I was invited to attend the Portland Opera's dress rehearsal of Pagliacci and Carmina Burana on Monday night, along with about 20 other local artists, including several of my cohorts from Periscope Studio. A very bearded Shannon Wheeler was in attendance, and I met Matt Wagner for the first time, and caught up with some familiar faces. We were given a tasty reception at Morton's steakhouse, and a backstage tour at the opera, and then we all encamped in the front rows to sketch the performances.
The first performance was about a very sad clown named Pagliacci. (See here for a two minute clip of the most famous passage. The clown is lamenting his wife's infidelity, and the kid consoles him with a Coke. FYI, the performance I saw was staged sans cola, and, in a nod to Fellini's La Strada, the characters were all smartly dressed in Italian fashions of the 1950s.) The second performance, Carmina Burana, included that choral arrangement they play in movies like Excalibur and The Hunt For Red October, to let you know when major doings are afoot. Still powerful!
Our sketches of the evening will be exhibited at the theater and at the Portland Opera website. Those opera singers are an active bunch, so I was only able to capture a face or figure here and there, but several of my pals were able to sum the evening up beautifully in their drawings and comics. My sketches should appear there soon, too, or you can check them out right here...
(The sketch below is of Pagliacci singing that part I linked above. In purple is a translation of his words.)
After hearing such beautiful, stentorian tones ring from this singer's mouth for most of the evening, I was charmed to hear her tiny, human voice remark "Oops -- my bad!," after an error in choreography. One of the small delights of witnessing a dress rehearsal.
Several of the characters were seated along an apron of the stage, which I was told had been added to catch the many apples that would be thrown during performances. I was relieved to discover later that this apple throwing occurs only between performers, and is part of the act.