Annie Gaybis Actress, Singer, Dancer

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When I worked at the LA Opera...Chari Shankar the production manager sold shirts that said "Life is short...Opera is long".....well, when your not on till Act Three Scene One that could very well be true....but under the direction of A. Scott Parry ....yes, that is his name....(I wasn't sure how to address him so I finally asked someone and they told me to just call him "Scott")....we zipped thru it so fast I couldn't believe it....and ...with two intermissions to boot.   

Dress Rehearsal

Dress Rehearsal: "Mimi and me." Mimi played by Inna Dukach.

I had the role of Buona Donna which translates to mean "good woman".....this was the opposite of what I was....I was a well-dressed bar girl who stumbles out early morning after a drinking fest and approach two boys who looked so young in real life and onstage my character could have gotten arrested for solicitation of minors... ...they ignore me....and rush into the tavern I just came out of.

I stumble along until the "real" good woman shows up.....our heroine Mimi portrayed by Inna Dukach who asks me of all things ..." to go back into that tavern" and find her lovers friend......and my character is so complimented that I am called a good woman that I acquiesce and "yes", go back in. It sounds simple...not so fast....

This was the first time I had done La Boheme and instead of keeping it in the classic approach ...they moved it to circa 1939 which boys and girls ..".in Opry land."...that is " au current"....

Performed at The Times Union Performing Arts Center....with The Jacksonville Symphony with all the sets coming from The New York City Opera and all the costumes from The Utah Symphony....somehow...with the smallest role I ended up with the prettiest costume.....and it was oh, so Joan Crawford and fit me perfectly...everyone else ....earth colored and drab....
   

Tah...Dah Loved the Chapeau & Wig
  
 

Between Acts in La Boheme with Maestro Mechetti of The Jacksonville Symphony.... Loved my costume--I felt like I was going onto a movie set circa 1939.

    
 So at my first rehearsal... driving over an hour and a half to get there ...amongst people I had never met....the conductor of the symphony Fabio Mechetti in the room ..".all" the chorus...."all " the production people and "finally" its time for Act III Scene 1....and A. Scott Parry calls for "Annie Gaybis"....finally I'm thinking to myself.... I knew it was for "something special" because those of you who know the opera know the chorus is all over Cafe Momus in Act 2...but I was being saved for a solo in Act 3.and in front of "everybody" this is what our director said far away from me in this large rehearsal room telling this to me and "everyone" loud and clear..."Now Annie you walk out drunk and you are about to "heave"....and you proceed over to these two men and present yourself to them...they reject you....and you continue to the bistro sign where you hold onto it for support and looking like you are about to "heave" etc...etc...etc....

Getting it Together Backstage

Well, maybe A. Scott Parry saw "Carnage" on Broadway or recently the movie version where Kate Winslett was continually "heaving" with her character....I actually lost track of what he was saying to me and plastered a half smile on my face while I heard two smirks from the unknown to me chorus probably thinking "thank you g-d not me".....and I ..I was thinking "I drove an hour and a half to hear about my role as the heaving harlot...and if he says "heaving" one more time I will probably do it right then and there....which might have pleased him immensely, so... I tuned it all out and just started counting the number of times he said "heave"...I lost count.....oh, and none of this was said to me in a harsh or sarcastic tone but with a happy enthusiastic demeanor.....sigh!
   

Getting Hair and Wig Applied by Linda Guillot--
Make-up by Annie

Waiting to go on at Times Union Performing Arts Center for "La Boheme" with Dorothy Jean Bush...I feel like one of "The Lollipop Kids" in this outfit or that I personally know John Philip Sousa

Well, I did everything except the heaving thru each and every rehearsal and dress and performance and you know what ..ask me if A. Scott Parry said anything to me about "why was I not heaving" ....Not once...

You know its very hard to play an intoxicated person and not make it a caricature ....and he wanted it subtle....so I practiced it (without getting loaded) around the hotel room ....backstage...wherever there was space...and got excellent advice from my husband, who told me to think of walking the deck of a ship that was rocking.....
and to keep it subtle think of only as doing it to the first two rows.....well, when all was said and done A. Scott Parry ....told me "Cut. Print."

I got to hear the Symphony play the fabulous Puccini score....got the prettiest outfit in the show....didn't have to heave on or off the stage ....what more can a girl ask for?  


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