Artistic Director of Schwab Vocal Rising Stars and New York Festival of Song, Steven Blier gives insight into the week of rehearsals at Caramoor.
March 13, 2016 – I’m happy to report that the show went beautifully yesterday. I quarantined myself for about 70 minutes beforehand (a few intruders tiptoed around me) and had a serious talk with my hands. They had a few things to say to me too, but after practicing gently (but insistently) they got the message and were on pretty decent behavior for the concert. During the performance I could feel that the audience knew they were in on something special: their newly-jiggered Music Room which situated the performers so much closer to them; new chairs; improved acoustics. It’s funny–our proximity to the listeners makes it easy to connect to them, but also creates a fascinating sense of privacy too. As we delve into ourselves to bring the songs to life, we’re aware that our audience is about five feet away, while we are also deeply immersed in an imaginative world no one can see. It’s a paradox, and one of the things I like most about performing in the round.
At Merkin–Tuesday, 8 PM–we downsize our country house to Manhattan-apartment size. At our rehearsal today Alison Moritz and the cast managed to move into the new space gracefully. In three hours, it was done. At Caramoor, we had to gyrate a bit to include everyone in the side sections. At Merkin, we can be still more often. The whole audience is in front of us. Will and I are now on two pianos for most of the show, and that transition went so smoothly I was a little freaked out by how easy it was. Interestingly, the relationships between the characters in our little concert-cabaret seemed even clearer to me on the conventional concert stage than in the thrust set-up at Caramoor. Either way, you don’t want to miss Liv, Justin, Galeano, and Abi (and Will, my brilliant piano-guy). Those guys can SING. (And act.)