Mar 31, 2009


I've got another opening weekend under my wing (that's three now, if you're keeping track). Of course, of course, it's ALL about the opera, but it doesn't hurt to have an occasion to get dapper.

Our Costume Coordinator Bill obviously thinks the same.

After greeting guests in the lobby, I de-tuxed (not to be confused with de-toxed, which, you know, may be the case someday) and headed backstage. (View from the wings, yeah, yeah yeah.) I caught this shot of Tom Hammons puttering (and pattering) on stage as Bartolo.

THEN...I got to be ON STAGE at the Sunday matinee. In foliage, albeit. (Note: plant was not real, as I discovered when I got a little hungry.)

But, wait! It gets better...

Andy Gangestad (Don Basilio) is truly a friend to poultry everywhere. For he spirited me out from the shroud of vegetation and placed me in plain view on the harpsichord on stage! (And a choir of angels sang...)

I can't promise you I will be as lucky this Saturday night at the performance, but a chicken can hope. A chicken can hope.

Mar 30, 2009


10. It's the only fully-staged opera in town this weekend.

9. Metropolitan Opera veterans Tom Hammons and Andrew Gangestad--Met stars at Cleveland prices.

8. We'll have Alek Shrader sing the oft-cut "Cessa di piu resistere" aria--yours free of charge!

7. The Indians' home opener is still a week away.

6. It was the muse of Bugs Bunny.

5. At Sunday's show a certain chicken randomly appeared on stage. (I owe Andy a beer for that assist.) Who knows what craziness will happen on Saturday night?

4. No one dies in this opera!

3. Really, really cute kids.

2. The Plain Dealer says "it's high on theatrical mirth." In other words...hysterical.

1. Because you could meet me!

Saturday, April 4 at 8 pm at the State Theatre.

Mar 26, 2009


You may have realized, fair readers, that, in addition to opera, I have a little thing for pop culture. So I love when the two intersect. And I love MAKING them intersect, which is sorta what this here blog is all about anyway. I'm just sayin'.

So, thanks for indulging me. Below are some photos of The Barber of Seville, taken by the talented Eric Mull. me.

Figaro: Ya got trouble, right here in River City...Seville! With a capital T and that rhymes with B and that stands for Bartolo.

Don Basilio: Actually, the name's Snape. Severus Snape. It took me crocheting through, like, eight Quidditch matches to make this damn scarf.

[Bartolo: I would've gotten away with it if it weren't for these crazy kids!]

Mar 25, 2009


(and I should know, right!)

In anticipation of The Barber of Seville, I have launched my first marketing campaign! It's Carl's Guide to Being the Ultimate Wingman.

It's in honor of opera's ultimate wingman--Figaro. And for you, my dear readers, I have a page of tips and tricks that I've learned from the master himself. So click on through Learn. Love. Wing it.

Mar 24, 2009


The Green Room is not really green--it's institutional beige. This bothers me. (Also: why don't I get a coffee mug with my name on it??)

Don't let the eerie green glow fool you. It's not the set for The Hulk: The Opera. It's the prop table backstage. It's illuminated by a green light so you can see it but so it also keeps backstage dark.

Gettin' a little strung-out before the performance. Heh heh.

Chorus rehearses. I believe the look they are going for is...motley. (Nikki Six and Vince Neil ain't got nothing on these guys.)

Yes, Virginia Cindy, there is still sewing to do.

Mar 22, 2009


Cancel your lunch meeting for Monday and give your rapt attention to Around Noon on WCPN 90.3.

The illustrious Dee Perry interviews Alek Shrader, Daniela Mack and Dean Williamson on the show.

Daniela and Alek will give you a little preview of their phenomenal voices with a Rossini duet.

If you just can't get out of that lunch meeting going over your TPS reports, you can always tune in online, where the interview will be archived.

Mar 20, 2009


Bartolo: I want my babybackbabybackbabyback baby back ribs!

Berta: Um, yeah, Chili's doesn't deliver to the early 1900s.

Almaviva: Aww, Fig, I really didn't mean it when I said that I could get a better haircut from a lawn mower.

Figaro: Grrrr. Go play your stupid guitar.

Rosina: I'm thinking some Farrah Fawcet-style feathering.

Figaro: I'm thinking...not.

Mar 18, 2009


It was load-in day at the State Theatre today for The Barber of Seville set.

I love getting to see the elements of our sets before they are transformed and lit up. It's like that HGTV show in which people leave their home and return to it all made-over, and they're like "Wow! I never thought Marmalade Sunset paint would make such a difference in this room. It's amazing!"

Similarly, the imposing-looking set pieces above will get translated into something like this:

(photo courtesy of Edmonton Opera)

Turns out I really can fly. (And not because I've been licking psilocybin mushrooms or something equally mind-altering...I'm not that kind of chicken.) No, flying is what theater folk know as a system using pulleys, ropes and other mechanical devices that you probably learned about in physics to easily move scrims, set pieces, back drops and lights on and off stage. They're all suspended above the stage in the "fly space"

You operate the flys (as I show here) on the "rail," located backstage. Ideally, you run the correctly labeled fly.

If you haven't bought your tickets already.

Mar 16, 2009


It was Brian's turn for ye olde Q&A. I went a little easier on him than Tom since Tom and I go way back (to September, okay, but I'm young!)

Three things I can't live without:

My laptop (a MacBook Pro), the Food Network and hand sanitizer
(A world without Purell is a world best not contemplated.)

First piece I ever sang :
The first piece I ever remember singing was the hymn, “I Love To Tell the Story” inkindergarten. The first opera I ever sang in was La Boheme (in the chorus). The first opera role I ever performed was Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Least favorite opera:

Favorite composer:

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When people write YOU'RE when they mean YOUR.
(Your so right!)

I can't go onstage without:
A full stomach and a prayer

All-time favorite singer:
A tie between Maria Callas and Olivia Newton-John
(And, really, who should have to choose?)

If I hadn’t become a singer, I would have:
A lot more money in my savings account. Or maybe actually not because I would have been a research scientist (most likely an astrophysicist)

My weakness:

Mar 12, 2009


Almaviva: So you're telling me that Fiorello here and MY mother...
Fiorello: Oh, no you didn't!

Figaro: How many times do I have to tell you: riding boots are so not doing anything for you.
Almaviva: Dude, you're a barber, not the Fug Girls.

Bartolo: Hey! You're allergic to rehearsals? Me too!

Rosina: Oh, this is so not working for me.
Figaro: I told him NO Zeppelin.

Rosina: Better. But lose the scarf. Really?

Mar 10, 2009


Today at rehearsal, I hung out with Tom Hammons while he waited for his cue. I exploited this time to ask him a few somewhat prying questions. (Actually I started with Truth or Dare, but when I dared Tom to moon Alek while he was singing, he put an end to that.)

Favorite Adult Beverage:
La phroig
(He says this is an Islay
single malt, but I'm pretty sure it's actually a piece of IKEA furniture.)

Favorite opera:
The Marriage of Figaro

Least favorite opera:
La traviata

Favorite composer:
Without a doubt, Mozart

In high school, were you a nerd, stoner, popular kid, jock, class clown, or other?
Other: Poet Laueate
(Sorry, Tom, but repeating "Sticks and stones may break my bones..." does not a poet make.)

What song do you want played at your funeral?
"Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin

Do you sing opera in the shower?

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Having to feed my pet peeve

Do you talk to yourself?
I’ve asked myself that question often and the answer is no.

What do you say?
“Do I talk to myself?”

I can’t go onstage without:
my pants
(Hence, the refusal to moon Alek.)

If I hadn’t become a singer, I would have:
become a millionaire

Who would you rather have dinner with: Richard Simmons, Cheech & Chong or Gary Busey?
(Oh, he's a clever one, that Tom.)

Mar 9, 2009


Sadly, but not surprisingly, more people are familiar with pop cultural allusions to great operas. You might think you don't know a thing about The Barber of Seville, but, by virtue of a person's 4-hour-average-of-television-a-day, I bet you actually do. Perhaps The Barber of Seville doesn't ring a bell, but maybe The Rabbit of Seville does. I thought so. (*patting own back*)

Now, I wanted to give you a reminder of this popular Looney Tunes cartoon, but there seems to be copyright issues, blah blah blah. BUT I did find this Spanish YouTube version below.

Opera is a cultural experience, right? Well, now it's multi-cultural. You're welcome.

Mar 6, 2009


I perched by Director Linda while Tom Hammons (Bartolo) and Daniela Mack (Rosina) practiced their staging for a scene.

Note: Rosina is the ward of Bartolo, which means he's, like, her guardian. Yet, he totally wants to get in her pants (or petticoat, as it were). A touch of Woody Allen-ness there, wouldn't you say? (sans the black glasses and overall nebbishness.)

Tom Hammons is back! (in his signature role as Bartolo, nonetheless) He and I went over the recitatives with Dean.

Ah, yes, I could use some of these props for my laboratory (pronounced La-BORE-a-tory, you bloody fool!) Alas, stage managers said no.

Mar 3, 2009


Yesterday the cast and director of The Barber of Seville had the pleasure of meeting me. (I reciprocated the honor by being pleased to meet them, too.)

Director Linda Brovsky is in the foreground here, explaining the production to us. We're in store for a colorful, cheerful production. I think it should be antidote to the we-are-so-done-with-this, pre-spring gray that is NE Ohio.

You can find out a little more about the Barber artists at our Meet the Cast event tomorrow (Wed, March 4) event. 7:30 pm at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Legacy Village. It's FREE, people, so don't tell me the economy is holding you back from attending.

Mar 1, 2009


On Friday we received our shipment of costumes for The Barber of Seville, which we are renting from Edmonton Opera.

I helped Heidi, Mark and Kish unload the boxes (and by helped, I mean I told them where to put things).

What did the world do before plastic bags? They must have been dark, dark days.

One shipment really freaked me out at first. Extreme close up:

And then Kish freaked me again by trying to reassure me that the box was actually filled with gators.

It turns out they were gaiters, not gators.