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It’s difficult to portray a married couple when two actors have met only five days before a performance.

Yet that’s exactly what Lorant Najbauer and Jackie M. Hayes will have to do. The stars of the San Diego Children’s Choir production of “Noye’s Fludde” were introduced to each other for the first time on Wednesday. It was also the first time they sang together.

“He wasn’t at the auditions with us,” Hayes, who plays the role of Noah’s wife, said. “We each got the score on our own and have been preparing separately.”

But the pair, who will be performing Sunday, hit it off well, likely glad to have finally been in the same room together. Najbauer said afterward he’s thankful Hayes is spunky enough to play the role properly. Mrs. Noah is a fitful character, and the duo has a face slap to perfect in the coming days.

They were not the only ones to make introductions. The magnitude of this opera has led to rehearsals being performed in groups instead of as a whole — the entire company won’t come together until Saturday. On Tuesday, during the orchestra rehearsal, players within the same section were also meeting for the first time. Many had never before played together, and the wide range of ages and skill levels made the first run through the music full of anticipation.

Typically, the start of each rehearsal focused on working out bugs and bringing everyone up to speed. There were a few mishaps — a temporary wall tipped over onto a bell player and the air conditioning still didn’t work — but by the end of each day, the final product seemed more and more within reach.

The energy building up is almost palpable. Overall Director Margie Orem admitted she is so excited she can hardly sleep. But these rehearsals have not been easy, especially for Director Michael Morgan.

“It’s a madhouse,” he said quietly to himself as he crossed the rehearsal space.

There is still a lot to do.

Morgan has already spent Tuesday and Wednesday night leading two rehearsals for this Benjamin Britten opera, and there are only two more before show time.

We’re following the choir behind the scenes as it puts together the opera. The tale is based on the story of Noah’s Ark and includes around 250 children and community members performing as actors, the chorus or the orchestra. He and Orem have been working for months to pull this off, but blocking must be figured out, the children need to finish memorizing the songs and the singers and musicians need to learn to perform with each other.

These last few practices will be crucial.

San Diego Children’s Choir presents “Noye’s Fludde” by Benjamin Britten at Copley Symphony Hall downtown on June 3 at 3 p.m. Ticket information found here or 619.235.0804.

Read more about this month’s Embedded here.

Allie Daugherty reports on arts for voiceofsandiego.org. You can contact her directly at allie.daugherty@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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