The stage set up in preparation for Das Rheingold rehearsals at Leeds Town Hall

 

We have been rehearsing for our concert performances of Das Rheingold for two weeks now and it’s going very well, ahead of the opening night on Saturday (18 June). When I was asked to sing the role of Freia, I didn’t hesitate to accept as I love Wagner! Having sung Rheinmaidens before and Gutrune, I thought it was a good opportunity to add another role to the list. There is such a challenge to this music and it has such a reputation amongst singers as the sort of ‘heavy weight’ music in the repertoire. Actually, most of the singers who have sung this music all say to sing it lyrically in the bel canto style, and Wagner himself was a huge fan of the bel canto repertoire, counting Norma as his favourite.

 

Monday 13 June

Today was the first time we rehearsed in Leeds Town Hall. We’d had a wonderful day with the Orchestra on Friday and now we were all together in the venue! You could feel the electricity in the air – we knew that the final countdown was beginning. These first day rehearsals are exciting but often frustrating too as we all have to find our places, the lighting designer has to work out lighting and the director sometimes needs to fix positions here and there to improve on things.

My concern was running onto the stage in my concert dress in time and not tripping up! As it was, we didn’t have a clear pathway as the orchestra were also finding their positions too. There are so many players and extra instrumentalists in this piece that there wasn’t a lot of room. We all had to weave our way around the double basses in order to get on, avoiding their bows!

 

Tuesday 14 June

We are all in ‘costume’ today. By that I mean that some of the gods are in tailcoats and all of the ladies are in black dresses, but we are all colour coded for our different characters. The giants look very handsome in their suits and red ties and the lighting is so wonderful and picks up all the emotion of what is happening up on stage.

There are three huge projector screens behind us and above the orchestra which show various images and words as the music progresses. This adds another dimension to the whole experience which makes this a very unique experience for me as a singer and I imagine the audience will be enthralled too. It has been wonderful to watch the other scenes which I am not in, and see how it is all coming together – it’s very exciting!

 
Wednesday 15 June

Today is the open Dress Rehearsal! We are going to see what an audience think. The show has sold out already for Saturday and I imagine there will be a lot of people in the hall who couldn’t get tickets for the opening. I feel a little nervous but excited as well. We will be raising the level up a notch and I am looking forward to getting into performance mode and going for it! I had better get off this computer and get going!

 

Giselle Allen
Freia – Das Rheingold

 

Das Rheingold opens at Leeds Town Hall on Saturday 18 June. Further performances take place at Leeds Town Hall (1 July, 8 September), Birmingham Symphony Hall (24 June), The Sage,Gateshead (26 June) and The Lowry, Salford Quays (10 September). More details and booking information here.

Listen again to Opera North’s Music Director, Richard Farnes, and Artistic Consultant for the Ring Cycle, Dame Anne Evans, as they discuss Das Rheingold on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011tyz0

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