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About PDX OPERAbeat

Name

Jess Crawford

Bio

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

What a week!


Our 2014 Portland Opera To Go tour is now in full swing! Check out this dispatch from our Mimì, Andrea Flores. Click here to learn more about the Portland Opera To Go program, and here to find out where you can see a performance of La Bohème!

 

Andrea Flores (Mimì) with tenor Yoni Rose (Rodolfo) in Portland Opera To Go's La Bohème. © Portland Opera / Pat Moran

    

What a week! In addition to a final dress rehearsal and two performances of La Bohème, we managed to squeeze in Opera Improv rehearsals (yes, a very busy week, but fun nonetheless).


Our first performance took place at Tualitin High School, which, by the way, has an amazing auditorium that made me wish I could've gone to school there. The students were very sweet and, to my surprise, absolutely moved by our performance. In fact, after the show, a number of them came to our dressing room (teary-eyed, I might add) to express how much they loved our story. I love how our art form can tap into human emotions at any age.


Our second performance, which took place at the Mountain Park Recreation Center, was, perhaps, the highlight of my week (not because of the performance, but because of what happened afterward). Again, we were blessed with a very nice performance space, and an enthusiastic audience. I had to keep myself from laughing during my aria because I noticed that all the children in the front row covered their ears after I sang the first high note! I enjoyed hearing the laughter in the opening scene, the hooting and hollering during Rodolfo and Mimì's first kiss, and the silence during the final scene. My favorite moment of this particular night, however, was after the show when we were loading the set back into the truck. Kevin (Bertin) and I happened to be standing next to each other when a young African-American woman and her 12-year old daughter approached us. She expressed how we'd taken them both on an emotional journey and how exciting it was to see people of color on that stage (Kevin is African-American and I am Mexican-American) because "it really makes a difference." Her comment made me realize the importance of diversity; when minority children see performers who look like them on stage, they feel more connected to the story.


Other non-opera related highlights from last week include: discovering the vintage shops on Hawthorne Boulevard, the Produce Row Cafe, and Zumba at the LA Fitness Signature Club on Weidler Street. I'm excited for Opera Improv and looking forward to see what this week has in store for us.

— Andrea Flores