The singers for the outreach arm of our company, Portland Opera To Go, have been in the building for the last couple of weeks, working hard in rehearsals. This year's touring production is an English-language version of The Magic Flute, cut down to about 50 minutes. The production, last used in 2005, features a giant 'pop-up book' as the main set piece, with all the things any self-respecting pop-up book should feature: things that slide out, open up, and unfold from its 'pages' -- including the dragon in the opening scene. As always with our outreach tour, the small cast of singers are responsible for everything on the road: packing up the set, loading it into the truck, driving the truck (and our passenger van) to whatever school or alternative venue they're visiting, unpacking the set, building the set on site, and so forth. They are a really special group of people, who are not only talented singers but also excellent educators and poised ambassadors for their craft (and this company). Some of them are local; the rest come from cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
I don't know what to tell you about this show, except that it is delightful. From the very opening bars, the show is utterly charming. POGO had its final dress rehearsal of this show on Friday, and we were all invited to attend. Some staff members brought their children, who not only got to sit right at the lip of the set to see the action up close -- they also got to participate in the final trials of Pamina and Tamino! Everybody giggled throughout, adults and kids alike. The show has hit the road, to perform over 80 times (!!) in the next 10 weeks. You and your family can see public performances of the tour when it comes home to The Hampton Opera Center on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23. Tickets are on sale now!
You can also follow the highs and lows of life on the road on the POGO blog!
Resident Artist Caitlin Mathes in recital
Our resident mezzo soprano, Caitlin Mathes, gives her second art song recital tomorrow! Caitlin has been quietly toiling away on the program since we began the season; the evening will feature works by Debussy and Poulenc, a Lieberson song cycle of truly gorgeous Rilke poems, and a selection of songs from a Dominick Argento song cycle based on (and written for) letters by Miss Manners. I got a preview of the recital on Friday, when Caitlin sat working in the music library, from time to time giving me dramatic recitations of the German poetry (complete with on-the-fly commentary about the poems). The music is exquisite and the recital promises to be a beautiful evening of music.
The recital takes place at Portland Art Museum's Whitsell Auditorium. I would say, "Hurry and get your tickets," but we've had a full house since last week! If you haven't gotten a ticket and are hoping to still get in, you can wait in line in the Whitsell lobby; any unclaimed tickets will be released at 6:55 PM, just prior to the start of the show.
As usual, I will be turning pages.
Tosca meet & greet
The Tosca cast has arrived! We had our Tosca meet & greet last Thursday. Everybody snacks on bagels and fruit and cheese and the cast tells us all about themselves. Did you know that Thomas Hammons (our Sacristan) and Kara Shay Thomson (our Tosca) live just a few miles from one another and attend the same church, but have never worked together until now? We heard an in-depth explanation of the plot of Tosca, as well as a short discussion about the draw of the show itself. Many members of this cast are making their debut here at Portland Opera, and we look forward to learning more about them as the weeks go on.
And Roger Honeywell, our Cavaradossi -- who was last here as Pinkerton in last year's Madame Butterfly -- had on a killer pair of pirate socks.
Next week: More from Tosca rehearsals, and the 2013-2014 season revealed! (It's SO GREAT. So great!)