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.


  1. And I shall check back in ! Wow I almost feel like I am there … good choice on the boots .

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