Sonjas' Opera Diary

Sonjas Opera Diary Part 9




Our morning’s rehearsal focused on both arias with Azucena and Manrico. Manrico gets extremely battered and bruised all the way through the production so by the end he only as one arm and is essentially blind. He’s also chained up until Leonora tries to rescue him but sadly it’s too late and is recaptured and beheaded by Luna (spoiler alert). For said beheading we have a fake head that will be stuffed into a sack, but kudos to the props department because the fake head looks sickeningly realistic, and touching it is even worse.

For the evenings session the room got hot very quickly as we were rehearsing with the whole chorus, all the soloists and all the extras. We went through the finale of the second act where there’s a fight scene between…well just about everyone. For this scene I stood in for one of the missing extra’s that normally does all these amazing flips and tricks but sadly I wasn’t able to copy them.

The most exciting part of the night for me though was when I found out that Louisa, who plays the burnt witch can’t be in Erfurt for all the shows so one of the ninja’s will fill in for her. This meant though that there would a ninja missing for these particular shows. The exciting part of all this is is that the missing ninja will be played by myself. Conveniently enough for everyone is that I already know what I have to do in each scene, which saves time teaching someone else.

Sonjas' Opera Diary

Sonjas Opera Diary part 8



You can now see everyone in the cast really gelling together now, which makes things fun but harder to always stay focused. When the extras weren’t needed they were having a gymnastics show down with Ekaterina’s young daughter, Sophia who had come along to watch. It was a close call but I think Sophia won this round.




On the rehearsal side of things we went through Ines’ and the ninja’s death walk again to get the timing of the blocking really nailed down.


Weber also decided that he wants Leonora to be carried away after her duet with Luna. I am a very small and light person so naturally I had to be the guineapig and let three of the male extras carry me away above their heads. It’s not every day a girl gets to be carried around by strong men so I was definitely not complaining.



Trovatore Reenactment

Musikhochschule Lübeck:   Hussain, Natalja and Tania!

Task:     Block and punch while you are singing and do it precise…

The reenactment of a scene as seen at the Trovatore rehearsals in Erfurt.




Ah, dove sei, crudele?


Where is that kickass-c***?


A te davante.


Are you blind or stupid?

Qual voce! Come? Tu, donna?



Il vedi.


Sonjas' Opera Diary

Sonjas Opera Diary Part 7




Upon arriving in the theatre, we had a bit of a different set up. The rehearsal stage now had the length of the aqueduct marked out for todays scene work. This is where Manrico sings his last big aria before the fight scene where he’s heavily outnumbered.


We also tried out the scene where Azucena is captured and held with ropes by four soldiers. Azucena has super human powers, which means that the four soldiers get dragged around the stage trying to hold her. Because we’re not actually pulling on the ropes it becomes quite a task to try and guess where each Azucena is moving to next in order to anticipate how much rope and or pull we need. Once our Azucena’s left we rehearsed the following fight scene with the extras and the male chorus members. I stepped in as Azucena who is chained up, about to be burnt at the stake. This is also the scene where Andrea, one of our extras, will do her awesome fire tricks. It was pretty funny hearing her warning the chorus guys not to forget that she will pass by with flaming chains.




Crazy Trovatore rehearsal in Erfurt…


Todd Thomas (Luna) , Thomas Paul (Manrico), Elena Stikhina (Leonora) and loads of extras rehearsing the famous „Action sequence“ end of Act II.


Urgel viva!

I love Urgel! (That’s a heavy and dry spanish wine)

Miei prodi guerrieri!
Donna, mi segui.

Hey Sweety, finally my friends are coming…

E tu speri?

F**** you!



Stop that nonsense!

Involarmi costei? No!
Di ragione ogni lume perdei!
Ho le furie nel cor!

I will have that bitch, even when I have to

kill you and sell my soul to the devil!



Questioniare: Todd Thomas (CONTE DI LUNA)


 Your favourite colour?




Your favourite meal?


Scallops, lobster, shrimp




Your favourite animal?

Cows, I like steak too. 
Honestly at home we have 4 cats and 2 dogs.
Since I am on the road so much. I have little to say in the arrangement. There are more animals in my house the humans. But they all have become part of  our crazy house.


Your favourite sport?

Bowling and poker. ( They count, right?)



Your favourite plant?

Lavender, lilacs, basil

Your favourite TV-show?

News shows. CNN Junkie!

 Your favourite author (prose)?

Mark Twain. Maybe, while he is buried in my home town, Elmira New York.
But right now I am traveling with 2 fabulous books.
The first title is DESIGNER RELATIONSHIPS by Patricia Johnson (PJ)and Mark Michaels. PJ had a fabulous carrier as a soprano. (°She is a colleague and remains my friend. I found her Violetta especially to be one of my favorites) This is a fabulous and wonderfully expressed writing.
I am also a reading ANATOMY OF THE  SPIRIT by Caroline Myss,PHD. Also a fabulous read.

Your favourite person in History?

So many. Visiting Erfurt, I have become more interested in Martin Luther. What a bold and forward thinking man.


Your favourite character on the opera-stage?

Currently, and this often changes between Rigoletto and Scarpia.
But I believe our world desperately needs to hear the words and see the life of SIMON BOCANEGRA.

Your favourite composer?

 Your favourite aria?
The one I am engaged to sing at the moment,
Il balen…
is interesting in that it is the closest a Verdi baritone aria comes to a love song.

Your favourite piece of music?

That’s to difficult to say. But on terms of non classical music my favorite artists currently are


If your life would be an opera, which composer would you wish for the future?

 I have a gifted composer friend Peter Hilliard. I love how he writes for the lyric stage.

His music is tuneful, easy on the ears and a joy to sing

 He and his lyricist, Matt Borresi will have fabulous careers as musical theatre and Opera theatre team

Your chief characteristic?

 I am a nice guy!  However, highly self critical and sensitive. I am hurt easily and have a tendency to live on my wounds.  But, that is why I read Carolyn Myss

Your motto?

Alles kann…
aber muss nicht




Your chief fault?

I am highly self critical and sensitive. I am hurt easily and have a tendency to live in my wounds.  But, that is why I read Carolyn Myss



What is your present state of mind?

Thankful, and blessed,…. but frustrated and lonely are always close by.




How do you want to die?

With out pain

Your idea of misery?

An awful thought. To outlive my children. This would be torture.

Your idea of happiness?

My family, all healthy, happy content, respectful and at peace in every way 


Sonjas' Opera Diary

Sonjas Opera diary part 6


Today the sun is shining and it really feels like summer, and for this reason I think everyone at todays rehearsal wanted to focus and work hard in the hope to get out early. Both our Azucena’s and one of our Manrico’s were in this morning to work on the two duets they have during the production. Our dancer who will be playing the burnt witch (Azucena’s mother) was also there. From the costume inspiration board we have up in the wall, the burnt witch is going to look super creepy, and so I don’t think the ladies playing Azucena will have to try very hard to act scared when they see her.

The central story of The Troubadour is of Azucena avenging her burnt mother and so on stage you get to see the burnt witch as the puppeteer, using Azucena to carry out her revenge.

The rehearsal went well which meant the start of our weekend had begun.