The Atlanta Opera Blog

Tom Goes to the Opera: letting go

Stephen Key, 2016

In week two, Tom dives deeper into his role as the Pasha, and experiences rehearsals a little differently than what he’s used to. Illustrations provided by his son, Stephen Key.

OK, one week in to rehearsal for The Abduction from the
Seraglio,
and the attitude of “Just-do-it!”, “Go-for-it”, “Grow-or-go!” is
absolutely necessary. It’s like preparation for a sporting
event. We have now been guided through
Mozart’s entire opera by our Director, Chris Alexander, and we cover seduction,
betrayal, capture, escape, exile, love offered, love refused, love embraced –
with life or death consequences – to mention a few plot points – and it’s a
comedy!

Without trying to give any spoilers, I will just say that we did
have to spend about ten minutes figuring out a bedroom scene gone really badly
so that there’s a dagger on the ready from a part of my costume that is
something I’ve never worn before onstage. This all has to be exact to the
underscore of the orchestra, clear to the audience what’s happening, positioned
in such a way that the singers can breathe and project, and, most importantly,
very passionate. Of all the things opera

Stephen Key, 2016

singers may
have to suffer, boredom is not one of them.  

“If acting in this musically charged world is a sport, it’s probably more like diving – the art of letting go in a beautiful way to forces much greater than self.”


The music empowers the
actor with a quick and immediate understanding of character, plot, objective
and action. When I make my first entrance in this
opera, about 30 people are singing for cool breezes to blow my way and I’m
being followed by a boy waving a palm frond to make sure that I’m cool
(evidently things go badly for the people if the Pasha gets overheated), and
when I raise my hand, they rush out backward to leave me alone with the
beautiful Konstanze. It doesn’t take much discussion around
the rehearsal table to understand who’s got the power in this palace. If acting in this musically charged
world is a sport, it’s probably more like diving – the art of letting go in a
beautiful way to forces much greater than self. -Tom Key
Stephen Key, 2016 

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