Opera super star Edita Gruberova joins “art but fair” initiative!
In her exclusive statement for the “art but fair” website, la prima donna assoluta demands a reduction of rehearsal time and responsible care about the singer’s delicate instrument. Artistic ressources and expenses could equally be saved.
“I would like to express my opinion on the website “art but fair” regarding the rehearsal situation at international opera houses.
Most European opera houses schedule rehearsal periods of six weeks. At the beginning of my career and during its further development rehearsal periods for new productions only took three to three and a half weeks and mostly came up with excellent results.
The stage directors had a clear idea of what they wanted to put on stage and their ideas could be put into practice by all participating singers within the scheduled rehearsal period.
The conductors take part from the first rehearsal and therefore their ideas and requests can be taken care of during the scenic rehearsals. So the subsequent orchestra rehearsals can be carried out without any delay.
In a six-week rehearsal period, the director’s ideas come into practice after two weeks in most cases. The subsequent rehearsals are very tiring for all people involved. Conductors tend to only join the ensemble rehearsals and only then does it comes out that often the scenic concept does not match with the musical concept. Four exhausting weeks of scenic rehearsals are followed by musical rehearsals which are also attended by the conductor for the first time.
By the opening night all participants are exhausted and are only back in perfect shape after a few performances after the opening night. Since all the singers have to be present from the first day of rehearsals, the conductor, who is a member of the artistic staff just like the director, should also be present.
Arranging the stage decoration, costumes and wigs is another problem.
I refuse to wear disfiguring costumes or wigs and I was able to enforce my claim. My colleagues did not dare to take action against disfiguring costumes or wigs since they feared dismissal from the production. It is the responsibility of the costume designer to adapt to the physical shape of a singer and design costumes and wigs accordingly, so that the singer will not be disfigured or ridiculed which of course causes additional pressure.
I am convinced that all experienced singers can put into practice a scenic and musical concept within four weeks of rehearsals. This would consequently reduce the costs incurred by the performers during rehearsals as well as those incurred by the opera houses themselves.
During the last decade, the stage direction tended to be put forward so drastically that it is not possible to harmonise it with the musical aspect of the works and frequently the staging works against the music.
For us singers this trend causes stress and frustration.
Salzburg, July 25, 2013
[This article was translated into Slovakian here: http://www.operaslovakia.sk/news/operna-diva-edita-gruberova-sa-pripaja-k-iniciative-art-but-fair-/]