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.