Blackheath Halls Opera

Feedback from chorus and orchestra

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Every year Project Manager Rose asks the chorus and orchestra for their feedback. It makes lovely reading and thank you very much for giving us your feedback!

How did you hear about the Opera project?

• I am a member of Blackheath Halls Chorus.
• I have played in the orchestra for all the previous operas
• Direct email
• Word of mouth 2 years ago
• From involvement in previous operas and other projects at the Halls.
• Have taken part in previous years – and received the email calling from Rose.
• From Barbara and John in last year’s chorus
• I have been a member of the Blackheath Halls orchestra almost from it’s inception and feel privileged to be part of the community opera every year.
• I was in it before and got an email from Rose
• Have participated before.

Did you enjoy the project?

• As always, it was a very absorbing and enjoyable experience: exciting, anxiety-making, exhilarating and uplifting – all at various stages!
• Yes. The principals have always been excellent. This year I thought the chorus were particularly good – having a few Trinity ‘stiffeners’ did wonders for the confidence and attack of the rest.
• Absolutely! The whole process was great! I enjoyed the fact we had a great deal to sing – really something to get our ‘teeth / voices’ into. Being Verdi, it meant the chorus parts were terrific and of real ‘value’ to the whole piece. We also had real passion and drama – so it was easier to learn the music and words. I enjoyed working with Nick and Chris – both excellent and lovely and relaxed with us – which makes a big difference. I particularly enjoyed wearing a wig!
• Yes
• Absolutely.
• It was fabulous – every year I think the same – ‘however am I going to fit in all the rehearsals? And ‘it clashes with so many other things’ (which I have to give the opera rehearsing precedence) And every year when it’s finished I wonder how I’m going to survive without it? I think it must be among the best things that I ever do.I love meeting up with all the super people involved again – plus new ones!
As much as I adored having Harry I must say that I felt far more prepared for this opera with Chris – and the stage management were the best ever! (Sarah the volunteer is just a real joy! )
Really enjoyed Helma’s blogs ( everyone’s blogs!) Loved Stephen….Nick’s passion..
• 10/10
• Absolutely! I feel that this has been our most polished performance and we are learning all the time. It is very different from playing an orchestral work.
• Yes – the best opera yet because the chorus had great songs to sing: it’s the first time I’ve heard people singing in the corridors and really enjoying the music.
I liked most of the direction though still am not sure exactly what the witches were – I liked the idea of them being part of Macbeth’s psyche and thought that could be staged really interestingly, especially when seeing the concept for the costumes, but we became your usual witches, which didn’t really fit in with the modern interpretation. I liked the allusions to modern day GB and coalition Britain. Loved the “Thieves are ruling” chorus an sang it with enormous conviction.
The rehearsal schedule was a challenge and learning the words was a huge challenge but great to have made it through.
• Very much!

In what way could the project have been improved?

• It is already such a high quality production, and such detailed care is taken, it is difficult to know how you could improve it. As always, I wish the Chorus could have a lot more contact with members of the orchestra. Without them, the production would not shine, as it does.
• As always, I so wish I could have seen see all of the show that the lucky audience saw – the bits we were not in we missed completely. Would it not be possible to record the opera so that a DVD could be produced?
• I would also like to have a bit more organised contact with the children; usually it comprises just passing them in the dressing room!
• 2pm start for the Sunday performance is rather early. 3pm would be more civilised, and still not encroach on the evening too much.
• Allow more time for sectional rehearsals – I’m not sure whether we had any this year.
• Not easy to say. It was all run in a fun and organised way. The rehearsal period seemed to fly by, and suddenly it was stage and orchestra, and all very real. Everyone has various constraints but there was patchy attendance by some orchestra members, so perhaps next year some gentle but firm messages at the outset about keeping up the commitment to rehearsals so that everyone can get sorted out more easily on part markings, bowings, desks…
• ? That’s really difficult – nothing really that I can think of – it takes such a lot of commitment to take part– by the penultimate week I, like most of anybody involved probably, was on my knees with work, life and rehearsals – but under no circumstances do I feel that we could have less rehearsals. Usually I think we should have more! (but not this time – see my note above!)
• Thought it was impressively organised.
• I would be grateful if someone would sort the weather out!!!!! I can guarantee that the week of the performances is always the hottest of the year and it is incredibly difficult to concentrate in such heat. I don’t envy the singers in their costumes! Air-conditioning?
• Name tags throughout – could we buy a badge? It really helped having the names as we all forget each others’ names and then feel too embarrassed to ask “who are you?”
• N/A

Any other comments:

• “Macbeth” was such a dramatic and electric opera to be part of – and such wonderful choruses to sing – I loved it!
• A big thank you to all the professionals involved for agreeing to come to Blackheath to work with us – they are inspiring!
• I felt so sorry for the sweltering audience – any hope of air-conditioning for the Halls any time soon?!
• I greatly appreciated the new non-splintery floor in the Recital room, and the excellent new toilets and lift and carpeting at the far end! (Perhaps the ground floor toilets could be spruced up to match?!)
• Hoping the annual Community opera will continue to be produced next year?
• As I am involved with many other local music activities it would be a great help to have the opera dates fixed and announced a year ahead, so that clashes could be minimised (it’s also good to have future plans in the programme). I realise that this is asking a lot!
• I hope the funding is available to run the next production and that the chorus again has a really good, ‘meaty’ part and am certainly up for more wigs! Maybe we should think about that CD…?!
• Worth shooting for a five performance run next year?
• None – other than it was a real pleasure – we were (are ) so lucky with all our fantastic professionals and volunteers who were involved. Thought the children were great this year too! Well behaved and performed fantastically! From a chorus member point of view – the music was fabulous – really meaty songs to learn and perform. Yes, this definitely must rate among the very best of our Community Operas!
• Thought to whole experience was amazing. Thanks so much for letting me join in. Diane x
• As always, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It has taken a few years to truly understand the concept of playing for an opera, but I think we might just have got the hang of it this year!
• Big thank you to all the organisers involved.
• Although the rehearsal schedule was punishing, I felt much better-prepared than in previous years, so it was worth it.

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