On Monday the creative team gathered for the dress rehearsal of Rhondda Rips it Up! and I have to say it was a truly joyous occasion. For Elena and I this is the moment we see our work come to fruition and director Caroline Clegg has created a truly incredible production which has exceeded all our expectations. Madeleine Shaw has embraced the role of Margaret and showed herself to be a consummate leading lady. She has absolutely captured the essence of Margaret; her feisty indomitability and her girlish sense of fun. Lesley Garrett was a super star as always and, as the Emcee, had us all in stitches. In fact it was great to see the audience reaction to the piece as one of things I had been concerned about was the balance between pathos and comedy and judging from the feedback, it certainly felt as though we had got it right.
It was equally wonderful to see the ladies chorus front and centre and show-casing skills and versatility that they do not normally get the opportunity to display. This opera was specifically written for this ladies chorus and their energy and enthusiasm was evident throughout.
It was also the first time we got to meet the community chorus and see them integrated into the production. The moments where they rose from their seats and their voices joined with that of the WNO chorus were incredibly moving.
The whole process has been the most harmonious and collaborative in all my experience. There has been a strong solidarity and ‘can-do’ attitude from start to finish and everyone has supported one another in a way that you don’t always see in every rehearsal process. I wonder whether it was because we have had an all-female creative team and company?...