I am conducting the company’s new production of Mozart’s great singspiel “The Abduction from the Seraglio”. This is my first visit to Leeds, and I’m having a great time.  I’m from Glasgow originally, and the city reminds me a lot of home, lots of culture and friendly people.

We’ve been rehearsing now for just over a month, amazing since it feels like no time at all since we started.  An opera is put together over about 6 or 7 weeks, piece by piece.  Of course a large part of my job is working with the orchestra, but they join the process relatively late (in fact I’m writing this after the first day of rehearsals with them!).

My role for the first month is an important one. I work closely with the singers and the stage director to find the best way to put the music across to the audience, to tell a story.  We start with several days of music rehearsal, where I work with the brilliant Opera North music team on helping the singers.  We concentrate on phrasing the drama in the music, and make sure the diction is really clear.  After this there are several weeks of production rehearsal, accompanied by piano, where we can delve even deeper into things…  Our production will be very lively, and it’s full of great ideas!

Seraglio is not an easy piece to bring to the stage from a dramatic point of view but Tim Hopkins, our director, has created a new version, with new dialogue, which should be as powerful as it is entertaining.  There will be quite a few surprises for those who know the piece well.

I’ve really enjoyed working with our fantastic cast and I can’t wait to get the orchestra and the singers together for the first time tomorrow.  Maybe I’ll let you know how it goes in another post…

Rory MacDonald
The Abduction from the Seraglio