"This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affectations glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn."


Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer OPERA - here we go!


*Attila* by Giuseppe Verdi
It's *Attila* the Hun and his hungry hoards! Sacking, pillaging, raping....look out!
Yes, dear friends... it's time for my seasonal report on the goings-ons, Front-of-House and Back-of House at San Francisco Opera!  It's where I have been for (almost) two weeks....with a little free time to see Marianne and to go to one Symphonic Concert yesterday, featuring my beloved Maestro and our SF Opera Orchestra.
Taken from the backstage camera as the stage crew changes sets from *Nixon in China* to *Attila*..  If you look really closely at the top left portion of the screen, you will see part of the "747" - life size - where the Nixons and Henry Kissinger deplane at Peking.  (Now, Beijing.)  I thought it was so amusing to imagine all the Huns deplaning and running a muck past all those impaled bodies,(next to the jet) to scale that mountain to the extreme right....

We have a real SUPERSTAR in the Opera World, Samuel Ramey, singing a small, but vital role in *Attila*...the Pope! 
Twenty years ago, he sang the lead in *Attila*.    Mr. Ramey has been an operatic legend, singing in starring roles for over 40 years.  I couldn't resist taking a few photos of his beautiful, richly embellished *Papal Robes* - plus his costume name tag.




Mostly, the costumes are war-like, armour....breastplates, swords, spears....you get it! It's a violent story!





Here's a clip....(not our production....but you get it)!  It's a HUGE opera....80 people in the chorus alone....and when you add in the Orchestra, the Principal Singers and the supers...it's close to 200!  Yikes!





Yep...*Attila* is killed at the end by a (gasp) WOMAN!  The deliciously-named "Odabella"!



Our second operatic offering is 180 degrees different.

*The Magic Flute* by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
One of the *Magical* Beasts that Tamino, our hero, summons with his Magic Flute!

This is a whimsical, yet often poignant and meaningful fantasy..... it happens to be the first piece of music by Mozart that moved me....made me * understand and appreciate his genius*....  this production is full of bright colour and will bring joy to all the audience. It is being done in English, rather than German and is sure to bring delight to children and first-time opera goers as well as * Veterans* like me!


The Poster for *Magic Flute*  Pretty, cool, eh?



A sketch showing the *Evil, Two-headed Snake* that attacks Tamino !

Here is the real snake, under construction.... I saw it on stage for the first time last Saturday....it is huge, operated by on-stage men, who manipulate the heads, jaws etc.
I love it!  Him?  Her?  It?  Them?


We have another renown Opera Singer in this cast...Nathan Gunn.   Here he is in his *Papageno* costume. He's a bird-like person, who catches birds for a living!


Some of the costume sketches for *Flute*


Tamino - the Prince


The *Queen of the Night*...the mother of the Princess.



Monostatos - the *Evil Villain*


The *Creatures of the Forest* who come to Tamino's Flute Call.

Here's a video of Tamino summoning the animals (in this production, they are all Bears), but you can see how sweet the music is!



Don't they remind you of some of Mim's creations?  They do to me....and 
I came across this Fish....really  a *Mim-Fish* for sure!  Hmm...Mim, perhaps you could start designing costumes for operas!





Our third Operatic offering - and my favourite production ... 


*Nixon in China* by John Adams
Nixon and Chairman Mao discuss the world situation.

The set for the final scene...taken by my friend, Ann, during a rehearsal last week.

This clip (also not our production, but the Met's from 2011) shows Madame Mao, protesting while the Nixons are at the Chinese Opera. I am not a big fan of John Adams Operas...  but I find this one extremely interesting.  I was very young when these events occurred in the 70's...and though the opera is not 100% factual, I found it powerful and moving.





Some of those *infamous* red starred- hats from the production.



One of the *Stars*.......oops,  that's Me!  A-ha-ha!  I couldn't resist trying on one of the hats!




So....there was your first Opera post from 2012....  I hope you enjoyed it! 
This week, we will be in *Final Dress Rehearsal* Mode....next week, it all begins for real!


Love,

♥ Robin ♥ 









27 comments:

  1. omgosh...I want those Pope Robes!!! (I think I missed my calling...I could have done that type of sewing, no problemo...)
    Sounds like a FULL SUMMER of drama and fun, and yes, the jet and impaled bodies are a funny combo!
    BRAVA!

    XXOO~~
    Anne

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    1. Anne....you COULD create some amazing costumes for Opera/Theater......hmmmm perhaps a new chapter in your already wonderful career?

      Oooh...I KNEW you would be amuse at the Jet next to the impaled bodies!

      Love,

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  2. I love how excited you sound posting this. You are really in your element, huh Robin?
    I will have to return here to experience the clips when I have more time.
    Love the Mim fish,,,and I wanna play the queen of the night. Bet I could do it. Well,,uhhh, if you didn't have to actually sing that is.

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    1. Babs....yes....I love being a part of SF Opera...You would make a wonderful *Queen of the Night*....but...I must tell you her arias are some of the most difficult - EVER - for a Soprano to sing....you should *Youtube* some to see!

      The *Mim-fish* is so adorable....will try for moe on-stage photos sooon!

      Love,

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  3. Oh wow Robin!! These look fab. And I love all the information and education. How I love to be there with you. I always liked opera but have found anyone to go with and enjoy them.

    The colors in The Magic Flute are to die for!'!!!!!!!!!!! Wowzers!!!!!M

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    1. Teri....too bad you spend Summers in WI...or we could meet in Santa Fe for their Summer Operas...it's the most magical outdoor theater for Opera - complete with Thunder, Lightning and gorgeous Sunsets!

      Love,

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  4. oh my gosh - opera season again! you look simply smashing in your standard issue communist chinese hat!! we just bought our tickets for carmen and look forward to it this coming sunday!!

    xoxo

    p.s. will there be swordfighting in any of these productions? hehe

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    1. Amanda..... dear Twin...I thought you might smile when you saw the hat! I HAD to try it on! I would have put on Sam Ramey's *Pope Leo* Ensemble too...but it was so heavy and long! Drat!

      You MUST tell me how you and your family like *Carmen*! Viva Carmencita!!!

      As to sword fighting this season...naah...just spears and scimitars! A-ha-ha!

      Love,

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  5. Looks like you are going to be busy. I think you should star in one of the shows. You fit right in with that hat. :)) Wish I like Opera but its fun seeing all the work that goes into one. Have fun.

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    1. Cris, I would love to be a *Super* (extra) on stage.....but I can't manage the backstage coffee service with my team and *Super*....drat!

      I know most of you are not Opera Lovers....but it's my world...and I think everyone enjoys the backstage photos, costumes etc.... (at least I HOPE so)! A-ha-ha!

      Love,

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  6. Thank you for your enthusiastic post! And did I mention you look smashing? :)

    With joy~

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    1. Hello Dear *GZ*! I have missed your posts...and hope you will keep blogging!

      Thank you for the compliment! It was great fun to try on the hat!

      Sending joy right back to you, dear friend!

      Hugs,

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  7. its funny. i typed in a longish comment and it disappeared. to keep it brief, love this post, what a rich assortment of operas you have this season. esp love the Flute animals. and you look so happy in your costume!

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    1. Suki....THERE you are! I missed your comment!! I always think of you when I am at the Opera...cos' I know you would have fun with me running around backstage!

      The Flute Critters are so adorable....I will be at another rehearsal tomorrow..and hope to get some *real* photos of them...

      I feel so badly for you regarding the pc problems...you know I can relate....it is hard to get tech help out where you are....but, keep trying! Perhaps Alan or your son know of someone who is close by and tech-savvy!

      Love to you and Bibs,

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  8. Wow what a wonderful tour and intro to Opera you have given us here! I love all the costumes for all of the operas. From battle gear to whimsical colorful costumes! What fun to be the makers of those! And yes, I see Mim's art in that fish! I do!

    Robin, I love and appreciate your fun comments you leave on my blog.

    How do I get to be a follower of yours? I see nothing on the side bar giving me that option. Help please. I got here today by clicking on your name before the comment you left on my blog!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi Lynn! You found me! Hooray! Wish I knew what to tell you about *following* me...my list disappeared a while back...but I know both Cris and Teri have me on their blogrolls... not sure how they did it...but perhaps they can tell you.

      So happy you enjoyed this post... as an artist, I thought YOU would appreciate the full gamut of this Summer's Operas!

      Big Hugs....here's to our meeting at the Warming Hut one day!

      *Kiss the King*! (You know I adore him so..)

      Hugs,

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  9. SO funny - as I was looking at the costumes I thought -hmmm...i love that dragon snake thing, but it looks like something I would draw - what a riot!!!

    thank you for thinking of silly me, I love this post and am going to share it with mom

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    1. Mim...the moment I saw some of the *Flute Creatures* being brought into the Opera House, I thought of you! You COULD create costumes - for sure.... something to ponder.

      Say hello to your beautiful Mum...and tell her that last week, Samuel Ramey gave me a hug and kiss when I welcomed him back to our *House*!

      Love to both,

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  10. Great pics- as usual !

    Will see if this works.

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    1. Hmmm...a *mystery guest*....happy you liked my photos!

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  11. Bonjour Robin:) Wonderful pictured and I loved listening to Attila, I liked the Duett! And the costume pictures are awsome, so rich, these popal dresses. Very inspiring post, thanks so much for sharing, from Paris with love, Andrea:)

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    1. Bon Jour, Cher Andrea! It's been ages....so wonderful to hear from you....and I'm so happy you played some of the musical links! *Attila* is not my favourite Verdi....but we have an excellent cast and a genius (and handsome) Maestro...so this helps! How are you? The Cats? Miss you....keep in touch!

      Big Hugs all the way to Paris!

      ♥ Robin ♥

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  12. WOW! That's some snake there! Seems I have much to learn about you! Funny though; I could imagine Anne in the breastplates with a sword! **kisskiss** Deb

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  14. I put the Magic Flute poster onto my desktop.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi dear!
    I enjoyed your post :)
    That Mozart opera seems so nice and I loved the polar bears dancing , how clever is that made!
    I think Felix would love this one too.
    Attila is indeed different, the costumes impressive and Nixon in China interesting.
    its raining cats and dogs here.....this afternoon should be better. I hope it will stay dry for a while as the deer are about to become mothers :)
    Know you will be returning home today, I hope packed with good memories.
    ♥M

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  16. Just saw the magic Flute video again with Felix.He loved it and I am fascinated by those bears....!!!!!

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