We take a peek behind the curtain at a day in the life of Canadian mezzo Wallis Giunta as she prepares for the opening night of Breaking the Waves.
Hey Festival Fans! My name is Wally and I am a Canadian-Irish opera singer performing the role of Dodo in Breaking the Waves (Mazzoli/Vavrek), opening 21 August at the King’s Theatre. Today is one of our final dress rehearsals, and I wanted to give you a wee idea of what it’s like from behind the curtain…
The Diva arises (lol). It may seem very sloth-like, but it’s actually strategic for me. Our performances are in the evening, so not only are we up late, but we need our energy levels to peak after 7pm so we’re at our best until the end of the show. I have to say, I do love a good lie-in, and it suits me just fine that I can blame it on the job!
Breakfast - mango, plain yogurt, scones, tea and some apple cider vinegar supplements which my mom says are really good for me (yuk).
Doing a little warming up, and trying to focus on the music from our show, but somehow I keep ending up singing country songs? Also warming up my body because it’s my instrument, too! Handstands, yoga twists and a brisk bike ride to the theatre.
In hair and makeup with the lovely Natalie. My character, Dodo, is a relatively normal, practical girl, and the hair and makeup for me in this show is actually not too different from what I would wear day to day - it’s great after the show, as I can just go straight to the pub and I don’t have to wash my face!
Going over my track for the show - reminding myself all of my entrances and exits, and what my cues are. We have an awesome stage management team, but they can only help me when I’m behind the scenes. Once I’m on stage, I have to keep track of what comes next, and in our revolving set, things can get a little disorienting. I keep a wee list of cues in my bra just in case…
Curtain is up! We're running the show, and we won’t stop unless something goes terribly wrong. This is a great opportunity for us to get comfortable with the flow of the show. My character is very busy, always in and out of the scene, so I never have a break long enough to go back to my dressing room. I have to be on stage or in the wings for about 2.5 hours, and I need to be focused and present. Thankfully we have a generous rehearsal period and plenty of time to figure it out!
We did it! No train wrecks, and all-in-all, an amazing run. Our cast and team are so wonderful, and we have a real family vibe, which is great. That’s the best thing you can hope for when you’re away from home for weeks on end - good people. I do love my job :)
Guess who’s hungry? You got it. Honestly, I could level a buffet after every performance or rehearsal. We are off to find something super tasty, and refuel for another busy day tomorrow!
The European premiere of Opera Ventures and Scottish Opera's Breaking the Waves comes to the International Festival on 21-24 August 2019.