I am sitting at my computer listening to the recent recordings of Morella: Passages from a Gothic Opera…..tears are rolling down my face.
Forgive the emotion but the Morella camp has moved from strength to strength over the past 3 weeks. The project has now quickly graduated from the vocal rehearsals to the staging of the production. And Lesley with the help of Tom Blackwell (our voice coach) has begun to direct the action every Saturday afternoon and this will continue until production day. Our amazing enthusiastic cast have stepped from choral rehearsals to telling the tragic story as easily as they did with the music. It is thanks to them that our dream is becoming a reality.
The Saturday before Easter we all met at our proposed venue the beautiful and atmospheric King Edward Street Chapel. The cast, as we expected, loved the experience and appreciated the challenges they face in staging the production. Along with the cast our musicians were able to join us: Maxine, our clarinettist; Rosie, viola (also soprano) and of course Jack not only the composer but our pianist.
Also joining us for the second time was Brian Law our photographer who produced the startling image shown on the Barnaby website. Further wonderful photographs were taken and will be used in the production of our posters and programme….thank you so much Brian.
The rehearsal went extremely well: the Song o’the Sea was introduced and practiced with enthusiasm; various scenes were rehearsed and we also took careful measurements of the performance space so that when we returned to Macclesfield Community Artspace we could recreate our stage.
As I have said we are meeting every Saturday but also during the week including the previous Sunday prior to the performance night. The next few weeks will see the introduction of the Passages costumes and technical rehearsals. We have been kindly allowed to use the Chapel three more times (which is so generous of the congregation) on the 31st May 7th June and 15th June.
Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Tom on Saturday as he now goes on his national tour performing Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. Before he left he make some magnificent recordings of some of the songs in Morella that we are going to use as intro and outro music and it is these that are making me so emotional. Break a leg Tom we will miss you.
We need a male tenor rather quickly so if you think you would like to join us on this wonderful journey please get in touch you will be made most welcome.
M&C Productions – firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest on “Morella”
Last week, lyricist Lesley C Guymer was in Texas, thus distancing her from the rehearsals and delaying the writing of the ‘Morella’ blogs.
Whilst in Texas, composer Jack M Smith and the company soldiered on, creating the most wonderful sounds possible!
On Wednesday 5th March Jack met with Tom Blackwell who – despite not being able to perform in the final production of ‘Passages from ‘Morella’’ in June – has been incredibly supportive of the project. He re-recorded the Pastor’s songs and also gave a shot at a brand new song to be performed by the Young Sailor, to assist whoever would eventually land this role.
Thursday 6th saw the first rehearsal of the (female) chorus, focusing on their part of the duet with the Pastor. In attendance were Lindy Brett, Rosie Carlisle, Asiah Cullen and Jane Howie, led once again by Jack, who had a further rehearsal that Friday afternoon with lead soprano Alicia Hill, and a new face – male vocalist Luke Stevenson – who would go onto be cast as the Young Sailor. This rehearsal not only welcomed a new cast member, but it brought out acting from Alicia and saw a meeting with Barnaby representative Lynn Jones, who came to discuss publicity with Jack.
This week has seen three rehearsals. Monday night was male lead Micheal Daws’s first one-to-one rehearsal, in which Micheal learnt the remained of his songs, whereas Tuesday saw the female chorus leads harmonically shine. This was Rosie Carlisle and Asiah Cullen, joined for the first time in rehearsal by Patsy Phillips.
By the Wednesday, Lesley had returned and almost fully recovered jet lag, thus both she and Jack met up once again with Tom Blackwell – who gave even more confident performances than the previous week – and Micheal Daws. This rehearsal not only saw both parts perform all of their pieces the best they ever have, but it allowed them to duet for the first time in one of the songs performed by the Narrator and the Pastor.
It has been an exhausting couple of weeks. Lesley has given her praise and support to both Jack and the cast from thousands of miles overseas, whereas Jack would like to thank all vocalists for their increasing enthusiasm and dedication to the project.
The following week will see more rehearsals, but most excitingly is the bringing together of all the cast on Saturday 22nd March for the next workshop. This will be the first opportunity for everybody – including Lesley and Jack themselves – to hear their efforts performed chronologically and with the addition of a script! Do not be deterred from our having a cast already! You will be more than welcome to come and join in – or just watch – if you are interested. And don’t forget…there’s always cake!
(Lesley Guymer and Jack Smith)
The latest workshop for Morella met enthusiastically again on Saturday 15th February at Artspace.
With continued support from our previous voices and additional male input from very venerable sources casting has now been possible. However we would still like to encourage further musicians and budding vocalists for chorus and a few remaining solo opportunities.
As rehearsal dates are beginning to be fixed it is a pleasure to be a part of this exciting new work.
It won’t be long before ‘Morella’ is being talked about in wider circles as something not to be missed and exciting to be involved in…’
The story of the woman who wished to be immortal
Mitchell & Creasser are writing a contemporary opera based upon the short story by Edgar Allan Poe.
We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to help us produce an abridged version of our show, with a view to full production.
Are you a Singer?
There are several lead roles – male and female – that you could assist with, but we also need to put together a full chorus.
Are you a Musician?
We are looking to put together a band to help bring our music to life!
Workshops to be held regularly on Saturday afternoons.
For a donation of a few pounds each month, you can join our membership scheme, Friends of ArtSpace. This will help to secure ArtSpace’s future for the whole community. There will also be benefits and discounts for members.
Our recommended amount is £3 per month but you are welcome to contribute another amount if you prefer. The easiest way is for members to set up their own standing order using online banking, if you have this facility, made payable to:
The Co-operative Bank, Sort Code 08-92-99
Macclesfield Community Artspace
Acc No 65625527
Please also contact John at email@example.com or on 07522 019454, giving your name, telephone number, email address, amount and dates of payment. This is important so that he can complete your registration and check that the funds arrive safely.
Four strikes! That’s all it took for our champion to drive home a two and a half-inch oval nail and to win a bottle of wine in one of our open day activities. Four years! That’s how long we’ve been doing the Barnaby carnival parade and that’s where it all started. A parade needs floats and floats need a place to be built. For the last four years we have had to borrow a space to work – people have been generous – but borrowed space means borrowed time and it also means – get out when the carnival is over. Building an over sized baby pram with grinning toothy papier-mache baby is fun, breaking it up and putting it in the bin feels like a criminal offence! After four years of temporary, sometimes damp, sometimes cold, and sometimes, “Do you think you could move somewhere else because things have changed since we loaned you the space”, we needed a place of our own.
Together with the clarion call; “This is great, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do arty stuff all the year round”, a place of our own became the driver to form a new organisation, a community arts charity for Macclesfield people to enjoy. You don’t want to hear about the boring stuff but IT TAKES AN AGE to get things sorted, registration, trustees, objects, more registration and so on. Then there’s the grant applications – “We just want to do good – to help people have a better life – we don’t want to be paid, we’ll give our time for nothing, we don’t really need much for materials because one of our aims is to re-cycle old stuff – yeah looking after the planet and all that – just give us some money to rent a space so that people can do interesting and creative art stuff – that’s all we want”.
So thanks to the Big Lottery we’ve finally got a space (for a few months at least) and a great one at that, up on the top floor of an old paper mill in Heapy Street. It’s fab. Lots of light and room to store materials; it has great view over Macclesfield town on one side and on the other glimpses of the Hollins. It’s warm in the summer and…. ‘stimulating’..in the winter. Good for different types of activity too – a large space for building things like parade floats – a craft room also good for drawing and painting groups, a sewing room with dead posh sewing machines and a loom. Yes that’s right, a loom! And something we dreamed of, a cafe area, well you must have tea (and cake) whatever you are doing. In fact cake features quite a lot in most things that happen at ArtSpace.
Our basic idea is to provide a space, materials and equipment that people can use to do arts activities. You don’t have to be an arty type, in fact we want to encourage everyone to have a go. (Arts professionals are welcome too). We have a programme of activities that you can join in or if you prefer you can do your own thing. Talk to us about projects that you want to do and we’ll do all that we can to support you to make it happen. That’s enough of the advertising now back to the story. Lots of lovely people have donated furniture and a national company, Kingston Smith & Co., sent its whole staff team from its local office for a day to help us get the place ready for use. We have a Forum, which is open to everyone to come up with ideas about arts projects and to guide us about how best to run the place, and we have a board of Trustees to make sure everything is operating safely and legally. In between we have a Steering Group who sort out the day-to-day organisational stuff.
We are about half way through a four-month Lottery project that has helped to get us started. Called ‘Space Fall’, the project is open on several days each week for people to join in lots of different arts projects including the creation of banners, craft workshops, and a sewing fanatics group. We are starting to build floats for the 2014 Barnaby Carnival Parade and this years theme is Industry – from steam to steam punk! We’re having parade sections to reflect the traditional, the fantasy and the bizarre with floats, giant puppets, musicians and hundreds of people in costume.
New projects coming up include Pop up exhibitions by local artists, presentations and try-out sessions in different art forms – with ideas springing up all of the time there’s always something new going on.
So there’s lots going on and it’s only the beginning, lots more to do, to see, to create & to be part of.