In my study there is a picture of Mahler on the wall. Whilst preparing various Mahler symphonies (especially no.3) I would occasionally wag my finger at Mahler and say "That's another fine mess you've got me into!". I now need a picture of Puccini for the same purpose!
What an amazing roller-coaster rider it was. And being involved in just about all aspects was amazing (although exhausting!). The auditions, the piano rehearsals, trips to Reay School in Lambeth to work with the children's chorus, orchestral rehearsals (after the first rehearsal most of the band came out of it looking like rabbits caught in headlights ... but the progress was exponential, well done all!), marking up the brass parts, organising the gunshot sound effect, producing movement instructions for the cast, sorting the props list. And some. Oh, and not forgetting the odd moment studying the score ...
Ok, so there were a few dodgy moments, but they are quickly forgotten when the vast bulk of the singing and playing was of such fine quality. I have to pay special tribute to the wonderful three main characters: Becca Marriott as Tosca, John Upperton as Cavaradossi, and Stephen Holloway as Scarpia. A real privilege for me to work with such great singers.
The audience reaction was wonderful. And everything was summed up for me when one of the Reay children came up to me afterwards, on her own, and thanked me for giving them the opportunity to sing.
Opera bug, you have bitten.