Wednesday, October 29, 2008

With a Tweet, Tweet Here

Please forgive me, loyal readers. After a busy week and and even busier weekend I took some vacation days to recover. But, I'm back at it and have a ton of exciting things to share.

First, let's talk about the Tweet-up. For those of you saying, "A Tweet-what?," let me explain. Some of the staff members are active on Twitter (Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Thank you, Wikipedia.). Twitter allows us to share all the fun stuff that goes on behind the scenes with our friends/followers. Twitter people are cool and like to get together face-to-face thus resulting in a Tweet-up. This is a time for Tweeple (Twitter people) to network, socialize and enjoy some food.

To share our love of opera with our Twitter friends we decided to host a Tweet-up before our Pearl Fishers dress rehearsal and invite everyone to stay and watch the rehearsal. We had a great turnout with about 55 people in attendance. Special thanks to Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and The Refectory for providing us with door prizes for the event. We heard a lot of people saying it was their first opera experience and where surprised to find out how much they enjoyed it. Some of our friends even wrote a few blogs about it (to read them click here, here and here). Check out some of the great Twitter feedback here and here.

I like to start with dessert first

Posing with Twitter-er extraordinaire Rocky (@rockson)

Providing our friendly bartender with a little help

Smiling for the Camera with Jason (@blantonious)

Press and I marveling (and sampling) the
amazing food spread

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let's Go on with the Show!

It's Pearl Fishing time in Columbus! Our set has arrived, we've moved to the Ohio Theatre, the CSO is back and it's almost show time. Tonight is an exciting night because not only is it our final dress rehearsal, it's also the night of the Opera Columbus Tweet-up. I can't wait to meet all of our Twitter friends and see what they think about the artform we all love. But, I'll have more on that tomorrow.

So, I was helping Lisa with some media relations items on Monday (that girl would be lost without me) and decided to snap a few behind the scenes shots. And, after watching rehearsal, I promise you an amazing show. Order your tickets today. And just because I'm a generous bovine I'll offer you 20% off single tickets. All you have to do is call 614-469-0939 and mention you'd like a G-Type ticket. Enjoy!

Look at that marquee! I love seeing our name in lights!

Eric and I marvel and the beautiful Ohio Theatre.

Posing with Assistant Stage Manager, Alicia, on our awesome set.

Props table. Lots of fun stuff here!

This is basically command central for the Opera. From this
perch is where Stage Manager Kevin makes all the calls.

With prop man extraordinaire, James. Props are very important.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Do You Believe in Magic?

Busy doesn't even begin to describe the goings on here at Opera Columbus. It's a good busy though. There is also a certain excitement in the air. After all, The Pearl Fishers opens at the Ohio Theatre one week from today! Hooray! (Seriously, get your tickets now. Rumor has it that this is the best cast we've ever had!)

The artists have been in town for two weeks rehearsing the show. But, it takes more than just the folks on stage to make opera magic. It takes a lot of people working behind the scenes to make sure what you see on stage is the best opera possible.

So my friends, follow me on a pictorial tour of the people that make the opera magic happen.

Artist Transportation & Housing:

Here at am at with Joe of Roush Honda and Kevin, our director
of production.Roush Honda donates rental cars for our
artists to use while they're in Columbus. Looking for a
new car? Need a tune up? Wanna talk to some super
nice people? Then I suggest you visit our friends at Roush.

The whole Opera Columbus staff goes to pick up the cars and
drop them off wherever the artists are staying. Here I am
navigating for Lisa (she tends to be directionally-challenged).

I made a new friend with Nick, the manager of the hotel
where are artists are staying. He was excited to have
our talented artists stay at their hotel and asked
lots of questions about opera.

For each opera we rent our costumes and they arrive
in boxes. I'm helping sort out all the pieces.

Once sorted, the costumes are hung up, labeled and tailored
to each performer. Donna and Wayne, our wardrobe team do a great job!

I couldn't help it, I had to try on some of the costume pieces. Don't tell.


We have a great partnership with the ad agency LondyLawrence. Working
closely with Lisa, our director of Marketing & PR, they develop
creative ideas and marketing pieces. Did you see our beautiful
Season Guide? Yeah, they are the creative genius' behind it.
Looking for an ad agency that rocks? LondyLawrence is your answer.

Clooney, the Opera Dog, and I also provide marketing support.

Wigs & Makeup:
Just this week the wig and makeup team arrived. They have to design
and style about 50 wigs/hair pieces. Here I am giving Chris a few tips.

Here I am watching Christine do her design thing.

Look at all the cool wigs designed and styled by the team from
Cosmic Hair and Makeup
. They are amazing and super
fun to work with, too!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Celebrate Good Times

Opera people are fun people. Surprised to hear that? Well, I swear it's true. Opera people also love to party (no wonder I love opera as much as I do). To give people a chance to see the rehearsal process and chat with the cast Opera Columbus hosted a Meet & Greet on Friday. Here are some fun pictures taken at La Chatelaine after the rehearsal. Enjoy!

Here I am with Alicia, the Assistant Stage Manager,
and Kevin, Director of Production and State Manager.

With friends Mike, Andrew and Justin.

With Vale and Willie. I had to try Vale's drink.
Not gonna lie. It was good.

With the fabulous Ed. He's also our rehearsal
accompanist. Man, can he tickle those ivories.

With my friend, Thomas.

With Press, our Executive Director, and
Donna, our Director of Finance.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Cow-lumbus Day!

Holy opera cow! It's one of my favorite holidays - Columbus Day! Silly, I know, but what can I say? I'm nuts about this town.

Susan and I discuss which fabulous Columbus
spot we should visit first. I vote for the Zoo,
she votes for BalletMet.

My friends over at Experience Columbus have teamed up with Dine Originals Columbus and a lot of local arts/cultural organizations to provide fantastic discounts all weekend! (Wish Opera Columbus could participate but we don't have a performance this weekend. Oh, well, more time to experience all the other fabulous places in Columbus!) Want to learn more about Experience Columbus Days? Click here to download the discount flyer.

Stop reading this blog and get out and experience all our beautiful city has to offer. And, keep an eye out for me! Wonder if they'll notice if I leave early today...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oh Say Can You See!

My heart is still pounding from the excitement. I just met Leo Welsh, the OFFICIAL National Anthem singer for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was kind enough to pose with me, one of his biggest fans.
Leo, my friends, is an opera singer. That's right. The cute guy you cheer for at Nationwide Arena also sings the operatic greats. In fact, he's in the chorus for our upcoming production of The Pearl Fishers. Do you need any more reasons to buy tickets?

Oh, I might have casually mentioned that I really like Stinger (a lot). Guess what? Leo said he's going to help me meet him. MOO! I'm so excited! Now I need to figure out what I'm going to wear when I meet him. I love life here at the Opera Columbus office!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Pearl Fishers Cast is in Columbus!

There are some times when it's appropriate to cheer. And, there are times when a cheer just doesn't cut it and you have to moo! This is one of those cases... MOO! I'm so excited The Pearl Fishers artists have arrived!

The Opera Columbus office is popping and cracking. The costumers are here doing fittings and preparing the outfits for the show. Chorus and principal artists are in and out of the office for meetings and costume fittings. The staff is equ
ally as busy getting ready for students to attend our dress rehearsal, working on organizing our Tweet-up, talking with reporters and, basically, making sure everything comes together to ensure this show is a success.

I was lucky enough to sit in the first sing-thru with the principal artists. It was AMAZING. The voices are warm and gorgeous. And speaking of gorgeous, the cast is full of beautiful people and they are all as nice as nice can be. Just goes to show - Opera is sexy! And here's the proof:

Meet the beautiful and talented, Diane Alexander. This stunning soprano plays Leïla, priestess of Brahma. She's also in all our ads for the show. This is her second time singing with Opera Columbus (she played the lead in The Merry Widow in Feb 2007). She's the first part of the tragic love triangle in the show.

Here I am helping Vale Rideout do a little brush up before rehearsal began. I think he was surprised a cow knew so much about opera. Vale is a handsome and charming guy who plays Nadir, a fisherman, the romantic tenor. Vale's the second part of the love triangle.

Next we have the dreamy baritone - Philip Cutlip. He's a charmer ladies (and couldn't resist kissing the cutest cow he's ever met *sigh*). He gives Stinger a run for his money. Philip plays Zurga, king of the fishermen. Philip completes the show's love triangle.

Central Ohio based bass-baritone, Brian Banion, completes the pricipal cast of The Pearl Fishers. Brian plays the high priest of Brahma, Nourabad. Brian is hilarious and has a killer smile (when he actualy smiles for the camera). Brian does wonderful things for Opera Columbus! He's often in our productions and frequently sings with our community programs.

But all the talent isn't just on the the stage! We are lucky to have, in my opinion, one of the best conductors and stage directors in the business.

Here I am with my good friend, Bill Boggs. Not only is he OC's artistic director, he's the conductor for The Pearl Fishers. We are so lucky to have someone so talented living and working right here in Columbus. Here we are studying the score. He often consults me before a big gig. I'm his go-to-cow.
I was able to corner stage director William Florescu today when he was in the office. Biff, as he's know to his friends (which would be me), is a busy guy. He's also the General Director of Florentine Opera Company in Milwaukee (I have some cousins in Mikwaukee, maybe I'll have to drop by for a visit sometime). He's in rehearsal most of the day and is also remotely running an opera company. I'm hoping he finds some time to sleep.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates! And while you're some tickets to the show at the Ohio Theatre on October 24 at 8 p.m. and October 26 at 2 p.m. Call 614.469.0939 or visit

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let's Go Jackets!

Last night I joined OC Executive Director Press, Director of Production Kevin, Director of Education & Community Programming Eric and Director of Marketing & Public Relations Lisa for a Blue Jackets game at Nationwide Arena. Even though my beloved Jackets lost, we still had a lot of fun!

Not only do I love Opera, I'm pretty crazy about hockey, too. Plus, I love supporting any Columbus-based team. Come to think o
f it, I may be a little biased towards the Blue Jackets because I think their mascot, Stinger, is really cute. If anyone knows Stinger and can arrange a little meeting with the cutest cow in Columbus I'd be eternally grateful. Enjoy the picture highlights!

The gang before the game began.

Quick picture with Press & Lisa. Lisa needs to go
shopping for some Blue Jackets apparel, she's wearing an
Otterbein sweatshirt. The nerve! We're having
a talk about this on Monday.

I join Kevin and Eric cheering - GOAL!

Right after the first period. It was all tied up! Who
do I need to know to be one of the lucky folks that
get to ride and wave on the Zamboni?

FIGHT! Huge fight breaks out during the second
period. The Sabre's goalie & another player were
thumping on Rick Nash. Lots of players got involved.
Pretty sure we saw the ref pick up teeth.

*Sigh* Stinger, I heart you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Lovely Day

Holy cow! It is crazy busy here on East Naghten Street. Things are so busy that they've put yours truly to work - I've been helping move boxes, stuff envelopes, run errands, make artist arrangements, etc. This has left me with little time to blog. Today, I finally put my hoof down. I will not take on any more projects until I can blog! So here it goes...

Opera Columbus has many excellent volunteer groups. These volunteer groups perform various functions from serving as manning the Opera Columbus booth at various festivals to fundraising. They are the heart of of Opera Columbus.

President of Les Claqueurs, Esther (right), your favorite blogging
bovine and another fabulous Claqueurs member

Last Wednesday, I, along with most of the OC staff, had the pleasure of attending the annual picnic of Les Claqueurs. Les Claqueurs is a unique club of senior volunteers interested in advancing the purposes of Opera Columbus.

At the picnic, we were able to talk about all the super fantastic things going on at Opera Columbus. We talked about our upcoming production of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers and the most exciting thing (in my humble opinion) was talking about our new blog. The Claqueurs seemed excited to meet me and herded around demanding to be photographed with their new favorite cow. I, of course, happily obliged.

Here I am with our hosts Dick and Ginny and Claqueurs
member, Harriett. Harriett is a woman after my own heart.
Way to promote the show, my friend!

They are a fun group of people and boy, oh boy, can they cook up a storm! They take their picnics seriously. I couldn't help but go up for seconds (hey, it's pumpkin pie, it was calling my name):