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 12, 2016 – We’re ready. Well anyway, the cast is.
Dress rehearsal went quite beautifully. We have the luxury of actual lighting (a rarity in my concerts, something I don’t get at Juilliard or in San Francisco), and the show flows quite well. We’re not quite sure how long it runs—there was a bit of controversy but it is somewhere around 70 minutes, which I of course hope will turn into 75—or 80!—minutes with applause. It seemed a perfect length.
It was interesting to see the way the cast has been growing in their music over these last few days. I made an instinctive decision to be as hands-off as possible today, leaving the lion’s share of the note-giving to Michael and Alison. I made a few surgical strikes, no more. “At Home” has the quality I prize most; an aliveness in the performance—that NYFOS spontaneity, the sense of ownership we always want from the people with whom we work. I can see there will be more of it every day.
I can’t say I had the most graceful afternoon at the piano, and I literally woke up playing one of the passages that slipped away from me yesterday. Today I’ll finally have the time to massage those few errant spots back into submission. I just need to quarantine myself for about an hour when I can have a little negotiation with my hands and the 88s.