They say life as a cover isn’t always easy… having to be completely prepared in the chance that you’re thrown on stage… not having any rehearsal time or any contact with the conductor… wanting the best for the star and the show but also secretly hoping she gets knee-capped on the way to the show. Only a little bit knee-capped.
Life as a cover is, however, much more interesting when you’re covering the remarkable Adina Aaron in two roles over two months, rehearsed simultaneously in the one city. How could I say no to that? Oper Köln asked me to cover the rehearsals and performances of two extraordinary roles that are right up my alley: Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito and the Soprano Solo in Verdi’s Requiem.
La Clemenza di Tito with a dream team: Lothar Odinius, Adina Aaron, and Franziska Gottwald (the best Sestus I have ever heard in my life). Conducted by Konrad Junghänel and directed by Köln intendant Uwe Erik Laufenberg, to be performed in Cologne’s stately Gerichtsgebäude. These rehearsals were fascinating. I learnt a bucket load from Adina Aaron, who is fortunately also a super nice lady to boot. I also learnt the joys and frustrations of performing in venues where the visibility isn’t great, the orchestra is one floor higher, and the reverb and sound delay is atrocious for the musicians, but great for the audience.
Verdi’s Requiem produced by the Cologne Opera was something truly special. Director Clemens Bechtel used narrated true stories in between the moments to bring home the gravity of death, and place it in contexts that we can all relate to. These stories were real. Rehearsing this production was extraordinary, because I got to know the story tellers and got to see how the music and staging affected them (and the audience) quite personally. I won’t forget the stories I heard, and I will certainly hear them in my head every time I hear each movement.
Fabrice Bollon conducted the Requiem, and the soloists included Jovita Vaskeviciute, Adina Aaron, Tatiana Larina, Dimitry Ivashchenko, and Michael Fabiano.