Saturday, August 20, 2011
Four Saints and a Cop in Three Acts
"To know to know to love her so" is the first line of Four Saints in Three Acts, the 1928 opera by Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein. Getting to know the opera after two weeks of daily rehearsals with Ensemble Parallele and the director Brian Staufenbiel (above center) has fulfilled the predictive nature of that opening line. Hearing this opera sung repeatedly by a superb cast of a dozen singers over and over has been an immersive education and a joy.
We moved from our rehearsal space at SFMOMA to the surprisingly lavish Novellus Theatre at Yerba Buena Center across the street this week, and opened with a sold-out preview performance on Thursday evening and an official opening on Friday. (Left to right above, Brooke Munoz, Nicole Takesono, Joe Meyers, Eugene Brancoveanu, and Brendan Hartnett.)
The production design is about as far as can be from the cellophane original but it's elegant, beautiful and fits the piece perfectly. (Dancing the tango above are Eugene Brancoveanu with Heidi Moss, and Nicole Takesono with Joe Meyers.)
I am one of two evil supernumeraries (above left, with Mike Harvey on the right and Eugene Brancoveanu as Saint Ignatius in the center) who move furniture and singers around while occasionally playing a cop and a baliff and, during the tango, an Isadora Duncan dancing male couple. Yes, I am having too much fun.
The great production rehearsal photos above are by Steve diBartolomeo.