I have just woken up.
Yesterday was another big day for all of us here. The second rehearsal is an all important event for a big list of reasons.
My biggest worry was the dress. Since my past has been plagued with wrong clothing choices, I still tremble at the thought of showing a dress for the first time...sort of deja' vu, don't you think??!! :)
I was ready waiting at the hotel reception at 11am. Robert insists on punctuality and even though he doesn't really say anything when I'm late, his face speaks volumes. So I did what I could to hurry and managed to land in reception in British punctuality.
Sunday in Helsinki is quite different from the rest of the week. There was no traffic at all and the trip to the Hartwell Arena took us less than 10 minutes (compared to 20 or 30 minutes during the week).
As soon as we arrived at the venue, Mark setup one of his keyboards for a voice rehearsal with Claire. Mark is an excellent piano player and has been collecting keyboards for a long time. He insisted on getting his favourite one to Helsinki: a red Korg Karma! :) He must be getting superstitious I guess!
I have learnt a lot from Claire Massa. Even though my style and her style differ, the techniques still apply. Especially when it comes to warming up your voice. I have found that a good warm up guarantees a good performance. And that's what we did. All you could hear when passing by the Maltese dressing rooms was 'La La La La La La La La La'. And all other sort of voice exercises. We spent almost an hour doing them, by which time a YLE official came knocking on our door asking us to go backstage to setup the mics.
I was soon microphoned and ready on stage. This is the first time that I'm able to see anything while performing. And the reason is simple. I'm wearing lenses. I still have to get used to them, but they make a big difference. Since I'm miopic, when performing I take off my specs. And believe, me. On stage I don't see anything at all. Everything is just a blur. This time, Mark insisted I had to follow the cameras. In order to follow the cameras I had to see the red tally lights so the only solution was wearing contacts. It worked.
In the distance I could see Mark and John Demanuele talking to the Director of Lights. This director is a swell sort of guy...spiky hair and a gentle face. He has been doing the lights for six Eurovisions. And believe me...he's good.
'Standby...first rehearsal', said a voice in the background.
I went into line with Joseph, Jes and the three girls. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the first opening shot. We decided to keep the steadycam shot with a difference. He was asked to focus on Joseph and Jes rather than show us lined up standing like school children waiting to be reprimanded by the teacher! And it was looking good. I could even hear Mark clapping in the background. I think someone suggested this on the blog. He was right.
The voice was coming out well when suddenly two big fans started running. I almost choked! :) The power of the fans is surpising. And I had to get used to it. But when I did get used to it, it was heaven. You almsot forget you are on the Eurovision stage.
After about six tries the rehearsals were over. I headed to the viewing room to see the finished product. I must admit it is all looking good. I've been reading some comments on this blog regarding wideshots. Whilst I do agree that closeups are important, some wideshots have to be included. Otherwise there would be no establishing shots. And establishing shots are very important to put whoever is on stage in a context. Apart from the fact that when the venue is full, it would look good to include shots of people clapping and waving their flags during the song. Another consideration is that since most have viewed the rehearsal on youtube, the size and quality of the picture are not really ideal for long shots. They look empty. But believe me, in full size they look so so so good! :)
And the dress seems to have pleased a lot of people. So we are definitely going to use it for the semifinal. That's decided.
The viewing room guys warily asked us if we were happy with the job. The answer was plain and simple: Yes. Very happy. Some minor adjustments and we're there. One nagging point was the delay on the backing vocalists' voice. Philip asked the sound man to reduce the delay in certain points as it was getting overlayed on the proper voice making them sound badly. It will be setup in time for the dress rehearsal...that's what we've been told.
The door is knocking...oh God...it's Robert and he's waiting for me to go for a rehearsal in the local gym. 'Come on Olivia...don't be late', I can hear him saying.
So I must go.
Speak to you tomorrow...Olivia :)