Tag Archives: Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Part III of Vancouver Opera’s Lillian Alling

First off, NO SPOILERS here. None. But, I can and will say that I did not see the twists and turns coming. This opera, more than any other opera, perhaps because it is the world premiere, but this opera, had me literally on the edge of my seat right until the curtain dropped for the final time.

And once that curtain did drop and Judith Forst walked on stage the audience, almost as one, rose to their feet in a standing “O”.

For now though, I am headed to backstage party.

Part II of the World Premiere of Vancouver Opera’s Lillian Alling

Intermission for the opera…no spoilers from me, just let me say that the production is fabulous. Oddly disconcerting to see an opera leading man wearing flannel and sitting in a Datsun pick-up truck alongside Judith Forst. Oddly disconcerting but amazing at the same time.

Before the opera began we toured the backstage and were told about the extensive use of projections. Even so, I was not prepared for the way that we would be driving out of Telegraph Creek in that Datsun pick-up truck.

The Datsun Pick-up
The Datsun Pick-up

At the close of the first act the 40 member chorus were singing about the wonderful experience that they were having in the Oakalla Prison Farm…only in opera. Act II will begin in less than five minutes so I have to cut this short. I will close by saying just as Madama Butterfly hit me in the heart, this opera is also hitting me very close to the heart in a very personal way. More about this later…let me just say that this opera is making my home-sickness stronger than ever. And making me question the way that we treat our elders…more later…probably tomorrow.

Vancouver Opera’s World Premiere of Lillian Alling

I am now inside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre preparing for my backstage tour pre-world premiere of Lillian Alling. I have to say that I wavered at the door, but the black Boulets were my boot of choice.

Vancouver Opera
Vancouver Opera

Bloggers Frances Sprout and Miranda Lievers are here with me already. We await the arrival of Nik Belonio.

Same as last season, the curious are coming by and asking what it is we are doing. How to explain our vocation? We are live-blogging…writing, in the moment with the emotion of the performance still burning in our hearts. I had a quick conversation with an audience member and we were reminiscing about last season’s performance of Madama Butterfly. Even though it was last season the feelings and hurt still linger in my heart. My feelings having been honed through the experience of having my own children.

Thinking about Madama Buttterfly makes me smile a little about tonight’s performance. Madama Butterfly was set in Nagasaki, Japan. Carmen set in Seville, Spain. And tonight’s opera? Set partially in a waterfront cafe and Telegraph Creek, BC. Fabulous! I am so excited to see how this plays out on stage!

I have been backstage! You might think that when you develop a new opera you might play it safe. That was not the approach to Lillian Alling. This is an opera that takes chances and embraces technology.

In order to travel across North America with Lillian Alling they would have needed endless stage settings. Instead, the Vancouver Opera elected to make use of projection screens for the journey across North America. The projections will be a combination of movie footage and jpeg images.

Vancouver Opera Backstage
Vancouver Opera Backstage

Once the opera begins the “command centre” switches over to the Stage Manager. This is truly the “command centre” of the opera.

Opera Backstage Command Centre
Opera Backstage Command Centre

In the above photo is Terry Harper, the Director of Production who was kind enough to take our group of bloggers backstage and give us a thumbnail sketch of how the production will unfold.

One of the things that Terry pointed out is that on each of the projectors (15,000 Lumens) is a “dowser.” The purpose of this device is in case of the Bill Gates blue-screen of death, the projector can be doused and a back-up plan can fall into place. Ahh…the things we do to protect us from PC-failure.

The bells have begun to toll calling us to our seats. I will be back at intermission.