PDX OPERAbeat | A Company Blog is the blog for all things Portland Opera, featuring a variety of guest contributors who will provide insider's tidbits on all we do to celebrate the beauty and breadth of opera.
Jess Crawford is our primary blogger.
Jess spends much of her time eating enormous amounts of cake, making long lists of books she'll probably never read, and challenging people to arm-wrestling contests.
During the day (and sometimes at night) she is Portland Opera's music librarian.
She writes more about her escapades at her personal blog: http://bravissimi.blogspot.com
Rehearsal notes are sent daily from the stage manager to all of us in production who may need to make changes during the rehearsal process -- these might be changes to the set, the electrics, the costumes, the props, the sheet music, the makeup, or more. Here's a sample:
Costumes 1. The Count (David Pittsinger) removes one shoe onstage. 2. The Count puts Marcellina's veil on her onstage -- it will need combs or something to make this singer-proof.
Props 1. Please ADD a shoe horn. 2. Please ADD a hip flask. 3. Please ADD 6 rifles with carrying straps. 4. Please ADD a large bouquet for Cherubino. It should be weeds/wildflowers and not too pretty.
Really Awesome News
Last Sunday, October 9, our very own Caitlin Mathes, POSA mezzo, won the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions! The MONC auditions, held once a year, exist to discover young talent, to provide a venue for young singers from all around the country to be heard by a representative of the Metropolitan Opera, and to find the next new talent for the Metropolitan Opera and the Met Opera's Lindemann Young Artist program.
Caitlin shares the win with Albert J. Glueckert, tenor. Both singers reeceived $1,500 and will advance to the next round of auditions, to be held in Seattle in January. Winners of the Seattle auditions will move on to the semi-final round, held at the Metropolitan Opera in April.
We are so proud of all our POSAs who auditioned, and congratulations, Caitlin!
Overheard in the Office
"I've been working on my tenor sob. I'm holding a master class: Italian verismo sobbing. I'm very good."
Misadventures on the Stage
Our first POSA soprano, Amber Opheim, is currently in Europe on a Fulbright (as we reported earlier here). At the moment, she is performing Hello, Dolly! (the German language version) with Musiktheater Vorarlberg in Austria. She sent me this dispatch over the weekend -- a good example of why we take safety so seriously in the theater business. And also a good indication of where the phrase "The Show Must Go On" comes from:
"About 10 minutes into the opening night performance last night I fell into a hole backstage about 1.5 meters deep. Why anyone had the lights off in a room with a 5 foot hole in it is beyond me. One leg fell in, the other stayed up high, twisting the knee and slamming it hard. They pulled me out of the mysterious pit, at which point I nearly blacked out from shock, so they stopped the performance for 10 minutes, scared the audience with a cryptic message about how they weren't sure what was going to happen to me, and called the ambulance, which I was directed to send away because if they were allowed to see me they had to take me to the hospital. I ate a large chocolate covered pretzel, drank a gallon of water, and told them as soon as I stopped shaking and sweating that we were gonna do the performance. The crowd roared. In German.
I hobbled through all the dance scenes and up and down the fancy staircase on painkillers in granny shoes and was rewarded at the afterparty with much applause, thanks, and champagne."
Amber is awaiting an MRI, and continues to go on with performances! As for the show, she says, "My childhood dreams of balloons falling from the ceiling just like on America's Funniest Home Videos are finally realized."
Relatedly: GD's Choice
In a recent conversation, Chris Mattaliano and I got talking about the dance that Amber, Kendra Herrington (former POSA mezzo) and I choreographed in 2007 for the slave dance -- the scene in which Papageno, using his magic bells, enchants Monastatos and his cronies, who had captured him -- in the middle of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Chris wondered if we had a video of it. We do. When you run an opera company, sometimes you get to make special requests for the blog.