01 May 2013

The Haushofmeister’s Diary, Part 13: The Well-Dressed Piano-Dress

Backstage: The commedia troupe.
With Audrey Luna (Zerbinetta) at right.

So I have a dressing room. And also a dresser. Her name is Sue, and Ava Pine tells me that Sue helped to strap her into the harness that permitted her to fly when she sang the role of the Angel in Peter Eötvös’ Angels in America here at Fort Worth Opera a few years ago.

This makes me feel as legitimate as possible. I must be an opera star, because I have a dresser. And she’s highly qualified.

Now I’m wondering whether Sue can find that harness again. What this opera needs, I believe, is an appearance by the Haushofmeister during the “Ariadne” section. Toward the end, as Marjorie Owens and Corey Bix are singing their hearts out, I can fly out over the audience. People would love it, I know. I just have to find the right time to tell our stage director, David Gately.

For the Prologue, we’re all in black and white;
for the “Ariadne” section, the cast wears colorful costumes.
Marjorie Owens as Ariadne and Corey Bix as Bacchus.
(Assistant director Michael Yeshion is in the background.)

Last night was our piano-dress rehearsal. We wore costumes but no wigs or makeup, and instead of the Fort Worth Symphony, our lovely Emily Jarrell Urbanek was in the pit, playing piano, but otherwise this was pretty much what the real performances will be like. I’m figuring out how to adjust my blocking to the stage of Bass Hall, and how to get around the real set — when I’m accustomed to tape marks on the floor of a basement rehearsal room — and at this point, I’m not wearing glasses. Adventure!

We now know that, despite the outdoor fireworks display to which my character refers, this opera is set in the dead of winter: several of Susan Memmett Allred’s costumes are incredibly heavy. Poor Zac Engle, as Scaramuccio, is dressed like some sort of stuffed toy; David Miller, as the Officer, wears an overcoat. My costume is somewhat lighter, but my trousers have no fly — so there will be no bathroom breaks for me until intermission.

The Haushofmeister inspects the downstairs dressing rooms.
Photo by Sue. Who is my dresser.
More photos follow — for you to inspect.

Onstage: The Prima Donna (Marjorie Owens) attends
to matters of vital importance.

Backstage: Ian McEuen (the Dancing Master)
in his dressing room.

Nervous? Who’s nervous?
Aaron Sørensen (the Wigmaker) backstage,
with David Miller, Zac Engle, and Anthony Reed.

Stephen Lusmann (the Music Master) in his dressing room.

Dude looks like a lady:
Cecelia Hall as the Composer.

Kids, don’t try this at home!
David Miller (the Officer) is a professional fashion model.

Ordinarily when David works, skilled professionals
are paid to finger-comb his hair for him.


Backstage: Corey Bix (the Tenor) waits for his entrance.

Backstage: Assistant stage manager Anna Reetz cues
Cecelia Hall’s entrance.

From the wings, I can see bits of the action.
Here, Cecelia Hall sings “Du allmächtige Gott!”

While supernumeraries tinker with something,
the Tenor (Corey Bix) throws the Wigmaker (Aaron Sørensen)
out of his dressing room.

David Miller (the Officer) makes an entrance.

Cecelia Hall (the Composer) and Audrey Luna (Zerbinetta)
during a pause in the rehearsal.

Ian McEuen, Cecelia Hall, Audrey Luna, and David Miller (seated).
Anna Reetz is visible at left.
Magic! And it’s all real!

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