Thursday, May 22 4:30pm
PepsiCo Recital Hall
Lecture: Brian Evans
The Operatic Trumpet
Brian Evans brings a wealth of experience and insights regarding the high levels of skill and musicianship that are needed to be a successful player with a good opera and ballet orchestra. With almost three decades of playing trumpet for Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet, at the worlds famous Sydney Opera House, he describes a career that should not be seen as second rate or a stepping stone to a real job with a symphony. Brian discusses and demonstrates what it takes to become an Operatic Trumpeter and shares his knowledge of what a player will confront on taking up a position in the pit. With the help of audio-visual and printed aids, he shows that the musical rewards can be as surprising and varied as the work itself.
James Bovinette, reporter
Brian Evans lecture entitled The Operatic Trumpet, Life in the pits
began with a short history of his experiences as a member of Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet. He shared with his audience a wealth of experience and insight regarding equipment, playing in the orchestra pit, and ballet and opera orchestra performance demands.
Evans lecture focused upon what he termed as the three Rs; Repertoire, Role, and Realization. He began with a discussion of the vast repertoire in the field of opera and ballet, not only discussing the importance of the notes, but on the fact that you had to be ready for anything. According to Mr. Evans, excerpts only give part of the story and being familiar with complete works is key to being successful on stage. He further pointed out that demonstrating insight is also a key element for being successful during the audition process.
Mr. Evans discussion on realization was closely related to repertoire, drawing key relationships to literature and actual performance. His discussion focused primarily on the issue of being ready for the many variables that directly influence the realization of music during opera or ballet performance. Some of the variables he discussed included: working with vocalist, different conductors, and having a broad musical mind with regard to the wide variations of tempos and transpositions that exist in the opera repertoire. He stressed that in opera and ballet, players must tune into the conductor and that all bets are off, do not second guess the director, he calls the shots.
Moving to his discussion of the importance that the role plays in opera and ballet performance, Mr. Evans pointed out that the orchestra in opera and ballet is only part of a larger production, and that understanding the role that the music assumes in an opera is fundamental to the team work involved in a multifaceted performance. He pointed out that opera is written with a story that can influence how the trumpeter plays. Musicians have to be the rock of the production, and often the better job that they do, the less they are noticed. In opera, character roles can be presented in such a variety of ways that a great deal of satisfaction for the entire ensemble comes from being able to adjust during performance.
Mr. Evans closed his discussion with performance demonstrations of the many difficult demands faced by the opera trumpeter, including the use of alternate valve and extended slide techniques in the Prelude to Carman. He also finished with advice for those who are auditioning for opera orchestras. He stressed that players should show the panel that you know the literature and the parts, be able to demonstrate that you know the setting and role, and finally that you demonstrate your own playing and ideas without trying to second guess what the panel might want.