First off, June Anderson, the diva of our opera is not fat. She is beautiful; gorgeous even and the true epitome of a “Norma”. Now, I know I said I’d not prattle on about Norma anymore … but … well, it’s my xanga and I lied so though. This will be the last time, honest.
Stage Door Pass no more
Some other interesting opera-related things:
- Last Act, Scene 3 Mullings – in this act I wandered around with my big COC prop spear and then had to wander to the rear of the stage and stand there while Norma and Pollione chatter their last love duet before mounting the fire pyre to their deaths. The Director wants us totally still during this 8 minute interlude (which is quite a task considering the heat on stage [with lights], the canterlevered stage we’re standing on and the fact I’m like inches away from the backdrop [a black nylon screen]). Anyway, during this time each night I focussed on this white thread stuck to the backdrop which was shaped in a letter “S”. I played a word game thinking of related words that started with “s” … I kept coming back to these:
- sex and safety;
- sanity is sacred;
- sorry is salvation; and,
- On Stage Antics – you’d be amazed (as a member of the audience) as to what’s actually happening on stage at times while you’re being all puffed-up and stoic watching an opera. We spend a great deal of our time – especially when a large group of folks are out on stage – trying to make each other laugh. A sure sign of success is when you see everyone on stage turning around to face the rear of the stage. This is done not only to allow a focus on the principals or to feign idle chatter among the chorus related to what the principals are singing about, but to hide the grins and smiles on our faces.
- Audience vs. on stage – I never cease to be amazed at the interplay between audience and those on stage. It remains an amazing symbiotic relationship … when we feel the audience is ‘on’ (so to speak) I believe we ‘put out’ (so to speak) a better performance.
- Green Room – I shall not miss the green room at the Hummingbird with its circa 1960s interior and accourtements. Cribbage is the game of choice while waiting for your cue to be called by the Stage Manager, and a great deal of educational tv is watched (when the Leafs or Jays are not playing that night).
- No Mics – next time you see a Mirvish show, think microphones. Without fail, actors in these shows are miked. Then when you see an opera, remember no one is miked. The voice you hear is the singer’s voice projecting into the space, filling it with sound. Opera singers are utter professionals with voices as well tuned as any other instrument. I cannot begin to explain what an awesome experience it is to be on stage next to them as they perform.
- The voice – June’s voice is so strong that, in Act 2 when she is singing with the children in her lap, she actually covers their ears because her voice is could cause damage to their young ears. On this note as well, the kids not once knew she had a dagger with her, which is probably best.