04 May 2013

The Haushofmeister’s Diary, Part 16: Opening Night

An important announcement! WVM (center, as the Haushofmeister).
In foreground: Audrey Luna (seated), Ian McEuen, Marjorie Owens, Stephen Lusmann, and Cecelia Hall. In background: Anthony Reed, Corey Bix, Michael Adams, Jeni Houser (obscured), Corrie Donovan, and Amanda Robie.
Photo courtesy of Ron T. Ennis.

And so the great day brightly dawns: the Fort Worth Opera Festival production of Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos opens tonight at Bass Hall.

If for some reason you simply can’t get to the theater, you can listen to a live broadcast of the performance on Dallas’ Classical station, WRR-FM 101.1; the station’s website will also provide live streaming, so that you can listen even if you’re, oh, I don’t know, in New York. The curtain rises at 7:30 local time.*

The Opera: Bacchus (Corey Bix) and Ariadne (Marjorie Owens).
Photo courtesy of Ellen Appel.

You won’t want to be late, because I’m only in the beginning of the opera, and thereafter you’ll have to content yourself with hearing the stupendous singers in our cast.

I’m thrilled that friends and family will join me in Fort Worth tonight, to share in this adventure. And just to make the evening more meaningful, my high-school German teacher, Terry Quon, will be there, too.

The Prologue: The Tanzmeister (Ian McEuen)
presents Zerbinetta (Audrey Luna) and her Troupe
(Zac Engle, Steven Eddy, Michael Porter, and Anthony Reed).
Photo courtesy of Ron T. Ennis.

Especially in Texas, there’s no guarantee that your students will actually use the foreign language you teach them — unless it’s Spanish, which in these parts doesn’t exactly count as foreign. Though I use German infrequently and sporadically, I note that this is not the first time my studies of the language have gotten me a paying job: after all, I worked at the Kurt Weill Foundation for two years after college. So this is a great chance to say, Vielen Dank, meine gnädige Frau Quon.

With Terry Quon at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.
Photo by Tommy Quon.

So much of this experience is completely new to me. As I say, it’s the first time in my career that I’ve had a dressing room to myself. It’s also the first time that I’ve had a dresser — the legendary Sue — and the first time that I haven’t done my own makeup. And I believe that this is the first time I’ve worn a wig onstage since the fifth-grade talent show, when I imitated Flip Wilson’s character Geraldine Jones. (Have I mentioned that I was an odd child?)

James P. McGough gives WVM a thorough makeover.
Photo by Lauren Weiss.

And lest we forget, this is also the first time I’ve acted onstage with a cast of opera singers. And not just any opera singers, but a tremendous ensemble of phenomenally gifted artists. They sing like angels, and they’re funny, besides. And every day, they show themselves to be kind and wise and dear. To guide me through this crazy stunt, I couldn’t have picked a better bunch of people than this cast; this director, David Gately; and this conductor, Joe Illick.

Ian clowns while the legendary Sue the Dresser attends to his jabot.
Photo by WVM.

But what to do for an encore? There aren’t a tremendous number of worthwhile speaking roles in opera. But I hear the Glyndebourne Festival is producing Ariadne auf Naxos this summer….

To my surprise, the dressing rooms pass
the white-glove test.
Photo by Lauren Weiss.

*NOTE: That’s 8:30 in New York, 5:30 in California, and 2:30 in the morning in France. Désolé, mes chers.


Alex said...

Break a leg!

Anne said...

I know however fab you think it will be, it will be even more so! That's been the case from the get go


GirlFromTexas said...

Your performance on opening night was delightful and all too short! Your character as you created it had a genuine presence, a spark that carried the scene and left the audience hungry for more. While the rest of the opera/story/performance was a delightful albeit almost too sugary frolic, your character provided the necessary comic acidity that renders the whole more palatable. Like eating a confection that is salty and sweet.