Attending the rehearsals of Miranda is to realize that the music to this operatic creation is not yet set. This is not a score by Puccini or Mozart. Miranda is a constellation of vocal and instrumental musical pieces from uncompleted operas by Purcell combined together for a new story whose heroine escaped from Shakepeare’s The Tempest. Like a two-headed hydra playing two harpsichords, conductor Raphaël Pichon and Pierre Gallon exchange knowing glances. The conversation with their eyes is coupled with a conversation about music and the writing of ornaments. “F sharp here,” says Raphaël, to which Pierre agrees by scribbling on his score with a pencil. This is likely to go on till the end of the rehearsals. But now Raphaël Pichon is to work with the vocalists. At the heart of the action is Kate Lindsey, the heroine of the tragedy. The young conductor is no longer the sorcerer’s apprentice, his advice is addressed with assurance, precision and intelligence but never dogmatically. He even goes so far as to mimic certain gestures that simulate dance movements with much grace. Doubt and laughter are welcome as they lead to an even more accurate interpretation. This is the way music and singing are being rehearsed and written till the work is completed.
Miranda from 25 September through 5 October
Music direction, Raphaël Pichon
Staging, Katie Mitchell
With Kate Lindsey, Katherine Watson, Allan Clayton, Marc Mauillon, Henry Waddington, Aksel Rykkvin
Choir and orchestra, Pygmalion
Pictures of Miranda's rehearsals © Stefan Brion