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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.

Falstaff, take 2; or Meet the Staff: Bob Kingston



So.... last week I might have spent the majority of my free time either at the dentist (fun) or dealing with ongoing car repairs (more fun). Which is my sad way of saying that I didn't do so well on my Falstaff homework :(


<hangs head>


But that's okay because there's still nearly a month before we open! So let's all agree to actually read the Shakespeare this week. I did begin my concentrated listening but I only got through Act I. Man, I am lame.


Not Lame

So this week, instead of my Falstaff assignment, I bring you another Proust questionnaire! This round of Meet the Staff features Bob Kingston, our Resident Historian & Lecturer. If you've ever attended our pre-concert talks (both at the Keller and at the Newmark), you've encountered Bob "in the wild." You may also have seen him in our ongoing series of videos, aimed at giving viewers more info about each of our shows. Most recently (and most pertinent to my homework!) -- why aren't there any famous arias from Falstaff?



If you've been a Portland Opera-goer for awhile, you may have spotted Bob onstage, singing in our chorus, which he did for seven seasons. Or maybe you've seen him casually pumping iron while climbing Mount St. Helens.



(from our summit of the mountain last September)

Bob also teaches classes to our Resident Artists. In fact, he's probably the reason I came to like Orphée so much. (I used to sit in on those classes, but it's much harder to find the time these days.) Oh, AND both Bob and I attended the same library sciences program at Syracuse University, though not at the same time. Bob actually finished the program (in his 'other' life he is a reference librarian); I, on the other hand, am a library school dropout.


So, without further ado, here's Bob's take on the Proust questionnaire:


What is your current state of mind?




What is your chief characteristic?

I’m very punctual.



What do you value most in your friends?

Humor, intelligence, and generosity, as well as a love for Star Wars that borders on obsession.



What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Patience. Next question!



What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I overthink EVERYTHING!



What is the trait you most deplore in others?




What is your greatest extravagance?

Either my diamond-studded pickle fork or cable TV.



What historical figure do you most identify with?

Abraham Lincoln.



What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A big stack of books and time enough to read them.



If not yourself, who would you be?

Neil deGrasse Tyson.



Where would you most like to live?

San Francisco.



What do you dislike most about your appearance?

My broken nose.



What is your idea of misery?

Seafood restaurants.



Who are your favorite heroes in fiction?

Atticus Finch, Andy Dufresne, Sherlock Holmes, Ferris Bueller, Agent Coulson.



Who are your favorite heroines in fiction?

Lisbeth Salander, Hermoine Granger, Marion Ravenwood, Kaylee Frye, Valentine Wiggin.



Who are your favorite authors?

John Steinbeck, Dostoevsky, Roald Dahl, Graham Greene, David Sedaris, Craig Thompson.



What is your favorite journey?

Going downstairs every morning to get my first cup of coffee.



Who are your favorite composers?

Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, Duke Ellington.



What living person do you most despise?

Whoever gave the green light to cancel Firefly.



What is your greatest regret?

Je ne regrette rien.



What is your greatest fear?

Memory loss.



What superpower would you want?

I want ALL the powers! (But I promise to use them responsibly. Most of the time.)



If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?

I’d like to come back as something that’s both beautiful and useful, like a tree or decorative planter.



If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I really wish I didn’t always take things so personally.



What talent would you most like to have?

To sit down at a piano and play anything.



What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Stay tuned. The best is yet to come.



How do you wish to die?

Resting comfortably in my own home, surrounded by the people I love.



What is your motto?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

If you are interested in hearing more FROM Bob (rather than about him!), you can watch our whole series of Opera Insights videos here. And of course, you can catch his pre-performance talk one hour prior to each show, in the first balcony of the theater.


If you want extra credit, you can do homework on our own version of Falstaff here on our website.

From day one of Falstaff rehearsals:


Overheard in the studio: "We need to add a dirty skull."