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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Boheme Reflections

Opera McGill's production of La Boheme is now history. History is the right word for the four performances - as in all four of our performances were sold out!

It was a beautiful production - from the sets and costumes and lights to the wonderful performances by the both casts, the chorus and the orchestra. Julian Wachner gave beautifully crafted and moving musical direction and in all humility, I did a good job with this one from a staging perspective.

I loved the 2nd act - it was certainly a challenge to do it without a curtain to raise and have the entire chorus onstage ready to go for the first choral "AH!" It was also a joy to stage the 1st and 3rd acts back in November and December and then see them evolve a month later - what a GREAT idea!

I loved my bookends that ran throughout the show - Rodolfo starting the 1st and 4th acts with his feet on the table facing upstage; the parade down the center aisle at the top of the 2nd act which ended with a parade up the center aisle as the act ended; the first image of the show being a lit candle and then the last image being Colline blowing out the candle; Mimi's death taking place spatially on the spot where she and Rodolfo had first sat and expressed their private thoughts during their 1st act arias; plus there was the whole Vincent/Ginette set/costume color palette of Mimi in Pink and Musetta in Green being reflected on the walls of the garrett. The lighting cues were all timed beautifully and boy did the strings sound amazing!

I am very proud of this production and will hold it in my heart and memory for a long while! It's hard to let go. For some of the cast members, this was their last Opera McGill production. Some of these students started out with me during my first year here at McGill: singing in Albert Herring, some singing in the chorus of Cosi fan tutte or playing trees in Alcina and now there they were on the stage singing principal roles!

Boheme was the 14th opera I've produced, directed, or played in my 3 and 1/2 years here. That's a lot. I'm doing 12 operas in 2011 alone. I'm thinking that's too much and wonder how long I can keep going like this. It's worrisome to me, and to my family. Finding balance is now my focus - which leads me to Imeneo.

My production of Imeneo will try to answer a question that I think is at the heart of the piece:
What happens when people are thrown out of balance?
A hero becomes the villain, a rational woman becomes crazed, a poet loses his muse, a man loses his vision, and the unloved get desperate...

Imeneo opens March 25, 2011