy that the solo singers so enjoyed their work with us that they will all come back next Thursday to celebrate with us ... something we could not do yesterday right after the performance because we were forced to dismantle the entire stage (and technical work) within 1 1/2 hours so that the church would be a normal church again for today's service. [​IMG] Oh well...

    I'll go and dissolve in music now...
     
  10. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    soo.. now you are relieved that all went that well I suppose :)

    Congrats ! :)
     
  11. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, Alex, we all certainly are, mostly so the dramaturg/director (who is one of the bass singers in my choir) and the musical director (our choirmaster).
    Thank you so much for your congratulations.
     
  12. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A remarkable achievement! 'Theodora', thanks to your performance and the recordings, will now be available to many people.

    [And I assure you, no matter how long Handel lived in England, he still counted his money in German.]
     

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