Launching the first-ever in Hawaii performance of the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 is probably equal in scope to our 2000 performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and the 2004 performance of Bach’s St. John Passion. Like climbing Mount Everest!
To let you know how massive an operation this is, here are some of the things that are happening behind the scenes. Over the past three or four months, Carl has purchased the musical scores from England, contracted the major soloists (three tenors from the mainland, other soloists from Hawaii) and San Francisco-based period brass ensemble (The Whole Noyse), compiled choral scores from the full score, and listened to numerous recordings of the work. Last week we mailed out the colorful postcard advertising our two performances on November 5th (St. Theresa’s Co-Cathedral) and November 7th (St. Andrew’s Cathedral). Last week also, Ian Capps (host of KHPR’s The Early Muse), John Renke (Cathedral Musician at St. Andrew’s Cathedral) and Carl Crosier were on Hawaii Public Radio’s fall fundraiser pitching the Monteverdi and giving away four pairs of tickets in exchange for pledges to HPR. All promotional tickets were picked up! I also put together a poster to be taken to all the churches and distributed news releases to the media.
Here’s what the rest of the Concert Committee has been working on: Frank Haas has secured a commitment from Aqua Hotels and Resorts to house the brass group coming from San Francisco. Nedra Walker is manning the hotline: a special cell phone number (808-729-4485) for people to call in for tickets. Chuck Pearson, Ian Capps, and Frank Haas are working on contacting major donors to underwrite the cost of the program (about $20,000 over the projected number of tickets sold). Anna Womack has contracted the local instrumentalists. And I’ve been working on the concert program booklet, which will include the complete texts and translations, background information on Claudio Monteverdi and this work, a description of this particular performance by Carl, lists of performers and so on. Already there are more than 20 pages in the booklet!
Yesterday we had our first rehearsal with the chorus — only one of two choral rehearsals scheduled before the dress rehearsals with the orchestra. We are using two choral groups: the Bach Chamber Choir (who usually only have ONE rehearsal before the performance) and the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choral Scholars. As you can well imagine, this is a stellar group to be able to perform this monumental work with only two choral rehearsals — and the choral scores are 80 pages long!
Oh yes! I’m also practicing my part — which is written in figured bass — a kind of musical shorthand. I’m looking at the full score to do so, and it’s over 140 pages. Better get back to practicing!