In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Musical men about town

Nov 4, 2011 3:02:00 PM
By BLO Staff

By David Angus, Music Director

Well, tonight’s the
opening of Macbeth–very exciting–and
we are all winding ourselves up for a high energy performance. The Dress
Rehearsal was a big success and the invited audiences were thrilled with it. First
Night is always quite a nervous affair, wondering if everything will go right
and if the audience will like it, but having such a good Dress Rehearsal sets
us up well and means that the nervous excitement should all be positive.

Meanwhile, life goes on,
and we are already getting going with the next project– The Lighthouse--in the background. We have been extremely lucky
that the composer, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, happens to be in the USA for a short tour at the moment, and is
spending nearly 3 days in Boston.
He lives on a remote island off the north of Scotland and is 77 years old, so
he doesn’t travel to the US very often any more. He will be attending Macbeth tonight, but I spent most of
yesterday with him.
We began with a visit to
the JFK Memorial Library, where we will perform his Lighthouse, and we showed him around and explained why we had
chosen that location. I interviewed him (you will be able to see this on our
website) and we caught up with each others' news.  We had worked together many years ago at
Glyndebourne Opera and had also crossed paths at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra
a few times. We also both studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and both
began our careers as music teachers in schools, so we have a lot of common
The view of Boston from Smith Hall, our venue for The Lighthouse
  Sir Peter, or “Max” as we
all know him, is a remarkably sprightly man with a very alert mind, and he is
highly articulate, so talking with him is very stimulating. I found out many
new things about the opera, including several very spooky coincidences which
you will hear about on the interview. 
We visited the museum
while we were there and were taken back in time to our childhood memories by
all the history and artifacts of that time. It was a real nostalgia trip. When
JFK was assassinated I was an 8-year-old at boarding school in Cambridge,
and Max was studying over here at Princeton. We both remembered clearly hearing the awful
We travelled back into Boston for a lovely lunch
of Scallops at Legal Seafoods, where the waiter turned out to be a Musicology
Major from Harvard, who was thrilled to meet Sir Peter–what a coincidence!
The trip ended with a
visit to see the set for the Lighthouse
under construction in Cambridge,
and to have the model explained. Everyone is very excited about the whole
concept and it is really going to be a very strong show.
We finished the day with a
lovely dinner at the home of Esther Nelson, our General and Artistic Director,
with some VIP guests and a delicious meal cooked by her husband, Bernd. All in
all, a great way to relax before tonight’s big event!

Topics: behind the scenes, Boston, BLO staff, General Opera, macbeth, The Lighthouse

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