pallas_athena: (Default)
OK, this is the last of these resting-on-my-laurels Zauberflöte photo posts.
Princes, Priests and perverts )
pallas_athena: (Default)
OK, this is the last of these resting-on-my-laurels Zauberflöte photo posts.
Princes, Priests and perverts )
pallas_athena: (Default)
Having shared one entry's worth of Magic Flute photos, I thought I would follow up with another. Last entry was Lady- intensive, but this one will mostly be about boys.
...some of whom are actually male )
pallas_athena: (Default)
Having shared one entry's worth of Magic Flute photos, I thought I would follow up with another. Last entry was Lady- intensive, but this one will mostly be about boys.
...some of whom are actually male )
pallas_athena: (Default)
I should be relieved to have my time, brain and voice back-- and I am, but I do miss my cast. I have decided to combat the nostalgia by posting silly photos. Tonight's post will be devoted to the Queen of the Night and her Ladies, who rule the world of the opera with an iron fist.
Evidence below )
pallas_athena: (Default)
I should be relieved to have my time, brain and voice back-- and I am, but I do miss my cast. I have decided to combat the nostalgia by posting silly photos. Tonight's post will be devoted to the Queen of the Night and her Ladies, who rule the world of the opera with an iron fist.
Evidence below )
pallas_athena: (Default)
Last night was the last night of Zauberflöte. I spent the preceding week in a state of high panic, making the instantaneous transition from sleep to anxiety attack every morning around eight. It took until the last night to get all the costumes completely finished, and some of it was finished in the most half-assed and drunken way possible-- but it did, more or less, get done.

When I took the job, I knew it would be insane, but I didn't foresee quite how insane. There was no designer, no tech team and no real producer (the conductor and principal tenor were co-producing). The lighting board operator and our ONE stagehand were only recruited the day before the tech rehearsal. Making this show happen called on all the skills I had (directing! language coaching! dancing! sewing! makeup! making a dragon out of cardboard, tubular crinoline and hot glue!) and quite a few I didn't. I anticipate a new crop of grey hairs sprouting over the next couple of months.

It took everything I had, and in dark hours, I thought it still might not be enough. I barely saw my friends; missed Whitby; missed [livejournal.com profile] orkamedies's bonfire; missed most things not immediately show-related. A historic election happened Stateside the day of our tech rehearsal; I was so consumed with tech nerves that I could barely summon the energy to care.

And yet, and yet. Before that evening's run, I'd had to read people the riot act about not being offbook and messing around in rehearsal. I'd been dreading it, of course, because I hate having to be the enemy; but the previous night's run had shown me an undisciplined, unfocused cast and given me The Fear about opening in two days' time. I told them they'd all made great strides since we began working together, and praised them for that; then said that each of them was capable of giving a far better performance than they currently were, and that they needed to take responsibility for the show, since it was theirs now. Then I read them the riot act, and said "I'm only going to say this once. You can mess around when you know it." Afterwards, I added "That was me being moderately tough. I hope you enjoyed it. Let's do this thing." And... they gave me a round of applause. And the guy who'd been messing around the most called out "We love you, Liza!" (He then learnt his lines and became one of the finer things about the performances.)

The first two nights, I was backstage helping run things, but last night I was up in the booth doing sound and supertitles, so I got to see the show: to see my artists at play in the world I'd helped create, and the audience laughing and applauding. And those singers were owning it: the music, the characters, the jokes, the story had become theirs, just as I'd hoped.

So, you know, it was worth it. It was worth it, for them. For the wild, weird and wonderful young singers whom I had the honour to introduce to this opera, and whom I got to watch as they took it and ran with it. When I thought I couldn't stay up another hour or sew another seam, I would think of the people I was sewing for. (Quite a few of them seem to have fallen in love with each other over the course of the show, which is all good, I hope.) (As for me, I fell mildly in love with several of them at once, which was... interesting.)

So, as I said to them at last night's cast party, we passed through the trials of initiation; we walked through fire and water, and none of us was the same when we came out the other side. I guess that a certain wild, rough magic is an inevitable side effect of doing this opera; but so is enlightenment, so is joy, so is love... and, finally, if we're lucky, wisdom.

Mozart gets the last word:

Silberglöckchen, Zauberflöten
Sind zu euer Schütz vonnöten.
Lebet wohl! Wir wollen gehn;
Lebet wohl, auf Wiedersehn.

pallas_athena: (Default)
Last night was the last night of Zauberflöte. I spent the preceding week in a state of high panic, making the instantaneous transition from sleep to anxiety attack every morning around eight. It took until the last night to get all the costumes completely finished, and some of it was finished in the most half-assed and drunken way possible-- but it did, more or less, get done.

When I took the job, I knew it would be insane, but I didn't foresee quite how insane. There was no designer, no tech team and no real producer (the conductor and principal tenor were co-producing). The lighting board operator and our ONE stagehand were only recruited the day before the tech rehearsal. Making this show happen called on all the skills I had (directing! language coaching! dancing! sewing! makeup! making a dragon out of cardboard, tubular crinoline and hot glue!) and quite a few I didn't. I anticipate a new crop of grey hairs sprouting over the next couple of months.

It took everything I had, and in dark hours, I thought it still might not be enough. I barely saw my friends; missed Whitby; missed [livejournal.com profile] orkamedies's bonfire; missed most things not immediately show-related. A historic election happened Stateside the day of our tech rehearsal; I was so consumed with tech nerves that I could barely summon the energy to care.

And yet, and yet. Before that evening's run, I'd had to read people the riot act about not being offbook and messing around in rehearsal. I'd been dreading it, of course, because I hate having to be the enemy; but the previous night's run had shown me an undisciplined, unfocused cast and given me The Fear about opening in two days' time. I told them they'd all made great strides since we began working together, and praised them for that; then said that each of them was capable of giving a far better performance than they currently were, and that they needed to take responsibility for the show, since it was theirs now. Then I read them the riot act, and said "I'm only going to say this once. You can mess around when you know it." Afterwards, I added "That was me being moderately tough. I hope you enjoyed it. Let's do this thing." And... they gave me a round of applause. And the guy who'd been messing around the most called out "We love you, Liza!" (He then learnt his lines and became one of the finer things about the performances.)

The first two nights, I was backstage helping run things, but last night I was up in the booth doing sound and supertitles, so I got to see the show: to see my artists at play in the world I'd helped create, and the audience laughing and applauding. And those singers were owning it: the music, the characters, the jokes, the story had become theirs, just as I'd hoped.

So, you know, it was worth it. It was worth it, for them. For the wild, weird and wonderful young singers whom I had the honour to introduce to this opera, and whom I got to watch as they took it and ran with it. When I thought I couldn't stay up another hour or sew another seam, I would think of the people I was sewing for. (Quite a few of them seem to have fallen in love with each other over the course of the show, which is all good, I hope.) (As for me, I fell mildly in love with several of them at once, which was... interesting.)

So, as I said to them at last night's cast party, we passed through the trials of initiation; we walked through fire and water, and none of us was the same when we came out the other side. I guess that a certain wild, rough magic is an inevitable side effect of doing this opera; but so is enlightenment, so is joy, so is love... and, finally, if we're lucky, wisdom.

Mozart gets the last word:

Silberglöckchen, Zauberflöten
Sind zu euer Schütz vonnöten.
Lebet wohl! Wir wollen gehn;
Lebet wohl, auf Wiedersehn.

pallas_athena: (Default)
The sun was shining when I got the bus out of London yesterday. In the Thames Valley, we drove into hard rain. By the time I got to the rehearsal venue in Oxford, snow was swirling in the light of the streetlamps.

One singer after another staggered into rehearsal looking increasingly frozen. I handed out chocolate and positioned them under warm stage lights. (I tend to bring chocolates to rehearsal. If I'm going to work people like dogs, I figure the least I can do is provide a sugar rush.)

I normally try and sleep on the bus ride back to London, but this time I was glued to the window. The hills of the Ridgeway were blanketed in white, with more coming down. Every one of the branches by the side of the road was bowed down under its load of snow.

By the time we got to chilly, soggy London suburbia, the snow wasn't settling any more. I'm glad I saw it, though. I wonder if there will still be any when I head out today?
pallas_athena: (Default)
The sun was shining when I got the bus out of London yesterday. In the Thames Valley, we drove into hard rain. By the time I got to the rehearsal venue in Oxford, snow was swirling in the light of the streetlamps.

One singer after another staggered into rehearsal looking increasingly frozen. I handed out chocolate and positioned them under warm stage lights. (I tend to bring chocolates to rehearsal. If I'm going to work people like dogs, I figure the least I can do is provide a sugar rush.)

I normally try and sleep on the bus ride back to London, but this time I was glued to the window. The hills of the Ridgeway were blanketed in white, with more coming down. Every one of the branches by the side of the road was bowed down under its load of snow.

By the time we got to chilly, soggy London suburbia, the snow wasn't settling any more. I'm glad I saw it, though. I wonder if there will still be any when I head out today?
pallas_athena: (Default)
Tonight I experienced the beautiful cognitive dissonance of hearing Philip Glass in a goth club, thanks to the twisted mind and dexterous DJing hands of [livejournal.com profile] rosenkavalier.

For some weird psychological reason, I can only direct if I'm wearing trousers (the more goth, the better.) I can also only direct with my hair pulled back. When I go to rehearsal, I'm usually carrying a bunch of stuff, so I tend to wear sensible, comfortable shoes. It was therefore a great relief to get back from Oxford today, get into stockings, corset, skirt, makeup and not-entirely-boring shoes, and head over to Vagabonds. There I found [livejournal.com profile] fracture242, her partner, [livejournal.com profile] chimera_s et alia admiring the shiny new laser lights and grooving to a marvellous opening set, the jewel of which was The Window Of Appearances from Philip Glass's Akhnaten. Oh yes.
pallas_athena: (Default)
Tonight I experienced the beautiful cognitive dissonance of hearing Philip Glass in a goth club, thanks to the twisted mind and dexterous DJing hands of [livejournal.com profile] rosenkavalier.

For some weird psychological reason, I can only direct if I'm wearing trousers (the more goth, the better.) I can also only direct with my hair pulled back. When I go to rehearsal, I'm usually carrying a bunch of stuff, so I tend to wear sensible, comfortable shoes. It was therefore a great relief to get back from Oxford today, get into stockings, corset, skirt, makeup and not-entirely-boring shoes, and head over to Vagabonds. There I found [livejournal.com profile] fracture242, her partner, [livejournal.com profile] chimera_s et alia admiring the shiny new laser lights and grooving to a marvellous opening set, the jewel of which was The Window Of Appearances from Philip Glass's Akhnaten. Oh yes.
pallas_athena: (Default)
Today is my first day off since rehearsals started! Whew.

Of course, I'm spending it sewing. Is it not written that there shall be no peace unto the wicked? And dragons don't just make themselves, you know. I currently have four hoop steel "ribs", each 200cm in circumference; a 5m length of spiral steel for a "spine", and 5m of white muslin. I also have some materials for a head, but today I'm going to focus on getting the body done.

So, in lieu of actual content, some linklove:
Over at Linguaphiles, there's a charming post comparing the traditional names of the months in different languages.

At [livejournal.com profile] panniers, [livejournal.com profile] doc__holliday has posted some photos of a gown made by Rose Bertin for Marie Antoinette.

xkcd on Scrabble. I get this all the time. Do you?
pallas_athena: (Default)
Today is my first day off since rehearsals started! Whew.

Of course, I'm spending it sewing. Is it not written that there shall be no peace unto the wicked? And dragons don't just make themselves, you know. I currently have four hoop steel "ribs", each 200cm in circumference; a 5m length of spiral steel for a "spine", and 5m of white muslin. I also have some materials for a head, but today I'm going to focus on getting the body done.

So, in lieu of actual content, some linklove:
Over at Linguaphiles, there's a charming post comparing the traditional names of the months in different languages.

At [livejournal.com profile] panniers, [livejournal.com profile] doc__holliday has posted some photos of a gown made by Rose Bertin for Marie Antoinette.

xkcd on Scrabble. I get this all the time. Do you?
pallas_athena: (Default)
Rehearsals have been going well. We must have won the singer-lottery: they're all fantastically talented and extremely attractive. More importantly, they're lovely to work with! Incredibly, they seem to like my ideas-- at least, they don't flinch when I ask them to do unusual things.

I started this job with my usual pre-rehearsal dread: on the bus, I would feel terribly afraid that I'd have nothing to offer and let everyone down. Something weirdly marvellous has happened: I've begun loving rehearsals and even looking forward to them. WTF.

So: come all ye LJ-friends and see the show!

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE (THE MAGIC FLUTE)
W. A. Mozart
Sung in German with English supertitles
November 6,7,8
Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street, Oxford
7.45 PM

Tickets £8/ £5 concessions
On door or email oxfordopera@gmail.com to reserve. (Alternatively, email me. If finances are a problem, let me know and I'll sort something out.)
pallas_athena: (Default)
Rehearsals have been going well. We must have won the singer-lottery: they're all fantastically talented and extremely attractive. More importantly, they're lovely to work with! Incredibly, they seem to like my ideas-- at least, they don't flinch when I ask them to do unusual things.

I started this job with my usual pre-rehearsal dread: on the bus, I would feel terribly afraid that I'd have nothing to offer and let everyone down. Something weirdly marvellous has happened: I've begun loving rehearsals and even looking forward to them. WTF.

So: come all ye LJ-friends and see the show!

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE (THE MAGIC FLUTE)
W. A. Mozart
Sung in German with English supertitles
November 6,7,8
Magdalen College Auditorium, Longwall Street, Oxford
7.45 PM

Tickets £8/ £5 concessions
On door or email oxfordopera@gmail.com to reserve. (Alternatively, email me. If finances are a problem, let me know and I'll sort something out.)
pallas_athena: (Default)
I need a monster.

At the very beginning of The Magic Flute, Tamino (the hero) is threatened by a monster of some kind, and faints from fear. The libretto describes it as a "giftige Schlange"-- a venomous serpent. (English National Opera had a python-type snake strangling Tamino, while Covent Garden had a giant snake-puppet operated by multiple people.)

I want the monster to return at least once after the first scene: to dance with Tamino when he plays his flute, in order to show that he's no longer quite so helpless. If I can get a really good monster, I'll work out ways to give it some more stage-time.

I think I need a dragon. Preferably a 2-person costume. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make one that doesn't look completely lame?
pallas_athena: (Default)
I need a monster.

At the very beginning of The Magic Flute, Tamino (the hero) is threatened by a monster of some kind, and faints from fear. The libretto describes it as a "giftige Schlange"-- a venomous serpent. (English National Opera had a python-type snake strangling Tamino, while Covent Garden had a giant snake-puppet operated by multiple people.)

I want the monster to return at least once after the first scene: to dance with Tamino when he plays his flute, in order to show that he's no longer quite so helpless. If I can get a really good monster, I'll work out ways to give it some more stage-time.

I think I need a dragon. Preferably a 2-person costume. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make one that doesn't look completely lame?

Upsight

Sep. 26th, 2008 01:04 pm
pallas_athena: (Default)
yes! YES! I have it!

I've more or less decided how I want the Queen and her Ladies to appear (in The Magic Flute), but I was stuck on ideas for the Temple of Wisdom - which was a problem, because we spend most of the opera there.

I had thought about making the Temple guys sort of like Buddhist monks, or sort of like Lucas's Jedi, or sort of like Gandhi. But this morning, after getting far too little sleep because I'd stayed up too late reading Neal Stephenson's Anathem, I had an IDEA.

If you've read Anathem, you probably already know what I'm about to say.

...but if you haven't, there are spoilers below )
Finally, finally I have it. This is going to rock.

Now, has anyone got any clue how to build a stage version of a huge observatory-type telescope? Or an armillary sphere? I think I'm going to need both...

Upsight

Sep. 26th, 2008 01:04 pm
pallas_athena: (Default)
yes! YES! I have it!

I've more or less decided how I want the Queen and her Ladies to appear (in The Magic Flute), but I was stuck on ideas for the Temple of Wisdom - which was a problem, because we spend most of the opera there.

I had thought about making the Temple guys sort of like Buddhist monks, or sort of like Lucas's Jedi, or sort of like Gandhi. But this morning, after getting far too little sleep because I'd stayed up too late reading Neal Stephenson's Anathem, I had an IDEA.

If you've read Anathem, you probably already know what I'm about to say.

...but if you haven't, there are spoilers below )
Finally, finally I have it. This is going to rock.

Now, has anyone got any clue how to build a stage version of a huge observatory-type telescope? Or an armillary sphere? I think I'm going to need both...

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