Blier’s Blog: August 19, 2013

Written by Steven Blier

Artistic Director, NYFOS

In category: Blier's Blog

Published August 19, 2013

The weather outside was on the cool and cloudy side. Inside, though, it was pretty sunny—a lovely day of making music. Not that there weren’t some obstacles. It seems that today was the only time the repairman could come to fix a broken door at Poquatuck Hall, so the first three-plus hours of our rehearsal were punctuated by some pretty Wagnerian crashes and bangs. I took the moral high ground and kept working blissfully as if I were in a soundproof booth, pausing only when the noise obliterated my notes to the singers. “When you get to the” [BANGBANGBANGBANG] “second verse, maybe we should”[really alarming scraping sound] “delay the crescendo until” [DEAFENING CRASH] “the third bar. What do you think, sweetheart?” Somehow we managed to get a lot of good work done in spite of it all. I continue to love the program, and the cast is taking me to the heights. My ears love their singing, but my hands and arms seem to feel the inspiration too. I’m scrambling around the keyboard like a colt.

Alexandra Batsios—aka Lexie—arrived today. I’d worried about having two sopranos on the program, but their gifts complement each other perfectly. Meredith Lustig was my student at Juilliard for five years, and her charms are evergreen—an exquisite sensibility, easy, radiant sound, musicianship, charm, and perfect comic timing. But I didn’t know Lexie very well; we met this past June at Green Mountain Opera. At our first coaching I sensed that she was someone I wanted in my musical family as soon as possible. What I didn’t know is that she’s not only a dazzling coloratura soprano, but also stylish and funny in American popular song. It’s a rare combo platter: virtuoso Mozartean and Sondheim belteuse. Of course, I am smitten.

At about 5 PM, two children danced into the room, a pair of beautiful red-haired girls. I couldn’t figure out what they were doing there and asked where their mother was. I got some garbled answer that I am sure would have made sense to someone who knew them. Then the younger one told me, “I’m five. Last week.” Her sister said, “I’m seven.” Then the other one said, “I’ll be six.” “Yes,” I hesitated, then asked lamely, “but…certainly not till…next August?” At which point they started running and pirouetting around the balcony, down the stairs, into the hall, in a sort of mad Isadora Duncan swan dance. I eventually realized they were the workman’s daughters, and their mother was elsewhere. They were fascinated by Lexie’s rendition of the first-act aria from Lucia di Lammermoor. The five-year old became increasingly mesmerized and started to sonnambulate towards Lexie just as we were getting to the end of the piece. At which point Lexie sprayed her with a ringing, full-voiced high D—and the kid stared for a second before taking off in terror as if her pants had exploded.

I had said that we’re almost sold out, and that’s pretty much true. But there are a few tickets left—grab ‘em in advance by calling (631) 323-1378 and reserving!

author: Steven Blier

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