Sing sing sing!

October 26, 2009

JOYIA FITCH, Community Ensemble Participant

This week has been all about the singing. I mean, it’s the ENO, so you expect some of that… right? As the community ensemble, we’re not going to be singing on stage, but it’s important that we understand and connect to that side of the production. So, there have been a few opportunities for us & it’s been a really fun, informative week…

Yesterday, I went to the ‘Know the Show’ event for Puccini’s ‘Turandot’. There I was on a sunny Sunday morning, making my way to this beautiful little square near Borough for 10am. I’m in this big, big rehearsal room with 2 pianos & 150 other eager singers, some of whom sing a lot and some of whom don’t sing very much at all. I pick up a score at the entrance and sit in the ‘Soprano’ group (someone once told me I was a Soprano so I figure that’s the safest place to hang out at). So here I am… I’m a little nervous of my voice but try not to think about it. I open the score and don’t understand the notes, but try not to worry about that either.

The lovely Murray Hipkin is our ‘Conductor’ and we do a warm up for our voices – I hear a confident Soprano voice behind me so I try to follow her. I look at Murray & look at his arms moving, dancing almost & think – I’ll just go with that. I learn later on in the day that makes sense as he is the true guide for our voices. We just need to trust him & follow him.

So, here we are as a collective 150 people about to sing a large segment of the chorus for ‘Turandot’. It’s very new for me as I’d only seen the dress rehearsal a few weeks ago, my first ever Opera but I was game. I felt excited wondering if I could sing sing sing.

We sing ‘Nessun Dorma’ (None may sleep now) & the atmosphere in the room is electric. It’s the music we all know, are all familiar with albeit if it is in relation to the world cup. We’re all there, singing, opening & it doesn’t matter if we’re not all perfect, we’re together on this, a communal thing. I speak to lots of people, some of whom clearly have a passion for Opera & their knowledge is wide & they are excited by me meeting it for the first time.  

I’m on the bus on the way home & am gently humming ‘Nessun Dorma’. People look at me a bit strangely but I don’t care. My voice is alive and resonant. I sleep deeper than I have slept for a long time and wake up refreshed and alive the next day. My body has probably taken in way more oxygen than it’s used to……

Oh, and Murray tells us we can learn our voice part for the Hallelujah Chorus  on the BBC Radio 3 site as a Soprano, or Tenor or whatever we may be. Then we can hear it alongside the other voices…. How cool is that?


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