Aug 29, 2008


I hung out with UPS man Bob the other day during one of many deliveries to the office. He's friendly, like, every time he's here. (What do you take for that, Bob, because please share.)

Unfortunately, he picked me up by the scruff of my feathers like I was a UPS package or something. Gentle, Bob, gentle.

Aug 28, 2008


I'm really getting busy (as opposed to "gettin' busy") at the opera. I feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off. (Sorry, macabre humor.)

Last night, I went over to a rehearsal hall at the State Theatre to a chorus rehearsal to see how they roll. Figaro has a chorus of 12, and, like with all of our productions, our chorus members are local, professional singers.

I checked the Sign In sheet. Only one early bird so far. (heh heh)

Before chorus members arrived, I chatted with
our Assistant Chorus Master, John.

Shhh! They're rehearsing!

While our Chorus Master CM Shearer conducted,
I threw in some melodies.(But apparently there is no bawk bawk bawk
in Figaro. Fie on Mozart!)

The chorus asked me to conduct at one point. I pretty much rocked.

Before I headed back to the coop, I checked the Call Board,
which posts the next rehearsal date/time.
(Sunday?!? Isn't that a day of rest/hangover recovery?! C'mon.)

Aug 26, 2008


A new week, a new assistant stage manager. RoseMary joins Lisa K and Valerie this week in prepping for the Figaro posse. She gave me a little lesson today on that most quintessential of stage manager accoutrements: Spike Tape.

If you have ever watched a stage production from the balcony, you may have noticed bits of colored tape dotting the stage. That's spike tape; it marks locations for performers, set pieces and props. The tape is easy to tear and doesn't leave that gunk that makes you curse the adhesive industry.

Right now, our industrious stage managers are gettin' sticky, marking up the rehearsal space (which, for Figaro, is in our warehouse).

RoseMary said spike tape is also handy for taping shut the beaks of foul-mouthed fowl. (I have no idea who she might be suggesting.)

Aug 22, 2008


For the past few weeks, I have been immersed in reading and tabulating results from our audience survey. (Y'all got some opinions, now, don't you?!) We'll be presenting a summary when everything is processed, but I wanted to share a few of the responses to some of our questions here. (These are actual answers.)

Would you be willing to become an Opera Cleveland volunteer?If you answered no, why not?

"Too old to cut the mustard."
(Fortunately, there is only cutting of ketchup here at the opera, so please reconsider!)

"Too busy with world domination."
(Oh, I hear ya on that one. Let me know if you need some volunteers.)

Additional Comments?

"Please remove my name from mailing list."
(Fair enough but you didn't give us your name! That would help.)

What does having an opera company in Cleveland mean to you?

"We've attended opera in Cleveland for 40+ years and would be distressed if live opera were not available."
(How could you not be depressed if there was no live opera?)

"Makes my life better."
(It sure beats Prozac.)


Aug 19, 2008


Finally, some different people in the office! (Sorry, all you regular staff members; I love you as dearly as my avian heart can muster, but there's only so many "That's what she said" jokes I can endure before I want a change of company.)

Our Figaro stage management staff has started to filter into the office this week, so they can prep for the cast and crew.

She's baaaaaaaaack. My pal Lisa Kelly has returned to The OC as Assistant Stage Manager.

And here we have Production Stage Manager Valerie; she is not quite used to having a chicken look over her shoulder. But she will learn, oh yes, she will learn.

I didn't exactly know what stage managers did at the office before rehearsals started, but I have gotten schooled, indeed. Lots of paperwork is what they do. Lots. of. paperwork.

  • prepping the scores
  • timing the scores
  • scene breakdowns: who is in each scene and what are they wearing and holding
  • creating daily schedules for all cast members
  • learning the set from the ground plans (i.e. blueprints)
  • making sure all rehearsal props and costumes are ready
Basically, they are communication central. The mitochondrion of an opera production, if you will. (And I will, so you should too.)

So I'm pretty dang psyched they are here, and for their part, they are, too. Lisa is happy to return to working in the gorgeous State Theatre. Valerie said she "can't wait for the people with talent to show up."

Oh, Valerie, didn't your guidance counselor teach you that we all have talent.

Aug 18, 2008


Yes, summers end, internships end, but we can mourn the absence of Intern Bobby nonetheless.
My latte just wasn't the same when I had to fetch it for myself this morning.

Intern Bobby came to us for the summer through the Cleveland Foundation's internship program. He worked tirelessly on our audience survey (including the god forsaken mailing of said survey) and he easily fit into the oft-zany office atmosphere.

Fare ye well, Intern Bobby.
Even though y'all went for margaritas WITHOUT me.
Even though I don't have a photo with you, so I have to use this one of you and my handler Lisa (what are you hiding with those glasses there, girl?)

Aug 15, 2008


Opera folks are nothing if not open-minded. (Well, most of us.) I fancy myself a quite progressive fowl, (I mean, I love Dr. Atomic, for goodness sake!) Thus, I have made some friends I would not have imagined, namely felines.

I met wee Phantom here when I visited the warehouse this week. We got in some interspecies snorgling. (See CuteOverload if you don't yet know what that is, and shame on you if you don't!)

Earlier this summer, I hung out with Lucy (or Lulu Belle, as we got to be chums) when Sarah (my seamstress) was working on my tuxedo. She was not so much into the snorgling; she was more "why are you here? are you a toy? can I eat you?"

Aug 12, 2008


Because I was starting to get a little fidgety around the office (there's only so many surveys one can tabulate in a day), my co-workers let me take a little field trip. Yesterday, I returned to my birthplace: the Opera Cleveland Warehouse.

At the warehouse, we store all the sets the company has built, in addition to props and costumes. Sets we build (or adapt) are created here. It's like a little city of two-by-fours, fake chandeliers, pulleys, and paper mache trees. A chicken could get into a lot of trouble there.

Right now, our warehouse peeps (the incomparable Kish, her summer apprentice Jessie, painter Megan, and carpenter Jamie) are building our Hansel and Gretel set. Here it is! The role of Gretel will be played by a cockroach and Hansel by a Junebug. (Along with striving to keep production costs down, we are so innovative.)

Oh, but I jest. This is a scale model of the Act I house in our production. We're lucky to have Erhard Rom as our set designer; he is phe-frickin'-nomenal.

Cage o' Candy. (For all of your peppermint twisted fantasies.)

Hanging out in the unfinished Act I house.

I hung out for a while with Jessie as she worked on the door for the Act I house, until she got too much sawdust in my feathers. (I've gotten too used to posh office life, where the only dangers range from eye strain to carpal tunnel. But these are scourges enough, I tell you!)

Aug 6, 2008


This deserves more than just a twitter: Beaker does the Habanera.

How can you not love this?

Aug 4, 2008


Each year through its Short-Term Residency program, Opera Cleveland works with schools to produce a one-hour version of a classic opera. This year, Teaching Artists (who portray the main characters in the shortened opera) worked with students to perform Bizet's Carmen.

And each year, we ask students to describe--in writing or drawings--their favorite part of the experience. As kids are wont to do, they charm us with their interpretation and their excitement about being involved in opera.

Here are some choice excerpts (with commentary, of course).

Carmen: You pretend to love me then say [you] cannot leave your regiment!
Don Jose: Carmen, it's not like that. Listen to me!
(Say it, DJ! Say bee-yotch!)

I think this shows Carmen running away from Don Jose (who has got some major junk in the trunk). I would run away from him too if he had no hands and all he sang was 'O, O, O, O, O.'

Here, the artist portrays Escamilo (allegedly with a nasty case of elephantiasis of the hand), inviting bulls (played by students) to run through the red cape. Said artist appears to have been inspired by the Powder Puff girls. (see below)

Awwww. Dang if that doesn't warm even a chicken's heart.