Liveblogging Opera Cleveland’s Falstaff Dress Rehearsal

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

I was invited, along with a bunch of other bloggers, to liveblog a dress rehearsal of Opera Cleveland’s Falstaff. Debbie is here with me and will be posting some updates while I run around like a certain opera chicken with my head cut off taking video and pictures. We’ve never been to an opera production before, and I’m looking forward to the performance and the rare behind-​the scenes access. Opera Cleveland is doing some great marketing here.

Here are some resources for the production:

The Production of Falstaff gets setup

6:31PM — True to Shakespearian tradition, the performers come to the stage from the audience, and don their costumes in front of everyone. Non of the performers are miked, so it is important that they have a powerful enough voice to fill the 3000 seat State theater.

7:16PM — Here’s the Falstaff libretto. I can’t record any video because Opera Cleveland has no agreement with the orchestra to do so. I also just missed a great silhouette shot. Uploading more pics to Flickr as we speak.

7:24PM — Dude Falstaff is trying to get with two girls at once without them finding out. Nice try. Women aren’t that dumb.

7:30PM — Props backstage have their own particular spots:

That’s Valerie, the stage manager:

Dressing rooms for the soloists:

7:34PM — All my photos are here. Here’s a shot where you can see the translated libretto up top.

First Intermission.

7:40PM — Debbie did a sketch of some of the costumes:

Falstaff Opera Cleveland Trivia — circa 150 lighting cues in the production.

7:53PM — Debbie here. Intermission’s over. I just asked the costume guy how the women are able to breathe so loud in apparently tight corsets. He tells me that their structure actually supports the lungs and diaphragm from below, making it easier to sing loud.

7:55PM — Alice has sent a messenger to dude Falstaff telling him to meet her secretly. “But I have another message for your worship!” Meg’s husband is seldom home.

8:10PM — Adam here. I just remembered that I saw a production of Die Zauberflöte when I was in college. So this isn’t my first opera. I really like the spare set-​design, lots of plain wood.

More Falstaff Cleveland Opera Trivia: The stage area and proscenium at the State Theater are the same size at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC.

8:19PM — Scene change! I have a feeling this pig is about to make his appearance:

8:26PM — I was wrong. The pig that appeared was Falstaff.

8:34PM — Everybody in this production is obsessed with who is doing or trying to do whomever. The stage is full of people. And the plot just thickened! About damn time Verdi/​Shakespeare.

8:46PM — Second Intermission is almost over. Finally got a good silhouette shot.

8:59PM — Looks like most of the action is on Twitter, but I found Kevin Cronin’s post about this at RealNEO.

9:05PM — I just realized that every tweet I send is also ending up as my Facebook status. Woops.

9:21PM — This production has some nice deep notes to it. A tapestry of a nymph being chased by a satyr was very apropos, and having Falstaff wear horns at Herne’s Oak makes a double point about cuckoldry and masculinity.

9:26PM — The baby-​sitter alarm is about to go off, so I’m going to wrap this up. This production was great fun to watch, with just the right amount of ornament, costuming and set design to make a non-​opera aficionado enjoy themselves. The plot is fairly light and comedic, the singing has been outstanding as far as I can tell, and the ending appears to be wrapping up quite nicely. The stuffed pig finally made its appearance too. I had a great time. If you decide to come on down to watch it yourself, I’m sure you will to.

Plus. the cast gets fairly close to naked at the end of the production.