6:30pm We have now arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver and are settling in for the Vancouver Opera performance of Madama Butterfly. We will be taking a backstage tour in a few minutes.
7pm We have completed our tour of the backstage of the opera set. My colleague blogger, The Anthology said that the set reminded her of a 1960s game show. Looking at the set from above can give you quite a feeling of vertigo. Our tour guide told us that the set is created through a significant use of light much more so than “stuff” that they bring off and on the stage.
I did take some photos but I left the card reader for my camera sitting on my desk…film at 11 as they say.
An opera patron just popped in to let us know that the QE Theatre has upgraded their red wine to a lovely Sumac Ridge Merlot. Paulette tells me that the previous wine choice was more like turpentine than wine so she is pleased.
One of my fellow bloggers, John Biehler is sitting beside me using his iPad for blogging. I suddenly realize that I need an iPad.
The funnest part of live-blogging the opera so far is all the curious people coming to ask us what a blog is. I love making connections to an entirely new demographic of followers.
The energy is building in the theatre lobby. I remember years ago when my Mom and Dad would bring me and my brothers and sisters to the Vancouver Opera. What vision my parents had to bring all of us little kids to the opera. From those childhood experiences I have grown a life-long appreciation for the performing arts. Listening to the buzz of the lobby conversations takes me back to the days when I would walk through the crowd in my miniature tuxedo holding my father’s hand. Crazy to think that I am now the father of little ones who will soon be walking through the QE Theatre holding my hand.
It is now Intermission at the opera. I have to say that Act I of Madama Butterfly is one of the most beautiful operas I have ever seen. It makes my heart ache to see the action unfold and all the foreshadowing of the coming heartache. This is doubly so because tonight is the first night that my Sweetheart and I have left our little angels at home without us. So I am missing my little angels and being moved by the beauty of the opera.
The set is so simple and yet so incredible. There are virtually no props on the satge, just light. Many colours of light. The simplest little things that are props make the stage come alive.
However, listening to the dialogue is what makes my heart ache the most. The arrogant young American brags that he has rented a house for the next 999 years…with the right to cancel it at a months notice. You feel the pain that is coming.
And then late in Act I Madama Butterfly says that she has heard that in America people capture butterflies and pin them to a board. When the American admits that this is somewhat true…oh my heart feels the agony. Sometimes knowing too much about the plot is not a good thing. I am sensing the need for tissues in Acts II and III.
Watching the actors moving on and off the stage is all the more interesting to see after seeing all the “marks” on the stage. The quote, “On your mark…” makes so much more sense to me now.
I have to race back to my seat for the next Act. My closing thoughts…gorgeous, beautiful, heart-breaking…be back at the end…
And the final curtain has fallen. Where to begin…I have seen Madama Butterfly before but this time…the tears were streaming down my face. The ending of this opera was made all the more poignant due to the fact that at home are our two precious little angels. I cannot imagine being forced to relinquish my sweet little ones…the agony I felt as I sat there watching a woman’s child being stolen away…unbelievable.
If you have not yet bought your ticket to this opera, do so as soon as you can. So exquisite.