May 29, 2009


I know I go on and on about opera (it's my JOB!) But the truth is I'm down with all of the arts, as are all of my co-workers. (For example: Paul plays in the pit for musicals at Near West Theatre, Sarah works at the Cleveland Film Festival, William plays trombone in Swing Time...and Lisa watches So You Think You Can Dance.)

I'm just starting to get out to other arts events in Cleveland, and last week I attended a rehearsal of Lend Me a Tenor at Cassidy Theatre. It's a comedy about opera (natch!)

"Tito Morelli" (with me, above) is an opera singer set to perform Otello with the "Cleveland Grand Opera Company." It can't be that simple, though, eh? All hell breaks loose--frantic board members, a stressed out company manager, sexual tension... (A true-to-life comedy, it is then.)

Some of said hell breaking loose. (Or maybe just a cast party.)

Some of said sexual tension. (What can I say? I'm irresistible.)

It opens tonight but it runs through June 14--check it out!


May 28, 2009


My giddiness is pretty darn hard to contain right now. Partly it's the high that Clevelanders feel when the weather is finally on our side. But mostly it's because our production of Falstaff is in full swing now that the cast is here. AND I can watch their every move--even if I have to be in the office. The live web cam is up (as you can see on the sidebar here), so no nose-picking, singers--we're watching you.

They're chill, though. I hung out with them at rehearsal:

Leave it to Valerie to make sure I have my own coffee mug. She's always got my back wing.

In the first days of rehearsals, the principals sit and sing through the score. It's like the most-talented campfire sing-along ever--without the S'mores. Or the fire.

Peter, what a big score you have...Wait, are you watching Hulu?

Dean introduced me to our Falstaff, Gaetan Laperriere. He's from Montreal. Once you hear his resonant, accented voice, you will say it with me, folks: Oh-la-frickin'-la.

That's not...No! NO! Fie on that lily-livered knave Falstaff and his gluttony!
(Best prepare yourselves the next few weeks for an onslaught of Shakespearean insults.)


May 26, 2009


So, the Falstaff singers are here, but I lived up the three-day weekend (see my Twitter) so I haven't met them yet. (After all, tomorrow is another day--no offense to Scarlett and her charred plantation.)

Another thing I am a bit behind on is setting up "Falstaff: A Bird's Eye View." We're rigging a camera up during rehearsals--and backstage at dress rehearsals--so I can bring you live footage of just what goes into a production. (You'll see the blood, sweat and tears firsthand, yo.)

This is why I am behind:

Mailings! Lots of mail to get out (not only is our staff talented at producing operas, doing finances, wrangling singers, educating kids, marketing, etc, we're all dang good envelope stuffers. We have lots of practice.)

But stay tuned, this week, I should have links to the live web cam.


May 21, 2009


I'm no purist. I think that is evident. I can appreciate challenging assumptions about art and having fun with it.

When I tweet about things such as an Underwater Opera or read about the Jerry Springer, the Opera, I am not necessarily mocking them. I'm amused and curious. I honestly want to see Jerry Springer, the Opera.

But (c'mon, now, you know there had to be a "but" here sometime)...But my allegiance to the art form of opera makes me a little defensive. I wonder how far is too far? What is gimmick and what is honest?

Seeing this story today is what prompted all my philosophizing. It's about a "scent opera"--"a new performance art that pairs music with a carefully orchestrated sequence of smells, some pleasant and some real stinkers."

My eyes couldn't help rolling up into their sockets. In this case, I'm really leaning toward gimmick--after all, "the opera was conceived by Stewart Matthew, a corporate financier turned entrepreneur who co-founded Aeosphere, a 'fragrance media' company." (Yeah.)

Nonetheless, it still fuels my ongoing questions about what is art. Alas, woe is the chicken who ponders!


May 18, 2009


The stage managers are here (fathers, hide your...liquor.)

Katie and Valerie have been here before (yawn...JUST KIDDING!) and Milena is a new face to OpCleve (but she's originally from Canton so not a stranger to NE Ohio).

The fun is just beginning.

Speaking of fun (I'm clever with the segues, eh?), make sure to mark your calendars for Tuesday, June 2. We've got a Meet the Cast event at Joseph-Beth Booksellers! FREE FREE fun.


May 14, 2009


This week, in my ongoing efforts to understand EVERY aspect of Opera Cleveland, I hovered around our Development Analyst/Special Events Coordinator, Brett DeHaven.

Brett starts her day by processing any donations we've received. By donations, I mean checks not non-perishable food items (though I don't think we're above that.) She enters any gifts into our donor software and then our accounting software. (Why make things simple??!)

Me: Hey, isn't it easier to process a $500 check than a $50 check?
Brett: Whaa...oh, YES. Much, much easier.

Afterward, we sent out thank you letters (because we are DANG thankful for any donations.)

And, now for something completely different...because, remember, everyone who works at the opera actually does about three jobs rolled into one. I helped Brett work on an event she is organizing, titled "How Do They Do That?" (Even though this sounds SUSPICIOUSLY like the title of this blog post series.) On June 25, as a thank you to donors who have given $100 or more, we have a cool backstage tour of Falstaff planned. Brett works on some of the logistics of the event--sending out invitations, etc, etc.

But WAIT...there's more.

Brett also acts as a liaison to our Impresario Society (our donors who give significant leadership gifts that sustain us). So, we did some ticket exchanges for some of the members, as seen here.

(BTW, she is a blonde here, but that changes as often as Cleveland weather.)


May 12, 2009


Our 2010-2011 Season:

Lucia di Lammermoor
by Gaetano Donizetti

The Pearl Fishers
by Georges Bizet

I Pagliacci
by Ruggero Leoncavallo
& La voix humaine
by Francis Poulenc

by Jules Massenet

Yes, that's four titles! Having four productions bridge the gap so we can transition into a winter-spring season. There's some other cool changes to next season. You can read about them here, along with more info about the titles.

I'm stoked.


May 11, 2009


It has been a busy few days here at the OpCleve. All for good reason; we're on the cusp of officially announcing our next season.

(I can just hear you drawing in breaths of anticipation.)

Now I can't give away the chicken coop, but I will tease you a bit with some words in our descriptions:

  • Riveting bel canto
  • Lurid, emotional turmoil
  • Cleveland premiere
  • French
  • Evocative choreography
  • Save up to 60%
Oooh, goose bumps, I tell you. To connect the dots, stop by tomorrow for the big reveal!


May 7, 2009


In preparation for announcing our next season, we've been doing some reading. And I can't believe I hadn't yet discovered The Grove Dictionary of Opera. It deserves one hearty OMG.

Dictionary is actually a feeble word for the collection of four volumes. It's an encyclopedia. Over 5,000 pages cover more than 1,800 operas and 2,900 composers.

One might think that reading an encyclopedia would be dull, but one would be WRONG. It's honestly difficult to restrict my research because it's so easy to get sidetracked.

I may let down my peeps but this chicken ain't going out this weekend--got some reading to do.


May 5, 2009


After nearly a year with the opera (and by virtue of my demanding curiosity), you'd think there was no place I haven't seen at the theatre. But no. There are still places to discover and new stories to tell you fair readers. (It's my job security--that and the fact that I DON'T get paid.)

During The Barber of Seville, I finally made it up to "The Booth" (aka BFE). A fabled place no more.

You know the surtitles that are projected above the stage? This is where they are controlled, by the able-bodied Henry on a wee laptop.

The booth is also where the follow spot lives. (See the stage WAY below in the photo? That's how far away the booth is. It might as well be across the street. Seriously. I got woozy from the height. And I'm a BIRD.)

Here's the light board, which controls the lights. (Duh.) It sorta looks like a '70s computer (minus the polyester-clad users).

On the catwalk, yeah. I shake my little tush on the catwalk.


May 1, 2009


My little-known arch nemesis Opera Pineapple:

The terror was short-lived:

Muori dannato! Muori!