As part of a new-media promotional experiment, the Portland Opera has graciously invited me and several other local online writers to live-blog the Opera's production of "Rigoletto," with a backstage tour and everything.
As I'm almost completely ignorant of opera going into tonight -- the Portland Opera specifically wanted newbies for this gig -- this may present an opportunity for laughter and learning. (I hear singing may be involved!)
I'll start posting updates in this space around 7 p.m. If there's some sort of unforseen technical disaster, I'll instead post updates to my Twitter feed. There may be photos and funny drawings.
We're rolling. The fun begins after the jump. There will be many misspellings, and too many of them will be of names. Latest posts at the top.
UPDATE 5/12: "Rigoletto: The Comics Adaptation" can now be read as a single, linear strip at Webcomics Nation. There are links to the rest of the coverage in the comic's endnotes.
11 p.m. UPDATE: Act III is finished. My comic-strip adaptation is live in my Twitter feed. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the after-party. (I may add some more tour notes tomorrow.)
9:45 p.m. UPDATE: Act II is finished. I'm still posting my comic-strip adaptation in my Twitter feed.
8:40 p.m. UPDATE: Act I is finished. I'm posting my comic-strip adaptation on my Twitter feed.
7 p.m.-ish. We've just been placed at our "blogging table" after a terrific backstage tour, during which we stood on the balcony of the first-act set. I'm posting some photos to Twitter now.
Things learned during the tour led by Laura, director of production during the tour:
For a variety of legal reasons -- including, I'm sure, the risk of seeing an actor in a state of undress -- backstage photgraphy was limited.
The courtyard/balcony set pieces for 1.1. were rented from an opera company in Utah. Took three semis to get them here.
There are two chairs for spotlight technicians that hang 30 ft. above the stage, directly above proscenium. This job seems terrifyng. Allows for dramatic shadows directly over actors.
Show has a running crew of 30.
The dress rehearsal was Wednesday, and the rehearsal period was deceptively brief: actors rehearsed in a room for a week, and on stage for a week -- but there are actors who have performed these roles all over the country hundreds of times.
Laura: "Opera singers have to know the whole role before they come to town... Most opera singers are at least conversant in Italian."
Singers came from as far as New York.
The show has a 24-man chorus.
The decsion to do this show was made three years ago. The cast was set two years ago. (Aside from blogger Ellie of BikePortland: "It's the opposite of blogging. [pause] I want attribution."
Opera can be interpreted in crazy conceptual ways just like Shakespeare.
Opera singers aren't miked. This allows for more dynamic control between singers and orchestra than you'd get with the sound guy controlling everything.
Much more to come. Have to go in to the theater now....