After a summer of traveling, seeing a variety of operas, meeting with fellow producers and agents, and attending a multitude of receptions (with a few too many glasses of wine), we at Opera Philadelphia are back in the midst of doing the thing I love the most – PRODUCING OPERA!
Cast of Nabucco meeting the Academy of Music for the first time
For the past three weeks, our 72-voice strong chorus has been rehearsing for NABUCCO, which will open the Philadelphia cultural season on September 27th. Last week, the production’s principal cast of gifted singers, as well as its talented director/designer Thaddeus Strassberger, arrived and the creative process of bringing the many components that go into producing an opera have begun. This is such an exciting time! With a cast this large it is a bit like a watching a small village come together in preparation for some kind of celebration. Few realize how many people it takes to bring an opera to the stage. You need all these artistic resources and more: singers, musicians, scenic artists, wardrobe artists, technical experts, stage manager, production team, and stage hands. Each contributes his or her own unique skills, and together, they all work towards that ever-approaching deadline of opening night! No extra rehearsal time, no second takes, no edits in Photoshop are possible – the show must go on. All of this effort coalesces in the moment when the audience takes its seat and the artists take the stage and together, they join in a true act of community. You see, we live in a world that provides a multitude of ways to connect with others. However, rarely are those connections fully realized. What I mean by this, is that we seldom get to experience things together, using all of our senses; those senses that make us human - our eyes, our ears, our bodies – this is the very essence of a social experience. During an opera, when it works, our humanity and extreme human performance are brought together in one giant moment of sharing which is only heightened by the risks that are inherent in live performance. This is what makes this week so very exciting. It begins the process of building such a community to share in an experience that is bigger than any one of us.
Check out this video – this what I’m talking about….
Next up – a report from the FringeArts Feastival which I will be attending on Thursday night and some production notes about NABUCCO.