China Report: First performance

December 14, 2007 at 4:16 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Waiting for Pinkerton - Photo: Neil G Jarman

What started out as a challenging day turned out very well. We had a major battle to persuade the theatre to put the heating on and the dancers did class wrapped up in scarves and woolly hats. At the same time, the Symphony Orchestra of China Opera and Dance Drama Theatre arrived from Hangzhou. Assistant Music Director, Nigel Gaynor has been in China for nearly two weeks rehearsing the three orchestras we will use throughout the tour. They proceeded to set up their chairs, music stands and instruments on the pit lift – I have never seen so many players in such a small space – more than 40 of them! Once the pit lift had descended to performance height there was no way in or out other than climbing ladders – probably the most undignified entrance Nigel has ever made to conduct a performance!

The theatre flying systems was somewhat eccentric and it was only possible to fly two things at any one time and also at the speed that it chose – dead slow. Stage Manager, Chun Yen, did an excellent job adjusting the cues to ensure the rehearsal (and ultimately the performance) ran as smoothly as possible.

We had requested a child to play Trouble in the production and were fortunate enough to have four brought to the theatre for us to choose from. This was fine but obviously disappointing for those not selected for the one performance in Wuxi.

The performance went extremely well and we played to a full house of entirely Chinese. Their applause was not what we are used to in the UK but the fact that they stayed to the end and were engaged throughout were testament to their enjoyment of the production. Andy Waddington and our Technical Team did a great job as did the dancers and orchestra.

Another memorable sight from the day was seeing the auditorium set for the performance and all you could see were hundreds of Chiakis on carrier bags from the sponsors left on the seats for the audience. We set off for Hangzhou by coach first thing tomorrow morning. One down and nine or ten to go!!

so many players in such a small space

hundreds of Chiakis on carrier bags

Hazardous technical work

undignified entrance - Photos: Neil G Jarman

Chiaki and Pippa - Photo: Neil G Jarman

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