Thursday, January 28, 2010

There’s Always Something ‘Special’

January is a time to pause, to reflect on the year past, and to look forward – to both a new year and in this case, a new decade!

In Special Projects, we’re looking ahead to the premiere of Lillian Alling (following three years in development) as well as the eclectic Nixon in China in Vancouver series.

In late November, the creative team of John Estacio, John Murrell and Kelly Robinson met at Holy Rosary Hall for the final 10 day music workshop to delve into Act 2. With 12 singers, 2 pianists, music dramaturge Leslie Dala and stage manager Theresa Tsang, they dive in. It’s exciting, focused and intense. This process demands such creative generosity and flexibility from all the participants as the new scenes are worked through one day, re-written overnight ,re-worked the next day. Sometimes the cuts are embraced, other times there is the realization of the power of the original inspiration, and sometimes there is still dissatisfaction and more re-working to be done. Who knew there was a ‘cutting room floor’ in opera?

In addition to the glorious music created by John Estacio, all aspects of the opera need to be addressed: the arc of the story by librettist John Murrell; the unique vocal line of each character; the orchestration; the production elements. Attending this final workshop was set and costume designer Sue LePage and video designer Tim Matheson. Throughout they were observing, discussing, experimenting. Being a part of the early creative stages is key to designers and enabled Sue to provide an early design presentation to Jim Wright.

As staff and Lillian Alling Producer Fund donors gathered for the workshop presentation on December 3rd with baited breath, singers Allison Angelo, Aaron St. Clair Nicholson, Rebecca Hass, Keith Klassen, Colin Ainsworth, Gregory Dahl, Thomas Goerz, Calvin Powell, Karen Ydenberg, Barbara Towell, Brian Lee and Willy Miles-Grenzberg delivered a mesmerizing Act 2 accompanied by pianists Kinza Tyrrell and David Boothroyd. And this was just at music stands! Imagine the possibilities on the Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage in October.

Curious? Click here for our Lillian Alling blog.

~ Jennifer Lord, Special Projects Manager