The crew assembles the Rigoletto set
Rigoletto opens in nine days! For an opera company, nine days can seem like a long time. Right now the Company is busy preparing for Rigoletto and a flurry of activity can be found on the Lyric Theatre stage as the production takes shape.
Just a few days ago the crew began preparing the technical aspects of Rigoletto starting with hanging the electrics and scrims. The set for Rigoletto is from the New Orleans Opera Association. Because of the size of the Lyric Theatre, sets aren’t loaded in until all of the electrics and scrims are hung, so everything has to happen quickly on stage. After a day for hanging, the set in its many pieces was unloaded. The pieces are being assembled by the crew, quickly putting together what amounts to a giant 3-D puzzle. The good thing is that the crew has done this before, and even though they have never assembled this specific set, they will be finished with the main assembly by Friday.
Richard Paul Fink and Mary Dunleavy chat between photos
Because a part of the set has already been assembled it can be used by another part of the Company. Today, the marketing department held a photo shoot with two of the principal performers. With opera, the visual aspect is just as important as the audible aspect. Lighting, sets, costumes, wigs, and makeup are all part of the visual aspect. Being able to show the public as many of those aspects as possible helps portray an accurate visual of what to expect on stage. This photo shoot of Rigoletto (baritone Richard Paul Fink) and his daughter Gilda (soprano Mary Dunleavy) is in full costume on part of the set. The most dramatic images from the shoot will be used with advertising, and when combined with audio can give a quick summation of what the opera experience is like for both eyes and ears.
While sets are being assembled and cast members are posing for photos behing the curtain, Artistic Director Ward Holmquist rehearses with the orchestra in the pit. Rigoletto has a large orchestra so it is a tight fit in the pit. Each morning this week Maestro Holmquist and the orchestra will work their way through Rigoletto, focusing on one scene or act at a time. Did you know the orchestra only rehearses 2 times without singers before the final dress rehearsals?
By next week rehearsals will move from our Production and Education facility to the Lyric Theatre stage where full stagings with the orchestra and singers will begin.
Paul Horsley’s review of La Traviata was just posted on The Independent’s web site. Says he:
Mary Dunleavy so completely wrapped herself in the character of Violetta …. Her gestures, interactions, expressions — detailed yet sweeping, inviting yet tear-wrenching — were so deft that they did convey the text, to the point where I found myself ignoring the supertitles. Dunleavy, a veteran of this role in houses that include the Metropolitan Opera, sang with distinguished vocal craft and a chocolaty tone…
Many more kudos were given, especially to Chad Shelton (Alfredo), Lester Lynch (Germont), and Peter Dean Beck (scenic designer). Read the entire review here, and post your own thoughts by clicking the “comment” button below.
Posted in 2008-2009 Season
Tagged Chad Shelton, Edmonton Opera, La traviata, Lester Lynch, Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Mary Dunleavy, opera, Paul Horsley, Peter Dean Beck, The Independent, Verdi
Chad Shelton and Mary Dunleavy
Timothy McDonald’s review of La Traviata was just posted on the Kansas City Star‘s web site, and he had many positive things to say about the production. Says he:
There’s much to like about the opera and the production, with fine singing, good orchestral work, and of course, Verdi’s infectious tunes.
[Mary] Dunleavy graces the stage with a hearty soprano voice that has both power and subtlety … her voice was stunning — expressive and quite lovely. When the orchestra played softly in “Ah, fors’è lui” (“Ah, perhaps it’s him,”) her singing was sensitive and laden with emotion.
[Chad] Shelton employed a rich, resonant tenor sound that was consistent throughout all registers. He displayed a particularly fine ringing tone at the top of his range.
Some of the strongest moments in the evening were duets by Dunleavy and Shelton, particularly “Di quell’amor,” (“Of such a love.”) a melody that returns throughout the opera as a love theme.
Music director Ward Holmquist did a fine job with the orchestra. The opening orchestral music in Acts I and III, with the high-pitched strings was particularly well performed, and the sensitive stretching of musical phrases heightened the emotional intensity of the evening.
You can read the entire review by clicking here. Disagree with Mr. McDonald’s review? Or think he was too conservative? Share your own thoughts by clicking the “comments” button at the bottom of this post.
Posted in 2008-2009 Season
Tagged Chad Shelton, Kansas City Star, La traviata, Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Mary Dunleavy, opera, review, Tim McDonald, Timothy McDonald, Verdi, Ward Holmquist
A photo from the final rehearsals of La Traviata to whet your appetities for the live performance. More can be found on our flickr page.
Mary Dunleavy as Violetta
Director of production Tracy Davis and director of design and technical production Keith Brumley recently took some time out of their schedules to preview the upcoming production of La Traviata. Enjoy part two of their preview.
Posted in 2008-2009 Season, Backstage
Tagged Andrew Harris, Benjamin Hilgert, Chad Shelton, Jennifer Forte, Jonathan Stinson, Kathleen Belcher, Kathleen Smith Belcher, Keith Brumley, La traviata, Lester Lynch, Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Mary Dunleavy, opera, Sarah Burke, Scott Conner, Tracy Davis, Verdi
Check out the nice preview piece in today’s Kansas City Star highlighting our Violetta and director of La Traviata as working moms: http://www.kansascity.com/238/story/1069620.html
Mary Dunleavy and daughter during a break in rehearsals for La Traviata at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Posted in 2008-2009 Season
Tagged Daniel Belcher, Kansas City Star, Kathleen Belcher, Kathleen Smith Belcher, La traviata, Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Mary Dunleavy, mom, mother, Robert Trussell, Verdi, working mom, working mother
Wonder what the life of a professional opera singer is like? What it’s like to perform on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera? How a singer balances work and family?
Submit your questions for Mary Dunleavy, Violetta in the upcoming Lyric Opera production of La Traviata, by submitting a comment at the bottom of this blog post (or click the “comment” link). We’ll publish Ms. Dunleavy’s responses in March.