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OAE Experience bassoon Hayley Pullen writes about her adventures at the Ryedale Festival in Yorkshire.
As a participant in this year’s Ann & Peter Law OAE Experience Scheme, I was delighted to be invited to play in Handel’s opera Alcina for the Ryedale Festival. As members of the Scheme, we are given many opportunities to play side-by-side and in section with the Orchestra as well as educational outreach work in schools in London and across the country. For this occasion we performed as a distinctly independent group of eight young players, having never before played together in this formation.
Thursday 14th July
For many of us, it was our first time travelling to Yorkshire. I ended up going by train from Pembrokeshire (I was on holiday in West Wales) to Thirsk station, a journey which began at 5:30am and got me to rehearsal just in time for a 3pm start. It was long way to go and hoped it would be worth it – spoiler alert – It was!
Our first and only general orchestral rehearsal was quick and amazingly efficient thanks to our leader Hed Yaron Mayersohn and musical director Ian Tinsdale. A few hours later, we had our first stizprobe, where we met the singers and worked through the arias while the design crew put the finishing touches to the set (caution – wet paint!).
After a whirlwind afternoon and evening of rehearsals, we were whisked away to meet our hosts in various villages around the area. I stayed with the violinists, Hed and Oliver, and the violist Matyas, in a beautiful little village called Boltby where we were kindly taken in by the lovely Jean Daglish, an active singer, fantastic cook and the best host we could have wanted! She showed us her 19th century Broadwood and early 20th century Steinway pianos and we talked into the early hours about all things musical.
Friday 15th July
We had our second sitzprobe and only dress rehearsal on Friday and our ensemble really came together. Our host Jean came to watch and gave us very positive feedback; Alcina isn’t the most simple plot to follow, but Jean said the diction was clear (this performance was a new English translation by John Warrack), and even with hidden identities, love triangles, magic rings, humans-turned-animals and very fickle hearts, the opera had a fantastic combination of emotion, drama and comedy.