Production Diary part 2

July 16

At today’s we got a look at Emily Dunn’s approach to the costumes. She’s going for earth colors for the chorus, simple dresses and breeches with hats providing individuality, all handmade. The effect will be slightly ghostly and abstract, and should be wonderfully in sync with the scenery. These will all be handmade, while the principals’ costumes will be rentals. (Vernon says a Scarpia costume of the right color might do for him as Attorney General, a startling thought!) We’re starting to spend money in earnest, but I feel very secure that the planning and ingenuity of our team will keep us on track.

July 23

The past few days have been all about performance materials. The final version of the 648 page orchestral score, enlarged for readability, went in the mail to Kevin Rhodes today. I had a lovely home visit yesterday with my clarinet section, Michael and Lynn Sussman, who asked for an advance look at the parts. We discussed fingerings for tremolos and made a few adjustments, but to my relief they pronounced their parts clear and unproblematic. In the next couple days string parts need to go to principal players, who will mark in bowings and return them for photocopy and distribution.


July 24

Another great production meeting. A more detailed set model was unveiled, introducing startling colors dynamic transitions between scenes. Our six student interns contributed wonderful work both here and in helping Emily Dunn develop a palette of colors and textures for the chorus costumes. They will express the range of prosperity and social standing of 30 Northampton citizens, with bonnets and hats giving the clearest status markings.

August 4

One planning oddity is the need to worry about where the set will go post-performance even before it is built. Even having it chopped up and hauled away takes forethought, and we don’t want that to be the fate of this wonderful set. A barn in New Hampshire is being cleared to receive it. But – a new wrinkle – it might be able to go directly to the next performance site (Sept. 2014). Too soon to say too much, but more to come.