Apr 28, 2009


Art forms are incestuous. They are always borrowing from, sharing and inspiring each other. But that's not a bad thing. We don't live life in a vacuum (well, except for some dust mites), therefore our art is not created in a vacuum. (I'm sure this statement will get some opposition, and just remember: I have a very, very sharp beak.)

This is a relatively profound preface to the simple fact that I have been browsing Flickr and the web for opera-related artwork.

You may already be familiar with Rafal Oblinski's work. We have a few posters of his pieces in the office, and they are definitely my favorite opera posters.

Here's some of my favorite finds:

(Apparently, the best opera album artwork is usually Carmen.)

Edward Gorey was a fan of music and theater and many of his drawings reflected this. The above drawing is from his story The Blue Aspic, about an obsessed opera fan. (Nooo, it's not about ME!)

I like how so many paintings relating to opera focus on the audience or what's happening in the house, like in the one above by Mary Cassatt.

And then's there:

The Surprising Soprano by Michael Aspinall. No, not really suprised.


Apr 24, 2009


Backstage people own a lot of black clothes. A lot.

Nonetheless, our technical director Kish likes to express herself through her clothing--her favorite medium being the tee shirt. Besides on opening nights, I have never ever seen her without a tee shirt with some funny saying or another.

I requested demanded a field trip to her closet to see the source of the unending supply of tees.

It was like a cavalcade of cotton/poly. (I swear, Cafe Press should put her on its payroll.)

And then we went to Grandpa's Cheesebarn.

Apr 22, 2009


We have had some great directors here at Opera Cleveland--so good, in fact, that we invite some back for Round Two. Peter Kazaras directed our Marriage of Figaro in September, and he is returning to the Cleve to direct Falstaff in June. (And, no doubt, bringing his faithful companion Tommy.)

Peter was recently mentioned in an OperaOnline.us article titled Directors Gone Wild, It's All About Ego! His ego was NOT one of the ones being challenged, though. Rather, Peter was noted as the antithesis to directors who disregard composers' objectives, letting their epic artistic vision supersede everything else.

"[Kazaras'] is a silent presence. The audience doesn’t even know that he’s there; but, oh, he leaves his mark...He uses his creativity to enhance the talents of his singer-actors so that they coordinate with the conductor and musicians and shine. His results are just as magical and far more appealing.

Now 'that' is opera."


Apr 20, 2009


Unless you haven't yet kicked off the groggy cloak of Monday, you may have noticed I made some home improvements around here today.

(Thankfully, I don't need a over-gelled, over-tanned man-child to help on my home improvements.)

I added a nice photo stream to Opera Cleveland photos, which are now on Flickr.

And if you aren't yet a fan of Opera Cleveland on Facebook, now there's a little reminder EVERYTIME you visit my blog.

You are welcome.


Apr 16, 2009

Thinking Ahead

It's been far too long since my last installment of What DODAD (What Does the Opera Do All Day?) I can only imagine how many of you are on the edge of your ergonomically correct seats wondering when I was going to divulge the goings on at the office.

Let's get the exciting stuff out of the way. In the last two weeks since Barber closed:
1. Sarah did the dishes.
2. Lisa cleaned the supply closet.
3. Will went to a lot of meetings.
(And, yes, all of these things are exciting...when you say "if you know what I mean" after each.)

Besides preparing for Falstaff in June, there's many other tasks to be done. We're getting ready for the Grand Opera Ball this Saturday. Will is actively looking for interns for summer. (Interested?)

While there's plenty to do for the current season, we have been laboring over our NEXT season.

Remember that audience survey we did last summer? (Detailed here and here.)

We definitely took the results of the surveys into account in planning our next season. (Don't say I never listen!)

Today, Paul and I were listening to some of the operas we're planning to produce. (Don't even try to make out the titles on those CDs. I blurred them--and maybe they're not actually the titles anyway. Maybe they are Metallica CDs. Maybe we're doing a Metallica opera. You just never know. )

And just when WILL you find out what our next season is? I think I'll let you bribe me with some beers first...


Apr 14, 2009


I do not often read Vanity Fair. But while perusing the blog Parterre, I found out that the mag has featured some glossy-friendly opera singers in this month's issue.

As per the VF style, they are draped across divans and pretentiously posed. This styling might do squat toward the perception of opera as high-faluting. But I'm not complaining to see a grouping of opera artists featured in the mainstream media, instead of just one of opera's poster children (i.e. The Flem).


Apr 9, 2009


Sometimes life imitates art.

And sometimes Peeps imitate opera.

My peeps had stayed with me for nearly a week, during which time I schooled them on all the most famous operas. But some of them...some of them got a little too into opera.

Vincent and Mathilda realized their true, undying love for one another. But, acknowledging they could never truly be together (for some operatic reason or another), they decided to be together in death.

I tried to talk them out of it. (There's other Peeps in the...supermarket.)

But, alas, they were resolved.

And I wept.

Apr 7, 2009


It's that time of year when my peeps come to visit. (They always seem to come in fives...)

Apr 6, 2009


Let me tell you, it took a lot to get me out of my coop today. Between Barber of Seville closing on Saturday night and winter's last gasp, I'm not in the most pleasant of moods. (It didn't help that SOMEONE ate my morning Pop Tart. Curses!)

Do not fret, though: I shall overcome. I have Falstaff to look forward to in June. Peter Kazaras, who directed The Marriage of Figaro for us last year, is back to direct. And Dean says it's a really fun cast. (Putt-putt-golf-and-ice-cream-cones fun or doing-keg-stands-in-the-hotel fun? Dean, please be clear.)

photo by: Eric Mull

Here's a parting image of the Barber of cast--collectively fraught with headaches at the end of Act I. (My favorite scene!)

Apr 2, 2009


There has been some popular demand for more tips from my Guide to Being the Ultimate Wingman. And by "popular demand" I mean I assume there is popular demand and y'all are just shy. But I have interpreted your bashfulness, my friends, and I offer you some more helpful tips:

Tip #17


A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind man, but you must be able to communicate non-verbally with your buddy in the heat of battle. Beer in the left hand= we stay put. Beer in the right= we’re moving on to the next table. (And if your friend is drinking white zin instead of beer, he deserves to go home alone.)

Tip #53

He’s cooped up in front of video games and Seinfeld reruns, wearing Doritos-stained sweatpants and a frown. Your job is to get him back in the game. Pump up his confidence, spray him down with some Axe, and get him back out there. He may look like George Costanza, but you’ll convince him he’s George Clooney.

Tip #31

A good wingman knows both his own limits as well as the limits of his friend. Beer. Water. Beer. Water… and so on. An exemplary wingman will not drink at all, serving as his friend’s driver, eyes, confidant and conscience all at once. This level of sacrifice earns a wingman his wings, and a friend knows that payback will be of the highest order--such as helping the wingman move at a later date.

This Saturday is your last chance to see
opera's ultimate wingman Figaro!