Nov 25, 2009

O is for OPERA

Muppets have been very good to opera, and I offer a belated birthday wish to Sesame Street with some clips of opera on the show:

Marilyn Horne loves cookies:

Denyce Graves gets buggy:

Nov 23, 2009


Because Thanksgiving is nigh, what better time to express our gratitude to our patrons? You're why we're here, and don't think we forget that.

A particular thanks to everyone who filled out our recent online Patron Survey (there's still a chance to fill out if you like). The comments run the gamut in such surveys, as people's opinions vary so wildly. It is IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone, though the company tries to make decisions based on the majority's recommendations. So it's encouraging and energizing for us to read the overwhelming amount of positive responses in this survey. Here's a few comments:

"I attended opera as child in New York City. Attended as patron in Milwaukee. Same in Washington DC. I found that Opera Cleveland was high enough quality, compared to NYC Opera, Milwaukee, Washington DC, to be very worthwhile to attend."

"There is a nice mix of warhorses and lesser-performed works and we realize that our subscription does not cover the cost of putting the performances on--we don't want to lose opera in Cleveland--so we do what we can to support, which is to subscribe!"

"It was a while before I could afford to be a subscriber, but now I feel a part ownership and responsibility to assist in making the company go. I find it such a pleasure to introduce others to this wonderful company and this art that speaks to one's inner self."

"The quality of the OC programs has been steadily improving in the areas that really matter: voices of the soloists, direction of--and performance by--the orchestra, and overall program direction and staging. All are important and all have improved. We are hopeful that the vocalists engaged will continue to raise the bar over time."

"I am constantly amazed at the new insights that the directors and designers bring to each production, even to works we think we know. This and the opportunity to experience works in the flesh we have just read about makes this company exciting."
Thank you!

Nov 19, 2009


Although our last production has been over for almost two weeks now, the office has still been crazy. There's been chorus auditions, Music! Words! Opera! teacher trainings, year-end mailings and all that important financial stuff William does.

So I think it's a fine time for some moments of zen.

Watch a clip of our Falstaff production Benny Hill-ified. Hil-frickin'-arious. Trust me, it won't let you down. (Unless you try to watch it in Internet Explorer, in which case it probably won't work.)


Eric from Opera Columbus was in the office this week. Look what a snappy dresser he is!


On a sad note, the creepy baby figurines in the office witnessed a massacre the other night. Fortunately, the only victim was a bottle of Charles Shaw wine. (This is what happens when wine is opened with a pair of scissors. Children, don't try this at home.)

Nov 18, 2009


A few weeks ago, The Met opened a Zeffirelli production of Puccini's Turandot, and just who stepped in at the last minute to sing the role of the princess? Lise Lindstrom, who sang the role in Cleveland in 2005. (Seen in the photo to the left.) She also sang Salome for Opera Cleveland in 2007.) She was scheduled to sing the role a couple weeks later, but her Met debut came early.

Not only did she sing it, sister, she received a standing ovation.

Tonight theaters across the nation are re-broadcasting Turandot, with Maria Guleghina (the soprano Lindstrom stepped in for). Check out info about the Met HD broadcast.

Nov 13, 2009


With the 2009 season concluded, it's a good time to get organized, clean out the coop...and survey our patrons.

We have a quick, anonymous survey online here. So let us know what you think--and feel free (I repeat: FEEL FREE) to tell Opera Cleveland you want more Chicken with your opera. ;)


Nov 10, 2009

Don Giovanni went to hell and
all I got was a lousy tee-shirt.

Another show done and gone. But not before I had to get up early on Sunday and help strike the set.

Thankfully, I had company. (Like Production Intern Extraordinaire Andrew in the background there, likely doing something extraordinary.)

Assistant Stage Manager Erin, who is not, btw, rolling up toilet paper here. This is the ribbon from the may pole in Don Giovanni.

Set, schmet. I came to think of this platform as my personal dance floor. Recits are always good for crumping.

Nov 5, 2009


I was starting to write a post today when my handler Lisa literally pushed me aside. With the pent-up angst that could only belong to a former English major, she declared, "I'm writing the post today; I've been doing some thinking." (Translation: I don't have enough minutiae in my life to analyze, so I'm going to extend it Don Giovanni.) I'm indulging her, so here ya go:

Don Giovanni is One Bad Dude. That much is clear. But unlike other Bad Dudes central to a story (i.e. Don Draper of Mad Men), the opera Don Giovanni doesn't ask us to delve into why he is so bad. It's not because his parents abandoned him or a love lost permanently scarred his heart. No, he is just bad--and he has no compunction whatsoever about it.

This opera is not about Don Giovanni. It is about the characters and world around him. Director John Hoomes meant for the production to offer up Don Giovanni as a mirror to those around him. His blatant sexuality serves to liberate the other characters' true feelings.

I feel the production challenges us to consider the validity of the superficial moral parable. Is he dragged to hell because he will not repent his sins? Or does his descent represent the other characters' inability to accept the true feelings Don Giovanni elicits from them, and they must bury him in defense?

We can add to our interpretation(s) by considering the context in which Don Giovanni was written. Mozart wrote the opera during the Enlightenment, which advanced the rejection of convention and church, valuing the primacy of the individual. Don Giovanni stands up for himself, but society cannot handle it.

Don Giovanni opens the door not just to hell but to our minds.

Ok, that's enough out of her. But some interesting points to ponder, I admit. Do some deconstructing of your own--we've got one more performance this Saturday night.

Nov 2, 2009


I'm still recovering from a weekend of opera--and the celebrating that ensued. But it's nice to wake up to a good review, and that's just what I did on Sunday.

Among other kind words about Don Giovanni, Plain Dealer reporter Don Rosenberg writes:
"Hoomes’ observations often are so intriguing and funny, the stage pictures so enchanting – the contrast between modern designs and period costumes works well – and the musical values so strong that the splendor of Mozart and librettist Lorenzo da Ponte’s achievement comes leaping from stage and pit."
Read the full review here.


It's Monday, and I know what you do on Mondays. You take ample YouTube and FaceBook breaks. We've got some YouTube-esque videos up at Fox8. We gave our Don Giovanni cast a camera, and, surprisingly, they didn't give it back to us with anything above a PG rating. (They call themselves opera singers! Pshaw!) Between what they captured and some footage from our Meet the Cast event, the videos give you a glimpse at the singers' lives.

Check out the videos here. (They are along the right-hand side of the page.)


Singer and Oberlin student Cree Carrico came to our opening night. She's still busy blogging here. I daresay I chuckled at the title of her most recent blog: The most terrifying two words in the English language: musical theatre.


Reminder to Wagner fans: There's a Wagner Symposium this coming weekend in Canton. Learn more here.