Friday, January 30, 2015

The Far Side of the Curtain

"Overture!  Curtain, Lights!
This is it, our night of nights
No more rehearsing or nursing a part
We know every part by heart..."  - B. Bunny, et al

Since last Friday, Fenya has spent every night except Sunday rehearsing 6:30 to 10:30 at the Jubilee Auditorium from for her part as Spirit #2 in the Edmonton Opera Company's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute.  This is addition to the costume fittings and technical sessions required by such an undertaking.

Makeup, costumes, choreography; she even had to sign a waiver acknowledging the risk inherent of being on a stage where pyrotechnics (!) are in use, and all of this before a single note is sung.

It's been as taxing as you might expect, but every night when I pick her up from the stage door of the Jube, she has a smile on her face and a story to tell about what transpired that evening.  The other castmembers have been very nice to her and her two fellow choristers playing Spirits #s 1 & 3, and they have been nicknamed Vodka, Cognac and Scotch (Fenya is Cognac).

The vast majority of my thimble-sized operatic knowledge is derived from either vintage Warner Bros. cartoons or depictions within other movies, such as The Untouchables using I Pagliacci to help Sean Connery win his Oscar, so I have been reading the summaries and director's notes on the EO Co. website to keep from going in completely blind.  I had no idea that The Magic Flute is full of references and imagery relating to Freemasonry, and that the initial production may have contributed to that order being banned in Austria.  Certainly, repeated references to the number three and a quest for enlightenment is likely to bring to mind certain conspiratorial organizations, but back in the day, this was sufficient motivation to have the monarchy take a dim view of all this sort of power sharing nonsense.

The director has opted for sets and costumes that suggest an Indo-Asiatic pop-up book, with some ambitious staging (and pyrotechnics!), so I am quite excited to see how it all comes across in the auditorium tomorrow night.  Thursday's dress rehearsal was presented to an audience at a discount which seems like a great idea, and went off without a hitch.

The Edmonton Journal also did a preview article yesterday talking about the Bollywood inspirations and the overall youth of the cast.  Fenya showed me a YouTube video in a series called Opera Cheats, in which her production's Queen of the Night (Teiya Kasahara) summarizes the tragic Madama Butterfly in a humorous and succinct fashion.

I wonder if all those years of Three Stooges and Bugs Bunny references have helped remove some of the starch from the opera crowd?

Regardless, I am glad the experience has been so good for Fenya and her choirmates, and I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow when the curtain goes up; I'm certain that the heights will indeed be hit.

UPDATED: Edmonton Opera Company has released a little preview video (and yes, you can see Fenya in it briefly...)


1 comment:

  1. Fenya and the girls have been doing a fantastic job at the Jube! It's lovely to watch them rock the stage as a proud Cantilon alumni.