In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Backstage with John Mac Master - That's a wrap!

Feb 4, 2011 6:22:00 AM
By BLO Staff

It all comes together!
Well friends, if you’ve been following these posts, you’ve travelled along this journey from our arrival in snowy Boston on January 9th, to the snowy morning of February 3rd, the morning after our second performance.
I’m thrilled to report that the show has come together beautifully, and as is sometimes the case – but is always our hope – the piece is more than the sum of all our efforts – at least according to the feedback we are getting from our audiences, and from the lovely early reviews.
It’s a long process from being engaged for a project like this – usually more than a year ahead of time, to finding and purchasing a score of a work like this one, off the beaten track and new to most of us. Then came learning the notes and trying to make sense of the story, and lots of e-mails and conversations about the piece before we even arrived here.
You read the accounts of our rehearsals; tech week was the usual challenge of ironing out all the little details, and adding the orchestra. Then came dress rehearsal with a small audience present….Then opening! Lots of excitement; and though the house was sold out, some empty seats since folks could not all get here because of the storm….But the performance felt right; it felt real and authentic….and the more than 100 people who stayed behind to discuss the piece with the cast and production team after each of our first two performances showed that our audience is sophisticated, they understood what we were trying to portray, and they had an insatiable appetite to know more about the work, its genesis, the conditions in the camps, who Viktor Ullmann and Petr Kien were….
After the opening we were able to spend some time with Board members and donors, and to see their commitment to BLO and the Opera Annex program. Last night after performance number 2 we gathered with a large group of young adults, mostly university students – part of The BLO Bunch – at a nearby bar, and were struck by their enthusiasm for opera and this performance. At both events people commented on how moved they were, how engaged they were by the drama, and how much they enjoyed experiencing opera in a small venue, and the intimacy of it all.
I have to tell you how heartening this is, when we see audiences respond in this fashion to some of our “edgiest” work…..Congratulations to the vision of Esther Nelson, General and Artistic Director of BLO – and the support of her Board and donors – in making this show a reality…..And congratulations to all my colleague performers and production team who once again have taken mere words and notes on a printed page, and made them come to life once more.
- John

Topics: Opera Annex, Backstage at BLO, The Emperor of Atlantis

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