Tuesday, August 19, 2008

From Pandemonium to Pasquale

When LizBeth Lucca, artistic director of the Repertory Opera Company, invited me to photograph a dress rehearsal of Donizetti's Don Pasquale, I was glad to go. The Repertory Opera Company is the group I enjoyed so much last April when they performed Music in the Mansion at the Fenyes Mansion of the Pasadena Museum of History.

Last Sunday night was the first dress rehearsal for Don Pasquale, which opens this Thursday at 8PM at the Neighborhood Church of Pasadena (details here). If you've never been to a first dress rehearsal the chaos might shock you. But I felt right at home amid the inevitable wardrobe malfunctions, missed entrances and forgotten lines. After all, the purpose of a dress rehearsal is to iron out the kinks.

The singing, though, was something else altogether. Above, soprano Keiko Clark sings the role of Norina. Thursday night she'll be singing with, among others, Conrad Immel as Don Pasquale. I know from my stage experience that by then the lights will be in place, entrances will be perfectly timed, and the performers will be as comfortable in their parts as Michael Phelps is in the water.

Director Lucca, a trained singer and actor herself, teaches an acting class for opera singers and prides herself on a company with acting chops. Even in rehearsal, the comic moments had me laughing out loud. In the short time I was there, the kinks got smoother and smoother, and the excitement of opening night filled the air like music.

14 comments:

Ben Wideman said...

Petrea, you've been posting some fantastic images while I've been gone! Excellent work. Oh, and very cool that we both chose to put up an image of city hall on the same day.

USelaine said...

This must have been so fun! The leading lady looks happy and excited too, peeking from under her veil.

Petrea said...

Thank you, Ben. Ann was on the wavelength, too, with her archival shots.

Elaine, it was a blast. The show's going to be great (I was trying not to sell too hard in the post). The leading lady sings like an angel and she's funny. Can angels be funny?

pasadenapio said...

Don Pasquale is a perfect first opera for people who are curious about the medium but are afraid that all opera is boring (nothing could be further from the truth!). So get out there and see it, y'all! It's comic opera at its finest.

Virginia said...

Oh the light in this photo is so rich and warm. Wish I could see this performance. You did a fine selling job!

Katie said...

I've never seen Don Pasquale, but now I really want to go to this performance! Your photo makes this woman look so angelic; I had to enlarge it just to make sure this woman was real!

Petrea said...

I hadn't known that, Ann, thank you. I do know Don Pasquale is a short piece, and from the rehearsal I know it's funny. These guys are the ones to do it justice. And tickets at $25 are a bargain (you can pay that for an "obstructed view" of LA Opera, or up to $200 for the good seats).

BTW, they're doing two performances at the church before they begin to tour the piece.

Thanks, Virginia. And the lights will be brighter Thursday.

Katie, she looks angelic but she's devilish, that's part of the fun.

Christie said...

How very fun! That sounds like a great day, glad you had fun!

Ms M said...

I enjoyed your account of the dress rehearsal of Don Pasquale and the mystical photo. If I were in CA, I'd go see it.
I was in many productions during college years and remember the dress rehearsals, the work-throughs and last minute changes. Great fun!

Laurie said...

What a gorgeous image, Petrea! I really would love to see this production.

life observer said...

I like the quality of the interior pic, P.
Another___. No! I'm not gonna say it.

Knoxville Girl said...

This looks like a Dutch masters painting with those rich earth tones grounding your heavenly singer.

Lily Hydrangea said...

Like Katie she looked unreal to me at first too, like a moving doll I thought. Very nice work Petrea.

Petrea said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. Try and go see it. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Observer, I don't know what you were leaving out, but I'm sure it was a polite word.