A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, opera a cappella now available at Albany Records

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Carmen First Performance

Carmen opened last night and it was a vigorous and pretty tight performance. These are scenes from the chorus warmup before the show. It's a smart idea to review every cue right before downbeat.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Carmen Final Dress

Carmen final dress doubles as Hawaii Opera's "Opera for Everyone." There were nearly 2000 kids in the audience and they stayed with it nicely and enjoyed the rehearsal. Although most of them were from Oahu, some came from the neighbor islands.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Carmen First Dress in Hawaii

Monday night was the first orchestra dress and last night we gathered back at the theatre for an event for important supporters. Director, designer, costumer, and conductor--we each talked about our contributions to the project. I talked about the two recitatives I rewrote for this production--the first interaction between Don Jose and Carmen and the first interaction between Escamillo and Carmen.

By the way, no ill effects from the centipede.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hawaii Carmen piano dress

We have moved on to piano dress, the first rehearsal with costumes, wigs and makeup.

In a bit of unexpected excitement, I got bit by a six inch long centipede after the show in the pit. It probably beats the story of a cell phone going off in the orchestra pit during a performance of THE MAGIC FLUTE. Unfortunately I didn't have the wits about me to take a picture of it before a brave crew member came to my aid and stomped it. I brushed the thing off my leg before I saw it which probably saved me my dignity.

Carmen Spacing

Carmen moved into the theatre and began with spacing rehearsals. The flat floor with tape to indicate levels now has to be reconciled with the actual deck, with its series of levels and platforms.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Carmen Stage Combat

We have almost finished staging Carmen. One of the final touches is the stage combat. This fight is between Don Jose (Richard Crawley) and Escamillo (Kelly Anderson)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Abduction in Hawaii

Last night, I saw the opening night of Hawaii Opera's ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO. There were a lot of smart choices in it--staging the capture of Constanza, Blonde, and Pedrillo in the overture, doing the singing and dialogue in English, having Blonde use cockney, having a really large and muscular Osmin, engaging a large group of belly dancers, using their passarelle to allow singing in front of the pit. In short, they did everything they could to keep the piece from being a bit short on stage action.

In addition to Henry Akina's choices, the piece was terrifically sung by Rachelle Durkin, Audrey Luna, George Dyer, Jeffrey Halili, and Ashley Howard Wilkinson. Guest star Jason Scott Lee was a strong Pasha Selim, and conductor Robert Wood did a super-fine job with the Honolulu Symphony.

Although I've been fortunate to come to Hawaii Opera many times, it was the first time I actually got to see a show at the Blaisell hall. After seeing act one downstairs, I saw the second act from the balcony which seems to have a richer sound without being too remote from the action.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Usually served as poi, this is cooked taro. Not very appetizing looking, but tastes like a slightly sweet boiled potato. This batch was brought to a tailgate by Fred Cachola, one of the members of the ensemble. Fred is an expert on Hawaiian culture.

Carmen in Hawaii

Carmen rehearsals have started in Honolulu. These pictures are from the second act and include rehearsing for the quintet and the fight between Jose and Zuniga.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

St. Paul

Spending a couple days in St. Paul...

Black Roots of Song Program

This morning our Black Roots of Song played at Faulk Elementary in West Memphis, Arkansas. It is a real treat to have our Treemonisha, Anita Johnson, doing the show for us.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Quinn Kelsey's blog

Hawaii born baritone Quinn Kelsey (Germont in our TRAVIATA this past fall) has started a new blog.