Community Ensemble Member Rachel Staples rehearsing for The Festival Play of Daniel
When you are a budding performing artist, the small perks are big perks! Even though I live in the valley, it is totally worth the drive to downtown to rehearse at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Something about being there inspires me, gives me hope, and encourages me on my performing artist journey. Having my name on the comp list for parking at the Music Center downtown is always so thrilling, even though that may seem silly. I feel really special driving in and putting my initials next to my name so I can park, as an artist, for free. This is a small personal joy that embellishes my heart and makes me feel truly appreciated. As we all piled into Rehearsal Room 4 for our first official rehearsal of The Festival Play of Daniel, I felt an exciting thrill. There were faces from last year’s opera, new faces I had never seen before, as well as faces of alumni from the performing arts college I work for. This was very awesome to see. I am very impressed by the young dancers, actor and singers. The community ensemble is filled with all levels of talent, age, and experience. It is an honor to be among such a group.
I must admit, one of the most exciting parts about the first rehearsal was hearing the main stage opera chorus rehearsing. As we were going over the beginning announcements, we kept hearing impeccable voices echoing through the floors of the Dorothy Chandler. Hearing these astonishing voices was especially enthralling to me as a young performing artist. I love opera! I love the powerhouse of sound! Hearing the main stage chorus rehearsing was like getting a fast-blast-backstage-pass. It was the icing on the cake for our first rehearsal. Everyone in the room responded to these sounds. Everyone smiled as their voices ticked our eardrums.
Listening to the Director of the LA Opera Education Programs, Stacy Brightman, speak about the integrity of the show and the expectations all of the performers was a confirmation of why I love being an opera singer – because I get to work with some of the most amazingly accomplished professionals in the performing arts industry. Stacy sure knows her stuff and I love hearing her speak! She has a remarkable poise that could get anyone in the world excited about opera.
Eli Villanueva directing Rachel and the cast of The Festival Play of Daniel
When we began to work with Eli Villanueva, the Stage Director, my passion for opera was once again strengthened and renewed. Eli has a way of articulating direction that ignites the fire inside each person in his cast. Eli speaks in ways that everyone (even the smallest of roles) feels appreciated, included, and important. We all learn from his exemplified professional demeanor, and it is such an honor to be a part of his cast. I am always on the edge of my seat to hear each resonant word he speaks.
I cannot wait until the next rehearsal, and I most especially cannot wait to be a part of the experience of the final community product – The Play of Daniel!