In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Curtain Call

May 5, 2011 5:06:00 PM
By BLO Staff

It’s been a great year with The BLO Bunch of varied
and beautiful opera, not to mention the opportunity to meet new people. It was
also a lot of fun to go to the opera with three friends who were relatively new
to the experience (I think all three asked what they should wear for the
occasion), who I would like to recognize here for taking a chance on opera, and
for joining me in the schlep from Providence to Boston.

Puccini’s Tosca, November 2010—Maggie, my former roommate and a highly cultured journalist, joined
me to see her first professional opera. Tosca, in all its full-blooded
passion, makes a great first opera. The BLO production, updated to Fascist
Italy in the 1940s, was a new setting that married very well with the original
context of the work, and was perfectly understandable even for a first viewing
of the opera. Maggie thought Jill Gardner in the title role was outstanding,
and Bradley Garvin rather dashing for such a nefarious villain.

The Emperor of Atlantis, February 2011—my date for the evening, Alena, had seen very little opera—we became
friends when she played Miles (a role usually given to a boy soprano) in my
production of The Turn of the Screw. We sat square in the front row, and we both
agreed that David Schweizer’s production was the most exciting theater we’d seen
in a long time—the show turned the image of conventional opera on its head. However,
only afterward did Alena learn about the incredible, improbable history of how
the opera came into being—the score written in the concentration camp at
Terezin, hidden from the Nazis, re-created decades later with the help of a
spiritual medium, and finally coming into its own in the operatic repertoire in
recent times.

Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, May 2011—I brought my friend Andrew to
last night’s show, another singer and actor friend who has performed opera, but
never seen a professional production. Fortunately, the Shakespearean text of
Britten’s opera formed a convenient lens for understanding the production, and
the striking visuals of the production stood on their own. Afterward, we went
to The BLO Bunch after-party at Jacob Wirth for some outstanding fried pickles.
I love bringing people to the opera, and I think
they’ll all be back.
And, well, that’s the season.  Join The BLO Bunch next year, and come see
what’s up with all the fuss about opera, because there’s been more than 400
years worth (and counting.)

-- Audrey Chait, Brown University

Topics: Opera Annex, Student Posts, A Midsummer Night's Dream, General Opera, The Emperor of Atlantis, Tosca

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