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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.


Welcome back, blog readers! The blog has taken a brief hiatus so that I could catch my breath after Galileo Galilei Because PHEW, people.

We are in the middle of our second week of rehearsals for Bernstein's Candide! The artists arrived early last week and have been locked in the rehearsal room ever since. (We do occasionally let them out for snacks). The chorus is having a fabulous time -- they have a huge and absolutely hilarious role in this show -- and the rest of us can't wait to see it! We head into the Keller on Thursday to begin rehearsing there.

Excerpts from the Candide rehearsal notes
- We are using the silver paper nose for Pangloss, not the laminated one.

- Please put a larger wrist loop on the billy club.

- Please bring the gym mats to Keller - for catching sheep as they are thrown offstage.

- A total of 2 death warrants per show are used.

- The sparkle necklace takes a small amount of light onstage abuse - pulled off, etc.

- Please ADD pom pom hats and pink armbands for Jan and Matt. A total of 6 people wear pink armbands and pom pom hats.


As I'm sure you've gathered over the course of the season, I really love the rehearsal notes. I always find them unintentionally funny, and they serve as a great, offbeat sort of summary of what's going on downstairs. (And occasionally there are rehearsal notes directed at me, usually about something in the music we're cutting or restoring). This week I thought I'd introduce you to the person who writes the rehearsal notes -- our Production Stage Manager, Jennifer Hammontree. The PSM does more duties than I can possibly name; along with the assistant stage managers, she keeps track of the blocking of everyone on stage, makes sure anything that's needed in rehearsal is there (including costume pieces, props, and set pieces), creates (in collusion with the director) the entire rehearsal schedule, acts as a contact person for our artists while they're in residence, helps with one billion technical aspects of every show, and, of course, calls all the stage cues during performances -- cues which include artist entrances, scene shifts, lighting cues, sound effects, etc. That's just the tip of the iceberg. It's a big, crazy, scary job, which she is awesome at.

Since Jennifer is the person who initially suggested I use the Proust questionnaire, today she is answering it herself!


Jennifer Hammontree

Jennifer Hammontree, Portland Opera Production Stage Manager

What is your chief characteristic?
Big Hair

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
That they are my friends

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Could someone remind me of the virtues?

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
 My inability to choose a "favorite" anything.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
An endless supply of books, music, champagne and friends to share them with.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
In spite of years of torturing my teeth into perfect position via braces, they have developed gaps and wiggles that shall not be tamed.

Where would you like to live?
In a treehouse.  A very swanky treehouse. With indoor plumbing (see below).

What is your idea of misery?
Port-o-potties (AKA Honey Buckets)

What is your favorite journey?
Don't Stop Believin'

What is your favorite food and drink?
Bacon and champagne - although not together.

What is your most treasured possession?
My health

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

How do you wish to die?
I don't wish it at all.

What is your favorite motto?
Oh dear, I don't think we can print that one.  My mom might read this…..