Follow Opera North’s production of Così fan tutte from rehearsals and first fittings to singer’s insights and first night nerves.


First in the series is a week in the life of Jane Bonner, Company Manager, as the first rehearsal begins.

Mon 20 July

Return from hols and start sorting through the myriad e-mails that have accumulated –  oh look, one from Press & PR asking if I’ll do a blog – sometimes I’m not sure that technology is ALL good.

We’re revving up to the start of rehearsals for our revival of Così fan tutte, and also re-rehearsals for Skin Deep, Of Thee I Sing and Paradise Moscow which we will be performing at the Bregenz Festival in 3 weeks time.  Good grief, only 3 weeks.

But first we have to get some music rehearsals under way for Così.

Tues 21 Jul

Spend the day sorting out travel & accommodation for this season and the Bregenz trip; putting together a contract for a dancer; meeting with Jo about a newly opened hotel where we hope to get a preferential rate; trying to sort out the jigsaw that will become the schedule; looking at risk assessment checklists for pregnant workers; answering queries from artists’ agents about start times for rehearsals.

Wed 22 Jul

Meeting about Bregenz arrangements – there is so much detail.

More pieces of the schedule jigsaw arrive.

Collect Quirijn de Lang from Leeds Airport, take him to his flat.  Elizabeth Atherton (+ baby son) arrives very shortly after – install them too.

Thurs 23 Jul

Liz & Annette (Saunders – chief repetiteur on Così) arrive to start music rehearsals.  Andrew Parrott (the conductor) arrives rather later, having had a vile journey.   It’s pointed out to me that I have missed Victoria Simmonds off the schedule for this evening.  She’s just driven up from London with her 3-month-old daughter, but very nobly agrees to come in – but I’ll have to babysit.

Liz (Fiordiligi), Vicky (Dorabella), Quirijn (Guglielmo) and Geof Dolton (Don Alfonso) rehearse, I write e-mails and keep checking on the baby who sleeps peacefully. After the rehearsal install Andrew in his flat.

Fri 24 July

I take Vicky to look at a flat – as well as the baby, she will have 3-year-old daughter and various relatives in Leeds during the rehearsal period.  Luckily she loves it .

Final look at schedule before e-mailing it to everyone – this bit of technology I like.  Geof comes in to check that he REALLY has a fitting at 10am on Monday – he’ll be starting to rehearse Skin Deep for the Bregenz trip later that morning, and was hoping for a later start.  I apologise, but tell him it’s true!

Sat 25 July

Così cast have one last music session, I try to work out next week’s pay, then off out into the sunshine, quick.