This evening I will be joined by other wonderful bloggers to experience Carmen as guests of the Vancouver Opera. We’ll be setup in the lobby to take photos, jot down thoughts, notes, and any interesting tidbits we have to share. Between acts, we’ll have updates and early reviews as well. If you are attending the opera tonight, please feel free to stop by and say hello, and if you’re at home, check back here around 6:30pm for some pre-opera blogging.
Update: I arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and joined up with the other bloggers, Ami, Tanya, and Kimli. Moments later Terry Harper, the Director of Production was kind enough to sweep us away for a private tour backstage.
It was great to see the sets going up, meet some of the people who make the production happen, and see how everyone gets prepared for the big evening.
I have to say that the Vancouver Opera has been great so far, giving us tickets, as well as putting up a sign near our table stating each of our names and full URLs — the first time of all my 30-some liveblogs that a host has done so (from tech events to hockey games).
At some point I know I’m going to feel like a caged animal (and the “please do not feed the bloggers” note at the bottom of our sign doesn’t help — but it’s cute) however everyone passing by is in great spirits and are asking us some wonderful questions.
The General Director of the opera, James W. Wright, just walked past and shook each of our hands, “now what are you people doing here?” he said in jest as he took time to “speak with his bloggers.” They just keep making us feel more and more special, this is pretty great.
Update: We are now heading in for Act I, we’ll be back soon (my photos are also going up on Flickr).
Update: We’re in the middle of a 20 minute intermission. I’m currently battling a cold and although I spent most of the first act wondering if my nose was whistling or trying to control my laboured breathing I still enjoyed the show. Being that I know French it’s actually a lot easier to follow than Eugine Onegin (which was in Russian) so I didn’t have to look up as often to follow the sur-titles. The set looks fabulous, from this side of the stage, the story is captivating thus far, and boy that Carmen sure is one troublemaker (in her beautiful red corset).
I’m moreso fascinated by the folks in the lobby who stop the speak with us while we’re blogging. Tanya is getting asked about her HP Netbook (since it’s about half the size of my MacBook) and we’re fielding questions from “what is a blog”, “who will read that,” to “is this going on Facebook?”, and “do you get to see the show”? Everyone is very friendly and Ling (whom I met with to first discuss a blogger night at the opera) just brought us over some food after she read on Kimli’s site that she had missed dinner. Things sure are happening fast and in real-time.
We have three more acts to go, so I’ll check back in with more thoughts on Carmen in just a few minutes…
Update: I think I’m going to have to get more in-depth about the actual opera when I get home this evening as I only have about 10 more minutes to give an update. The first act featured an introduction to Carmen and her devilishly seductive ways, literally having a man (Don Jose) take the fall for her. In the second act he returns and must make a choice between his country and his lust erm… love for Carmen, a decision that pretty much ends up being made for him. However, we were also introduced to quite the self-assured toreador, Escamillo and while I am avoiding the synopsis I’m certain he will make a return. Again, very speedy commentary as the 5 minute warning to return to our seats it about to sound. Apologies to the couple at the end of our row as we all file out at every break. And now for Act III…
Update: It’s all over and we’re heading our seperate ways. I’ll have more coverage later but would sincerely like to thank the Vancouver Opera for being amazing hosts this evening (especially Selina and Ling), and I continue to be amazed by their fine productions and unlimited talents, both on and off the stage.
Update: “Who knows why we fall in love,” said a woman sitting behind me at the theatre. The word love was tossed around a lot tonight but I think it means many things… lust, perseverance, passion, and not just for a companion — freedom was also chanted, bellowed, and mourned.
While women in gowns take the arms of gentlemen in tuxedos as they glide through the lobby of the Queen Elizabeth theatre everyone is in good spirits. They pass to say hello to a crew sitting at a table with their heads tilted downward while feverishly typing away, documenting their experiences, then take their seats to discuss Carmen and her motives. “She likes him because she can control him,” said another woman about Don Jose, “but that’s probably also why she loses interest,” mentions another.
The opera is a welcoming atmosphere, for those who may think otherwise, even for someone like me who admits they recognized most of the rhythms from old Bugs Bunny cartoons (or more recently that episode of Family Guy where Brian hears Pearl sing Habanera… but I digress).
Rinat Shaham‘s delivery is captivating and you end up routing for the troubled yet headstrong vixen, while the orchestra, chorus, and cast were each mesmerizing. To say Carmen is a classic is a severe understatement; it’s humorous, playful, melodramatic, and tragic, yet splashed with so much colour even among the drab nomadic settings of a gypsy camp.
You can catch Carmen January 29th and 31st as well as February 3rd and 5th and tickets start at $23 (which is pretty much what you would pay for a movie ticket and a popcorn combo). It’s an opportunity I encourage every Vancouverite to experience — dress up, head out on the town, and get lost in the soothing yet tempestuous melodies of the opera.