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Last week the Spring tour finished in the Swansea Grand. The new season is now upon us, bringing new opera repertoire; the rehearsal period also brings a necessary adjustment to the body clock. With evening performances, I get into a rhythm where I’m more alert in the evening – I tend to go to bed later and get up later. Getting used to being alert enough for rehearsals in the morning can be rather difficult for a week or so once we switch – it takes a while to get your body clock to realise you need to go to sleep earlier to compensate for the shift in work pattern!

However, before the new opera season begins, there’s a concert to prepare. We don’t do many of these a year – and they are always welcome variety. It’s a chance for the orchestra to be on stage, to dress up for the concert, which tends to be tails for the gents and anything more glamorous than pit black for the ladies – lots of us take the opportunity to wear dresses and get out the pretty high heels. It doesn’t happen very often that we’ll wear that sort of thing in the pit.

This week the repertoire includes Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, which I’ve played many times but never learnt properly before. Generally it tends to be the sort of thing played at muddy field gigs – those outdoor gigs where there are loud fireworks, and the audience is usually watching those rather than listening. The music is in those cases secondary, an excuse for the fireworks; often it’s pouring with rain, as is the norm with summer concerts outside… So it’s going to be an interesting experience to play it “properly” onstage at a concert. The other thing that I’m looking forward to is that we are performing a version with chorus – our chorus together with a community choir that has been put together for the occasion. I don’t know if we’re getting the cannons though….

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