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Monday, July 11, 2011


Brevard 2011 is quickly coming to an end. Okay -- so we have 4 shows and a concert still to perform between now (July 11) and the last day (August 6), but we're already half-way through the 8 week program.

Time is FLYING!

La Traviata was a massive success -- audiences raved, patrons were thrilled, the faculty and students who came to see it loved it (a bunch of them leaving in tears), the cast, chorus, orchestra, and crew who performed it did an exemplary job, and David and I were proud. We (David and I) also did a great job -- He directed, I conducted. From time to time, it's important to give yourself some credit and a pat on the back. Outside of needing more rehearsal time (and where is there a place that's not true?), it was one of the best opera productions I've been a part of anywhere -- YES, anywhere!

A number of our colleagues who work in professional opera companies couldn't believe the quality was so high - as in the quality of singing, of music-making, of the chorus, of the costumes, of the set design, etc. We even had two Violettas, who had to split all of the rehearsal time between them. The standard is now set VERY high!

3 Penny Opera is in tech right now (Anthony/Burrier), H&G is almost staged (Gately/Lam), Elixir started coaching today (with Andrew Bisantz, who's on campus now and all of us are SO pleased!), and Alcina had 4 hours of staging in the 95 degree heat. I melted today trying to stage Alcina.

Alcina at Brevard: it's a remounting of the Opera McGill production that I did four years ago during my first year up in Montreal. The set design, by Vincent Lefevre, is being re-produced here in Brevard, and the costumes are being shipped down from Quebec. I'm having to go through my old score and re-create the staging -- in a differently shaped theatre space. Aria Umezawa, who has been my assistant director at McGill for the past three years, has watched the archival dvd of the McGill production to get the blocking (and wow has she done a great job!), but the show will be different.

I'm a different director now -- particularly with Handel (Alcina was my first Handel opera that I directed). Plus our space here is shaped differently and I'm going to have to accommodate that. Finally, I want to make sure that my ideas still hold and work with a different casts' bodies and voices. That's really important to me, as otherwise the show will only echo something instead of being it's own universe.

If I (and the cast) can handle the heat this week, we'll be in good shape. Tomorrow we start Tai Chi lessons with a local master here in Brevard. Should be fun!