Saturday, March 6, 2010

March 6 - Onward Israelite Singers

Even better house and show tonight for Sex and the Bible: The Opera (Part I), partially due to extensive notes, as follow...


Dear Sex Miracle Workers,

They loved it - congrats! Lots of smiles and enthusiastic comments from the audience after the show.

Some notes:


If there are sections of the score where you have difficulty projecting because of tessitura, feel free to change octave.

Thank you for your continued dramatic and musical inventiveness!

When on stripper platform, particularly sing out -- sound back there has a tendency to be deadened by back curtain, go up into the ceiling, whatever....



Sorry about the beginning -- had turned the volume all the way down at end of rehearsal -- would be good to do a sound check just before the house opens tonight.

Balance pretty good in the opening -- more Marilyn.

Angels can move downstage a little more prominently as Adam and Eve lie down after the music ends


There's enough dramatic activity now in the piece -- thanks!

For those who don't know the words in this one, singing "ah" actually works -- would be great to have Maria join in here

Confirmation of what's happening re staging -- Angels/Gods move off stripper platform to form rough semi-circle around central bed -- Marilyn to stage right of bed, Theresa and Liz to upper right and left bed corners, Indre to left of bed.



More Maria and Marilyn


As crazy as you like during solo lines -- Adam and Eve desperate -- God(s) ticked off


More Marilyn -- Adam and Eve keep shaking those booties -- as an on-stage God, I'll continue to conduct with my body

Vicky -- You could do something crazy with the lights here


More Marilyn

Liz -- Good menace, two simple death strokes with erect flower stalk ("KILLED his brother" and "one was a MURDERER") -- after Abel's death, stand up directly behind, center upstage central bed.

Marilyn -- good menace in transition, take a step towards Liz.


All -- more bluesy, poppy, Janis Jopliny, Muddy Watersish

Liz -- good desperation in the transition.


More Liz and Kim


Kim -- I'd be delighted to have you sing the opening measures twice (rather than 2x only)

All -- more -- keep rhythmic drive to end



God(s) -- much more, take over whenever you sing -- each of your entrances start with a thunderclap, after all -- you have the words -- plus the three of you are on the platform behind her, so please project

Orgy people -- brilliant notion to add your prominent sounds during the vocal tacits!

God(s) -- great to cut off in your last section on the downbeat of 7th measure.

Noah's Family -- indeed, wait one beat after music ends then move to ark


Good following throughout -- Noah's Sons and Wives hold on to stripper poles and sway -- Noah and Wife hold on to each other and sway

Vicky -- Crazy dark lights


Beginning pretty much happened -- will endevour to give you a clear attacca downbeat.

Embarrassed that I never see the clothes throwing and Nathan covering Noah with cloth -- will watch this time



Liz -- try to be in place on platform with boa at beginning -- review those words

Robert and Kim -- can you move to your in-front-of-stage-left-stripper-pole position as Hagar and company move to their place?

Kim -- your selections as to when to do vocalise have been fine! -- also nice ping-ponging with Robert and Crystal

Marilyn and Liz -- you were great -- sorry I goofed up the words -- will review...


Crystal -- thanks for joining alto line throughout.

Ensemble -- reminder, wait a beat and move in character to next position


It works -- Theresa, a bit more -- all, follow like hawks -- thanks for snips on downbeat after vocal parts end


Robert -- thanks for hustling during the rapid-arpeggio interludes -- could you sit center with toy and cup on either side of you? -- more, if possible on "what if"s towards end

Kim and Maria -- good laughs, could be even more

God and Angels -- nice "why laugh" -- ideally notes F-A-B

Indre -- watch placement of second "go" (it was early)

VII. (Lotsa Luck)

It's happening -- thanks! -- all continued craziness through improv section -- thanks to Marilyn for the vocalise punctuations that mark the end of each eight-bar phrase.

Marilyn -- more minimalist "punch" on your "ahs" -- they should be a prominent mechanistic pulse -- perhaps 8va?

Nathan -- great presence, review lines

(Parking Lot's Wife)

It worked musically -- thanks -- I promise to look and see what you Sodomites and God are doing, too.


It works -- bit more Marilyn on low rises, if possible

All -- don't forget to move rapidly in the blackout to new position


Nice -- and all keep tempo throughout "Drive away," and as before.

All -- can really start moving into new position as soon as vocal ends -- or before? there's not much time to get people in next tableau...

Theresa -- stuffed animal was left downstage right of central bed, which sort of worked -- shall we keep it?, or hand it to me?


Liz -- I'll cue you -- keep pressing forward in that 2/8 section

Nathan -- it pretty much happened -- bravo -- review lines, entrances, rhythms -- the 3/16 tempo was pretty good, too -- watch pitch in the beginning of the B major section -- you eventually locked into tonality, thanks -- keep energy all the way to end.

Keisuke -- nice throughout -- watch the booming pedal bass B's.

Ensemble -- hold at end

Crystal and Robert -- those entrances are always fine, thanks

Kim -- somehow it would be nice to see you on "Sarah died" -- we hadn't addressed the issue, and perhaps now it's too late...

Crystal and Liz -- can be a little more in your unison -- commanding presence!

Blackout -- hustle to next position.



All -- more!

Indre -- more anguish, if possible -- you are in the throws of labor.

Marilyn -- more -- nice rhythms

Robert and Theresa -- more -- punch each note and sustain -- what you do in the 5's and 6's against 6/4 and 5/4 represents the chaos of your struggling together in the womb -- can't see what you're doing from my position, but am hoping for an "in-the-womb" wrestle -- rather violent -- assume you're both being "born" on cue as well?


Nathan -- brilliant (and I assume, practical?) choice, the prayer book -- also like the notion that he's pretty much blind, but still carries and refers to a tome.

Indre and Robert -- balance is good, you are appropriately taking over the scene with Nathan as underscore the first time, and then letting him come out more the second time, when his official blessing is more important than your more-or-less repetitions as asides -- I will continue to cue throughout.

Theresa -- don't hesitate, and project throughout.

Nathan -- review ending -- it actually kinda works with you getting behind and ending with the atonal "stinger", but it should also work as written....


Ensemble -- please, please -- MORE SOUND on "Fly Away"s -- dancers you could even join on opening ones, since you're only beginning to swirl onto stage -- the pitches are not as important as the impulse, which should be sforzandi on each "Fly".

Also more sound Robert and anyone else (if any) on sustains, which are a trope on "Climb, Climb Up Sunshine Mountain," if anyone is familiar with this old Sunday School potboiler...

This piece needs passion, energy, danger, excitement.

Have also not paid enough attention to staging -- assume Robert is sleeping by "Lo in a dream" and that Angels are immobile at this point as well, in position, with no wing flapping -- a tableau.

V. - VI.

Great -- you can't do too much schtick in the latter.


Nathan -- the entrance works

Ensemble -- thanks for entrances throughout

Nathan -- "Why did you run away from me Jacob" tends to be a beat late -- all of them are on the downbeats (eventually you get on the downbeat, cerainly by the rep of m19, so you can definitly do it -- just do it earlier!)

Kim -- entrance is always good -- regret I'm never paying attention to the Household God -- assume that it's clearly visible to audience before you hide it?

Maria -- More on your line, if possible -- up an octave? -- each note anywhere that projects?

Ensemble -- good fade -- Nathan seems particularly to be finding the right level -- feel free to cue off him re dynamic level -- always listen.


Electronic score is still too bassy, so I've notched the EQ down a bit more in the low range.

Kim, Liz, Robert, Nathan -- good entrances -- deperate and ridiculous -- Nathan, like your varied schtick by the projection screen.

Crystal -- Nice passion, and keep the strong projection throughout -- G as the basic reference note works.

Ensemble -- good through end.

Theresa and Robert -- try to meet exactly center stage -- progressing towards each other evenly

Angst from everyone throughout, save Esau.

At end -- wait one beat and hustle to next position


Marilyn -- keep it happy / campy / schticky over-the-top

Thanks, Kim, for being willing to be circumcised twice in show -- thanks ensemble for letting me join at end, and I will review lines...

Thanks, Robert, for handing off staff to me.


It works having Robert lead Kim into position, since there's really not enough time for Kim to get fully down by the start of this number.

Again -- the anguish/scream of childbirth -- this time Kim -- my hope is that at both beginning (Indre) and end (Kim) of ISRAEL IN TROUBLE, that you will curdle my blood and chill my bones.

Page 287 -- Nathan and Theresa -- "Ruben has intercourse with Bilhah" -- tons more sound -- passion / astonishment / lust / something big...
as before (with Robert and Theresa at the beginning of ISRAEL as Jacob and Esau) punch each note on the downbeats and give full sustains.

I and X of ISRAEL are really both nightmares -- they need a lot of solemn/hieratic energy for them to make sense... They are both barbaric/ distorted tropes of Handel...

Crystal -- haven't been paying attention to your staging, sorry -- assume you are a "difficult birth" in the womb -- possibly the level of turmoil analogous to Jacob and Esau's struggle in opening



Bigness of opening scene is happening -- would like all soloists to sing as loudly as comfortably possible.

Theresa -- you are the star throughout -- big and bold -- Joseph is certainly a bit of an egotist, clearly

Most the positioning is pretty much working -- Crystal as Benjamin leaving, Nathan on stage right "bed/stairs," then coming forward.

"Lets kill him" side -- grab Theresa

"Throw him down" side -- push her down on platform/bed

Ishmaelites -- were you guys a bit late? -- make sure you hustle Joseph out in time.

Nathan -- first two entrances are getting rhythmically in the pocket -- second two tend to lag -- I cue throughout

Liz -- getting better -- first three tend to be a bit late -- last one, early

Both of above -- review rhythms.

Nathan and Robert at end -- bigger, if possible


All -- hustle to next position.

Overall -- not bad, a tough piece!

Just keep it ridiculously comic, and it goes well, as it did last night.

Crystal -- can use more on each "Come to me"

Kim -- thanks overall for fine entrances

The hocketing is beginning to work -- some of you, of course, have "oh"s on the downbeats, others on swung upbeats...

Liz -- the "oh" entrances on page 231 are starting to happen -- make sure you breathe before, not on, entrances -- an keep the melisma "oh"s short -- there're really just a split second before you hit the downbeats on "How" "How" "I" "What"... etc...

Will try to give you all clear cues getting out of both melismatic chaos sections...

Will try not to be late on my Hirah cameo, and to get back to my position to give you more cuing...

Nanette and Robert -- can be bigger, sillier at end


Theresa -- take your time with opening strange notes

Liz, Theresa, Indre -- looked like it pretty much worked -- always keep alert


Nathan and Theresa -- more sound

Ensemble -- WHERE ARE YOU? -- I would rather not do "Who interprets such a dream" as a solo -- can you all be "onstage" offstage left -- rather than down the hallway where no one will hear you? -- second one was better -- both entrances are forte.

Moving into new postiion after choral finish is a good choice


Maria -- can be more throughout -- you can really take over with your melisma at m48 "from afar"

Nathan -- thanks for leading re "Ohs" -- need astonishment from everyone else.

Theresa -- watch entrance, be commanding -- routine with Crystal works


Theresa -- transition works to your gentler Joseph, thanks, as does your use of the scarf

Ensemble -- review entrance at m15, which is weak -- Crystal knows it, so you may cue off of her

Keisuke -- again, thanks for your fine performances throughout -- can you give ensemble the C in question -- m15


Am told the end had the appropriate festal quality.

Again, as in beginning of AMAZING, big solos against the ensemble.

General sex works in the B section (tempo change) in this piece (Reuben slept) -- all should move immediately, crisply to copulatory positions on the downbeat ("Rue") -- staging worked, just a little sluggish at start.

Reminder -- third repetition of this music (corresponding to when the Ishmaelites carried away Joseph in opening of AMAZING) is when you begin to move to the default opening position (stage right side seemed a bit late).

Group ritardando has been working -- keep listening / watching -- thanks!

Ensemble -- hold last note strongly, resoundingly, and cut with me.

Keisuke -- Am thinking I may have to wimp out and ask you to hit another low E, clearing the inverted defacto E minor-7th members D and B after the last written music....


And if you actually read all of my ridiculous nit-picky comments, you are doubly heroic!

Have a great time tonight, see you at seven, keep your heads on your shoulders, don't get complacent, keep on your toes, and other cliches...

Spam liberally.

Cheers and congrats again,



Great to see many Diablo Valley students in the audience. Cast takes up challenges of all suggestions, and a terrifically acted and sung show, albeit with a quixotic conclusion.

More Psalm 8 (11) and Song of Solomon(10), of course.

Before all this, make the way to the show towards Cordelia, and