Liveblogging Opera Cleveland’s Falstaff Dress Rehearsal

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.