That connection doesn’t happen instantly, though. I discovered after attending the Carmen “Room Run” that it’s practiced to perfection off-stage. The “Room Run” is the last rehearsal in the Gillman Rehearsal Room of the Lanny and Sharon Martin Foundry Rehearsal Center before the production moves to the main stage.
There was a sense of security and excitement in the room as the singers took their places for the beginning of the run. Just moments before, director Danny Pelzig gathered his crew for a few brief notes before they started. “I just wanted to say, I’m very proud of the work you’ve all done,” he said, noting their progress over the past three weeks.
The rehearsal space is very close in size to the opera house stage, making it ideal for a large show like Carmen. However, the taped off stage leaves little room for the production team, who sits at a folding table merely inches from the “edge” of the stage area. Along with the production team, the room is filled with assorted props, selected costume pieces, a piano, mock scenery and the numerous people who all work to make the opera come to life.
The run went smoothly and it was easy for me to picture the production fully staged. The most inspiring moment, to me, was when production staff, who remained rather consistently focused in their work, allowed themselves moments to become truly captivated in the beautiful musical experience that was unfolding before them. It’s hard to ignore an electrifying rendition of “The Toreador Song” when you’re sitting just feet away.