By Yolanda Mercy (performer)
Working with The Opera Group has been such an amazing experience (I know it may sound clichéd), but from day one everybody that I have met and interacted with from the company has been so friendly and extremely enthusiastic about this project, making me feel similar emotions. Though I have also been apprehensive because I didn’t know what being part of the Bow Down cast would involve.
This production is not like anything else that I have ever been involved in because it helps you develop and find new skills. I would of said I have very limited skills when it comes to playing an instrument, but with the support of Director Frederic Wake-Walker, Paul Wingfield (Musical Director), Pete Cant (Assistant Director), Martin Allen (Percussionist and mentor from London Sinfonietta) and the rest of the cast, I can now say I can confidently play rhythms on a drum or clave!
With every rehearsal I feel like I am starting to expand ‘Yolanda’ as a person and artist. The way that Frederic, Paul and Pete challenge me to explore different aspects of the text, movement and song provides new meaning and colour to my performance. With that said, it gives me a lot of things to reflect over at the end of the sessions so I can maintain connections that I have found throughout.
The rehearsal process has been extremely varied – some days it will involve intensive movement-based sessions and others will concentrate on music or text. But at the core of every rehearsal is the essence of ensemble building, regardless of whether you are saying lines (singing/playing or dancing) at this point of the story, you help to keep the narrative alive by embodying the energy of the performer or the themes that are being portrayed.
The impression that I get from working with The Opera Group is that they are keen to challenge what traditional operas are through their innovative way of exploring storytelling and performance aspects involved in scores such as Bow Down. I am extremely excited to show this piece and hear what the various audiences will think about it!
Our latest blog posts:
On the origins of Bow Down
Meet the cast of Bow Down
Mana Shibata: On meeting Sir Harrison Birtwistle…
Bow Down: behind the scenes video
Rehearsing Bow Down: an atypical process
Going beyond the music with Bow Down
Bow Down: a special kind of fairy tale
Beyond the story: the set and locations of Bow Down
Bow Down performance spaces
Bow Down in pictures