Monday, August 31, 2009

2010 Audition Applications Available

I'm staying off the interwebs as much as I can for another week. Am still completely blog/tweet/facebook/ninged out, and I need to find my center before I can be of much use here.

In the meantime, this is your first reminder that all application materials are available for the 2010 season! Start here for complete instructions, PDFs, and the ever-glorious-even-better-for-2010 interactive audition application courtesy of Bob Fincheimer.

Audition tour dates are also above on the right column of the blog. First deadline is October 2!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Operascape, and Over & Out

The perfect positive storm for the end of our season - Puccini's Boheme, Operascape production, NSO, Wolf Trap Opera, and some of the best weather of the summer. Resulted in standing ovation from just under 6,000 folks - a huge number of them new opera-goers (just under 4,000 in the house, and almost 2,000 on the lawn).

I'm hoping to dig myself out of a personal and professional backlog for the next week or two, without the adrenaline that has shepherded me through the last weeks. Wish me luck. I plan to be back by the end of August with a clear mind, posting some wrap-up thoughts on the season and the upcoming fall auditions. (Audition applications and web pages should be ready within a week.)

In the meantime, enjoy these Boheme performance photos by Carol Pratt.

Stephen Lord, conductor
Kevin Newbury, director
S. Katy Tucker, video projection design
Cameron Anderson, scenic design
Jessica Jahn, costume design
Mark Stanley, lighting design
Elsen Associates, hair/makeup design

Diego Torre, Rodolfo
Hana Park, Mimi
Ava Pine, Musetta
Daniel Billings, Marcello
Matthew Hanscom, Schaunard
Carlos Monzón, Colline
Nicholas Masters, Benoit/Alcindoro

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Creatures of the Night

Focusing S. Katy Tucker's projections

Opera requires an intensive "tech" period, part of which is devoted to hanging, focusing and cueing the lighting that serves functional and expressive purposes. And, in the case of our Boheme, this same period encompasses everything that's required to get projected images and video onto a hanging screen. Under "normal" circumstances, hard-working, pale-faced designers, running crew, and stage managers sit in a dark theatre all day doing this detailed work before the cast shows up at night. But in an outdoor theatre? Well, daylight isn't so easily avoidable.

The view from upstage right

That's why tech started this afternoon, kicked into high lighting/video gear at sunset, and will continue until sunrise. The theatre belongs to about 15 of us, and the overnight hours are spent in quiet productivity, to the gentle voice of the lighting designer on the intercom. The stage managers "walk lights," standing and sitting in various locations on the stage while the designer and crew write cues. It requires stamina, patience, and a good book.

Singers were at the Kennedy Center tonight with the National Symphony Orchestra, and from all reports, there was some serious music-making. Everyone ends up here tomorrow night, and we really see what we've got!

As of this morning, we were sold out in front and rear orchestra, but some held seats were released this afternoon. You should be able to find good seats on the orchestra level, at least for the first part of Thursday.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


So, I don't want to be cocky or anything. Because I'm almost never even optimistic, let alone cocky. And I don't want to offend the weather gods. We all know what Neptune and Jupiter did to Ulysses. But...

See Friday, August 7.


I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Catching Up

There's a point each summer when folks - patrons, colleagues, friends - say, "What's wrong? You haven't updated the blog in OVER A WEEK!"

It's like the crazy Christmas season years ago when my husband and I decided we didn't have time to put the requisite tens of thousands of lights on the house. A worried stranger knocked on the door and asked if we were all OK - thought that because we hadn't decorated the house, someone must be sick.

We are all fine here at WTOC, but this last week was a struggle. No surprise - we saw it coming. Ulysses performances, Instant Opera week at Theatre-in-the-Woods, Steve Blier's residency and Pursuit of Love recital, and the approach of Boheme tech week. It was all marvelous, but it consumed all available waking hours, with no time to tell about it!

This is our day away from the theatre, ceding the stage to Pat Benatar and Blondie. We reoccupy tonight at 12midnight, and it's nonstop from there till Saturday. I offer in these few quiet minutes a catch-up posting.

SpongeBob, Princesses, Scooby-Doo, Captain Hook, and Harry Potter...

If our singers ever doubt that they've come to work in a National Park, those thoughts are erased by their first trip out to the Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods. They hiked along the stream every morning last week, and presented 5 world premiere operas written by the children of the Theatre-in-the-Woods and brought to life by the Wolf Trap Opera Studio. These amazing singers were armed for improv battle by Your Friend and Mine Jim Doyle, joined by Pianists Grant and Jeremy, supported by Super Judy and Super Amra, and cheered on by coach Eric.


Steve worked his magic (and no, that's not a euphemism) last week, and brought a slightly atypical program to The Barns. The Pursuit of Love wasn't structured like most of Steve's recitals - rather, it gave each of its four singers a chance to sing a complete set/cycle of songs (by Villa Lobos, Grieg, Granados, and Gabriel Kanahane), and then featured all of the singers in quartets. In the midst of an intense rehearsal week he also found time to chat with our donors and lead a master class with some of the Studio Artists. And, of course, the journey home (a needlessly epic 12-hour trip from Vienna to New York) yielded the annual brainstorming document with ideas for next year's recitals. Six of them. (Six ideas, not six recitals. Even though I tried:))

Joining the Bohemians

We are now exclusively on the Boheme train. A few shots from the last room rehearsal and this link to the promo will have to do for now! More tomorrow. I promise.