Friday, October 23, 2009

Another Opening, Another Show

Hello friends. Yes, I’ve been gone awhile. I won’t bore you with the reasons for my brief lack of blogging. All that matters is I’m back. Boy, do I have exciting things to tell you!

I’m sure you’ve heard, but Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci opens our season this weekend (tonight at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre)!

In Pagliacci (“Players” or “Clowns”), betrayal leads to bloody revenge in this story-within-a-story. Canio, playing the role of the clown, is a jealous husband who must bring laughter to his audience even after learning of his wife’s infidelity. Tragic consequences ensue as theatre and real life blur in this verismo shocker. The work features one of opera's most well-known and beloved arias, “Vesti la giubba.”

Sounds better than any reality TV show (and I should know, reality TV is one of guilty pleasures)!

While it’s sung in Italian, there will be English supertitles (so, it’s kind of like watching a foreign film). The opera is accompanied by the fabulous Columbus Symphony Orchestra. And, our friend Christopher Purdy gives a pre-curtain speech one hour before each performance.

Chances are you’ve even heard “Vesti la giubba” or heard culture references to Pagliacci. Here’s some highlight (feel free to use these to impress your friends):

- The music from the famous aria was featured in a 1969 Rice Krispies ad, with the lyrics, “No more Rice Krispies we are out of Rice Krispies. Entertainment Weekly named it as one of the 10 best commercials of all time.

- The 1954 song "Mr. Sandman" contains the line, "Give him a lonely heart like Pagliacci, and lots of wavy hair like Liberace."

- In the 1987 film The Untouchables, Al Capone is attending a performance of the opera, openly crying, when his henchman enters and tells him that he has killed Chicago Police Officer Jim Malone. Capone ceases his tears and laughs quietly.

- On an episode Seinfeld entitled "The Opera", Jerry and Elaine attend a performance of Pagliacci where their stalker disguises himself as Pagliaccio the clown to seek revenge on them.

- The Simpsons had an episode which consisted of the Simpson family going to Italy. The family ended up on stage for a Pagliacci performance with Sideshow Bob trying to kill the whole family as part of the act.

While all these cultural references are dandy, nothing can beat seeing the real thing! Luckily for you, great seats are still available. Prices start at $10 (but you have to buy those at least an hour before each show – preferably long before that)! To order your tickets give my buddies over at the CAPA Ticket Office a call at 614.469.0939 or visit And just because I love my loyal blog readers, feel free to use code SCORE to save 20% off single tickets.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Enjoy Opera for FREE

Ha! I bet I got your attention. That's right, I said it: Come enjoy opera for FREE. Doesn't get much better than free! I mean, come on, free fits in EVERY budget.

Here's our upcoming FREE performances:

Opera Over Lunch

Enjoy beautiful voices and wonderful music over lunch. Two Opera Columbus singers will perform some of Opera's greatest hits during lunch at Easton Town Center. This is a free performance.

Easton Town Square (at Easton Town Center)
160 Easton Town Center
Columbus, OH 43219
12 - 12:45 p.m.

Easton Town Square
Opera Over Lunch

Enjoy beautiful voices and wonderful music over lunch. Two Opera Columbus singers will perform some of Opera's greatest hits during lunch at Easton Town Center. This is a free performance.

Easton Town Square (at Easton Town Center)
160 Easton Town Center
Columbus, OH 43219
12 - 12:45 p.m.

Easton Town Square
Riverfront Arts Festival/WaterFire Columbus

Opera Columbus performs excerpts from Puccini’s classic opera “La Bohème” in English. Performance artist Robert Post makes his opera directing debut.

Riverfront Amphitheater, Genoa Park

Washington Blvd between Broad and Town streets

Columbus, OH 43215

Performance at 7:30 pm

Riverfront Amphitheater, Genoa Park
Opera at the North Market

Come hear some of Columbus' most talented Opera singers as you enjoy all the food and fun the North Market has to offer.

Singers perform from 11 - 11:45 a.m. & 12:15-1 p.m.

The North Market

I'll be there enjoying the beatiful voices and you can bet I'll be doing a little shopping at Easton and the North Market, too. Singing and shopping - two of my favorite things! Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sneak Peak

Underneath it all...everyone's an opera lover. Ain't that the truth?!

See some of the pictures for our season guide, taken by the cool folks at GroovyDoodle Photography, by visiting our facebook fan page. Thanks again to all of our fabulous volunteers!

And keep an eye out... our season guide will be appearing soon!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Let's Go Wild!

...for Opera, that is.

One of my favorite events of the year is happening tomorrow, July 10: Go Wild! for Opera at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

On Monday Bill Boggs, our fabulous Artistic Director and Maestro, super volunteer, Jeryl, and myself joined Suzi Rapp, from the Columbus Zoo, and a baby snow leopard to chat about the upcoming concert with our friends at NBC 4.

We had a great time chatting with Amy and Bob about the event. While I'm a little hurt they opted to use the baby snow leopard to promote the event and not yours truly, I'll get over it (I mean, it was pretty cute).

Our seventh annual concert, One Enchanted Evening: The music of Rodgers & Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber, will feature some of Columbus' favorite peformers. You'll hear songs from your favorite musicals including OKLAHOMA!, The King & I, Evita and Phantom of the Opera. Local media celebrities, Cabot Rea and Chuck Gillespie, will be emceeing the event. The concert at the Zoo begins at 8 p.m.

Adult general admission is $35 but if you use code GWMSNC you can save $10! For tickets call 614-724-3570 or click here. Your ticket gets you into the Zoo all day so be sure to come early and say hello to your favorite animals!

And don't worry about the weather. Bob is forcasting Friday's weather to be mostly sunny, hotter and a bit more humid.

See you at the Zoo!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Opera Unmasked

It's that time of year when we're busy putting together our season guide (it highlights all our upcoming shows). This year's theme (thanks to those creative folks at LondyLawrence) is, "Underneath it all, you're really an opera lover." Now, isn't that the (beautiful) truth?!

We needed some photography for the guide and decided to take our own using our friends, colleagues and volunteers. Our first potential dilemma was finding a photographer who would work with our photography budget (budget = nothing). The amazing Meloney and Adam from GroovyDoodle Photography answered our call! They graciously donated their time and talent. Plus, they're pretty groovy and fun people. We all had a blast working together!

Our next potential issue was finding people willing to be models for our guide. While Lisa Wwas a little worried people wouldn't show up (silly girl!), she had nothing to be worried about. Putting out a call for models on Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, through OC's volunteer groups, sending some e-mail, asking our board members and calling in a few favors we had over 35 beautiful people show up. We had a wide variety of races and ages declaring themselves opera lovers.

To help illustrate our theme we had our models pose with...

...and without a mask (isn't our mini-studio cool?!).
We also shot some amazing photos to use as the main images for each of our upcoming shows (Pagliacci, Mario Lanza Tribute Concert and Romeo & Juliet). While I'd love to share those with you (becasue they are simiply amazing), I don't want to to ruin the surprise.

Stay tuned for updates (and photos) from our season guide!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Breakfast Thrusday

Thursdays might just be the favorite day of the week for Opera Columbus staffers. Why, you ask? Because Thursdays are our weekly staff meetings/breakfast. To make sure there are delightful breakfast goodies to tickle our taste buds we rotate through the staff and everyone takes their turn buying or bringing in breakfast. But, even better than the breakfast treats is the time we have to talk, discuss problems, troubleshoot and brainstorm new ideas.

Whether you're a staff of seven (plus a cow and the occasional office dog) or a staff of 1,000,007 it's important to be on the same page. Eating a meal together allows us to do just that. In fact, our fundrasier "Make Change for Opera" is a product of our weekly breakfast meeting (um, have you donated your chage yet? NO?! There's still plenty of time, click here for more info).

Today while dining at Tommy's Diner on Broad Street (which was AMAZING), I got to share some exciting news: I'm gonna be in the paper! The Columbus Dispatch to be more exact. Yesterday a photographer came to the office to take my picture (which, out of the kindess of my heart, I graciously and humbly permitted Lisa to be in, too) to accompany a story about local arts organizations and their use of social media (a list of most the Columbus arts organizations on Twitter can be found here). We were happy to share our story and why we think social media is so important. I think the article is going to appear on Monday, June 15. Don't worry, I'll let the world know when I make my Columbus print debut.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Make Some Change

It’s no secret that the economy isn’t so great right now. And that not-so-great economy is having an extreme impact on our donors, grants and the organization as a whole. Opera Columbus almost went under three years ago and we are committed to making sure we’re around for a long time. That wouldn’t be possible without the support we’ve received from the Columbus community and our commitment to fiscal responsibility.

I’m gonna be honest with you: Opera Columbus is struggling. We need to raise $90,000 by June 30 to finish the year in the black. (In other words, we need this to meet our budget and not carry forward any debt to next year. It's a big deal.)

Have you ever uddered the phrase, “I’d love to donate to the arts but I just don’t have the money.” I know, I have, too. But even the smallest amounts add up, and this can make a huge difference for Opera Columbus.

How? So glad you asked!

We’re launching a grassroots fundraising campaign called “Make Change for Opera Columbus.” We know times are tough for everyone, but all we’re asking you to do is donate your spare change to Opera Columbus. Come on, I know you have some sitting on top of the dryer or on your dresser. Have a House Coffee instead of a Grande Double Mocha Chip Latte one day and donate the difference to the Opera. $1, $5, $10 from enough people can have a huge impact on Central Ohio’s only professional opera company.

Let me put it this way: My co-worker, Lisa (@Minxy_OperaCols) has 800 followers on Twitter. If each of those followers donated $2, that would raise $1,600 for the organization. $1,600 could pay for an ad to promote our next show, it could pay for English-language supertitles for one production, it could pay for almost three in-school touring shows, it could help pay our utilities, it could pay for hardware used to put together sets onstage for one production…basically, it will help keep us alive and sharing this wonderful artform with our community.
We mean it when we say that every little bit helps.

Where can I donate? Well, friends, there are several ways:

1. Stop by the Opera Columbus offices (177 East Naghten Street) Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. or Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. We’re up on the second floor. You can drop change off there.

2. Visit us at a community programming event:

  • May 30: Opera at the North Market from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Check our calendar of events for other events between now and June 30.
3. Donate online to "Make Change for Opera Columbus"
  • You can donate online using the Twitter application, Tipjoy. You can simply tweet "p $2 @OperaColumbus to help our cause @tipjoy" or use the tool below or in the side bar. You'll need to set up an account with TipJoy in order for your donation to reach Opera Columbus. Read more about TipJoy here.

UPDATE: Don't have a Twitter account but want to donate online? No worries. Just use the "Make Change" tool to your right. All you have to do is enter your e-mail address. Instructions for completing your donation will arrive in your inbox.

How else can I help?
My, you are so thoughtful. Thanks for asking.

One simple way (besides donating) you can help: Tell others. Use the power of social media to share this cause with others. At happy hour, tell your friends. E-mail 10 of your friends and ask them to make some change for Opera Columbus.

Here's another way you can help: Put a change receptacle in your office, business, etc. The more opportunities people have to "Make Change" the more change we can make. Contact Lisa by e-mail, Twitter or phone (614.461.8101) to get a change receptacle. Our goal for "Make Change" isn't to raise the full $90,000 we need, although it would be pretty sweet if we could. Our goal is to "make change" by raising $2,000 by June 30. I believe we can do it (and we can watch the status on our goal tracker to the right). Please consider donating and helping to "Make Change for Opera Columbus." Your $.75, $1.00 or $5.00 donation will make a huge difference and will help to ensure Opera Columbus is around for a long time.

Special thanks to Huntington Bank for generously agreeing to count all the money raised to "Make Change for Opera Columbus." And, thanks to you, in advance, for your support.

Plus, how often can you say, a cow asked me to donate to the opera? It will make for great happy hour/dinner party conversation.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Press Worthy

You know your Opera Company is in good hand/hooves when your Executive Director is often recognized for his good work. And it's recognition from the well respected business community (how often does that happen in the world of arts?). The staff is thrilled that Press is being honored for being the amazing, fearless leader that we all know he is.

Guess I should get to the point and tell you about the award...

Press received the 2009 Pace Setter Executive Award at a ceremony held on May 14, 2009 at the Blackwell Inn on the Campus of The Ohio State University (OSU).

The Pace Setter Executive Award is an annual award given to a “pace setter” of the business community. The Executive Award is one of OSU Fisher College of Business’ most important awards, as it recognizes the ideals that the school strives to instill in its students. Previous award winners include Irving Schottenstein, Charles Y. Lazarus, John B. Gerlach, Sr., Katherine S. LeVeque and John H. McConnell, among others.

And here's a little background on the amazing man:

Press, 1975 OSU graduate and a Vietnam veteran, has been Opera Columbus’ Executive Director since 2006. During this time, he has helped the organization achieve a significant turnaround in its operation and financial well-being. Press is extremely committed to the success and growth of the Columbus arts community and currently serves as the president of the Columbus Cultural Leadership Consortium.

From 1975 to his retirement in 2001, Press was with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), formerly Coopers & Lybrand LLP. The last 17 years, he was a partner in the firm’s financial services practice.

Throughout his career at PwC and into his retirement, Press has been active in community service. He held the position of chair/president for nine different organizations. In the mid-1990s, he received the Beta Alpha Psi (Professional Accounting Fraternity) Outstanding Alumni Award. In June 2007, he was recognized by the Ohio Society of CPAs with the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service to the Profession, its highest honor.

Congrats, Press. You rock!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Bovine Opera

A friend just alerted me to this story about a cow making a run for it in Jamaica, Queens. All I can say is, "You go girl!"

The story of the fleeing cow is very operatic in nature: oppressed female escapes her captors, disappears into the night in a quest for freedom and along the way finds her true love, but in a tragic turn of events the lovers cannot be together (I may have elaborated, just a little). I think the first opera featuring a cow in the leading role might be in the works. I'd be happy to provide input on it's creation. Feel free to contact my agent (note to self: find agent). Oh, I can sing the lead too (note to self: brush up my singing voice) and every note would be extremely mooving.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Columbus Celebration

On Saturday, over 175 people came out to enjoy Opera Ball 25: a Columbus Celebration. As you can see in the video montage above (done by the fabulous Amy Parrish - check out her site here, check out additional photos here and tell all your friends about her), a grand time was had by all. My favorite part of the evening? The Kahiki inspired Mai Tais - they even smoked! It was so cool. I also loved looking at the 30+ silent auction items, encouraging bidding on our seven live auction items, grazing on the food (inspired by iconic Columbus restaurants) and dancing the night away. The next morning my four hooves were still sore from dancing, but the smile was still on my face from the amazing night.

These are the first faces you see as you come into the ball.
Not a bad way to start the evening.

Eric and I took a moment to enjoy the view of the beautiful
Atrium at Nationwide Plaza.

Here Eric and I bid on a fabulous auction item (alas, we did not win).

Here I am talking up the live auction items to Bill Curlis,
one of the Ball co-chairs, and Press.

Here I am enjoying the company of 30+ bottles of wine
(this was our raffle prize of the evening - I'm bummed I didn't win)

Lisa & Ben hadn't seen the dining room, so I
gave them a little tour. It sure looked beautiful!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Chase Away the Rainy Day Blues

In case you didn't know, I'm a bit of an opera geek. I especially love hearing new talent. That's exactly why I'm so excited for our annual Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus International Vocal Competition this weekend! Twenty-eight talented singers from across the nation, ranging in age from 22 - 35, will be coming to Columbus to compete for cash, prizes and operatic glory (and they'll probably be fighting to get their picture taken with yours truly).

The competition begins with the free semi-finals on Saturday (March 28) at 10 a.m. and lasts until 1 p.m. then it's time for a lunch break. The competition resumes at 3:30 and goes until 6 p.m. From there the judges have to narrow the field to eight singers all of whom will sing on Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday's finals cost $10 (and are free to Opera Columbus subscribers) . Tickets are available at the door the day of the finals. We're supposed to have showers all weekend in Columbus so I can think of nothing better to beat the rainy day blues than by listening to some amazing opera singers.

I promise you this year's competition will be one the best yet. We have three amazing judges: Kristin Cowdin (Artist Manager at Guy Barzilay), Diane Kesling (accomplished opera singer and director) and Lenore Rosenberg (Associate Artistic Administrator of the Metropolitan Opera). The very talented Donna Hallen Loewy will be our accompanist for the weekend (her fingers are going to be tired after playing for 28 people on Saturday and eight more on Sunday!).

Best of all, this year's competion is going to be dedicated to our dear friend, Paul Hickfang. Paul has been involved with the competition since it's inception. Paul passed away earlier this year. We miss him dearly and are looking forward to honoring him this weekend.

Special thanks to Johanna, Jeryl, Eric and all our wonderful volunteers for making this weekend possible.

Hope I see you at Weigel Hall (on OSU's campus) this weekend! Seriously, take this cow's word - you don't want to miss it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish Broadway

Let me let you in on a little secret. I love (LOVE) NPR. I mean, I can't get enough. If this makes me a super geek, so be it. I would be lost with out National Public Radio.

This morning I was listening to 89.7 WOSU and I heard the most fascinating story about Naghten Street, the very street on which Opera Columbus sits! My favorite part of the story was learning that the street was once called Irish Broadway. How cool is that?!?! Picture it: lots of green, sparkly costumes, gold tap shoes, top hats... I digress.
So, thanks to our friends at WOSU (and information from the historical marking on the street) here's a wee bit o' Columbus Irish history for you in honor of St. Patrick's Day:

Thousands of Irish immigrants came to Columbus to seek personal and religious freedom. With the "Great Hunger" in Ireland and the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the National Road, immigration to Columbus increased in the mid nineteenth century. They initially settled in the north side of the city in the swamp flats, where inexpensive land was available and work could be had on the railroads. Settlement spread to Franklinton, on Naghten Street, later known as "Irish Broadway"- part of which is now Nationwide Boulevard, and to nearby Flytown. The immigrants became domestic workers, civil servants, entrepreneurs, and served the city in police and fire departments. Others were leaders in government, law, medicine, and education. Their legacy continues today in the Irish-American population of Columbus, Ohio.

These are only a representative few of the Irish individuals and groups who were prominent in the formation of Columbus. IRISH IN COLUMBUS BEFORE OHIO STATEHOOD Lucas Sullivant, Founder of Franklinton in 1797 John Brickell, Early settler IRISH IN COLUMBUS DURING EARLY STATEHOOD Thomas Kirker, Ohio's 2nd governor, acting 1807-08 term John Kerr, 2nd Mayor of Columbus Alfred Kelley, Father of Ohio Canals, Ohio and Erie Canal Developer, and Legislator IRISH IN COLUMBUS AFTER THE GREAT HUNGER (1845) Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis, St. Francis Hospital Dominican Sisters, St. Mary of the Springs, St. Mary of the Springs Academy William "Billy" Naghten, Columbus City Council President Patrick Egan, Franklin County Coroner for ten terms Jeremiah O'Shaughnessy, Superintendent, Division of Water, Columbus, Ohio.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cast Your Ballot

So, my blog-reading friends, I have a teeny, tiny favor to ask of you.

Columbus Monthly is a top-notch, monthly magazine here in beautiful Columbus. Each year they have a "Best of Columbus" issue where people can vote on everything from the best Columbus Chinese restaurant to TV anchor to performing arts organization (you see where this is going?). Here's where we need your help. Please take a minute and cast your vote for Opera Columbus as your favorite Columbus performing arts organization. Click here to cast your ballot. It only takes a few minutes and you could win a $100 gift certificate from one of the restaurants voted best by the readers of the poll. Plus you will receive my undying love and affection (and I know that's what everyone really wants).

Oh, and it would be pretty awesome if you voted for "Udderly Fabulous" as the best blog. Just throwing that out there (hint, hint).

For my Columbus-based readers, don't forget it's Restaurant Week! More than 40 Dine Original member restaurants, from casual to fine dining, are participating. Each restaurant has prepared a special fixed-priced menu- some restaurants at $15 and some at $30 (excluding gratuity and tax). I've already been to a couple, and take my word for it - the menus are to die for! It's such an amazing deal!

So, first, vote for Opera Columbus (and "Udderly Fabulous") then treat yourself to an amazing dinner at one of Columbus' best restaurants. You deserve it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thank You Columbus!

If you missed Turandot (and shame on you if you did), you missed an amazing production! We had an awesome cast, chorus, stage crew, production team and audience. It was our best attended show since moving back to the Ohio Theatre. Over 4,000 people saw our production of Turandot (4,602 to be exact). All I can say is, "WOW!" Thank you so much for your support of Opera Columbus. We literally wouldn't be here without you.

Besides a great production, we also had an amazing party after the show (special thanks to Activities Coordinator, Jeryl). I think this proves how cool opera really is. Now, aren't you sad you weren't there?

And I'm thinking now would be a good time to buy your tickets to our next production, The Mikado. Get on it.

Happy Weekend!

OC Board Member Lori with her husband Bob who
made his Opera Columbus debut playing a great Prince of Persia

Getting some love from ASM, Alicia

Othalie's mom, funny-man Dean Anthony
and the fabulous Othalie Graham

Mark Andrew Baker and I share a slice of yummy pizza

Eric, who played an amazing Madarin and his friend Jay

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Ice Princess Cometh

Columbus is a buzz with excitement over everyone's favorite opera ice princess, Turandot!

This week we've been thrilled to have articles in papers like
The Columbus Dispatch, This Week News and Suburban News Publications. We've visited Sunny 95's morning show and chatted about opera with Dino and Shawn:
And we've had fun visiting our friends at NBC 4 this morning (and Monday) and telling them about our exciting production. Here we are (feeling like the stars we are) waiting to go to the set:

It's been a blast chatting with folks and telling them about this great production! Know what would be even better? Seeing you there! Just in case you missed it, tickets are $10 - $102.50. Call CAPA at 614.469.0939 or click here to buy your tickets.

As my fabulous friend Othalie Graham says in
the Dispatch article, "It's such an exciting story that is easy to follow. If you've never gone to the opera, this is the opera to go to."

There you go people, listen to the lady and get yourself to the opera!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

$10 Tickets - Doesn't get better than that!

Just in case you haven't purchased your tickets (tsk, tsk)... I want to remind you that Turandot opens this weekend at the Ohio Theatre. And guess what? You can see this world-class production for as little as $10. Yes, you read that right - $10!!! Basically, for the price of a movie ticket you can see LIVE opera in the beautiful Ohio Theatre. Details about the offer are below:

Opera Columbus is offering $10 rear mezzanine general admission tickets to its upcoming production of Turandot on Friday, February 20 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 22 at 2 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre.

“The economy is affecting us all,” said Executive Director Press Southworth. “During these tough times we want to continue to make sure the opera is accessible to all.”

The $10 rear mezzanine general admission tickets are available by calling 614.469.0939 or visiting Tickets are also available at the door; however, the $10 tickets will stop being sold one hour before each show. The box office opens two hours before each performance.

Reserved seating with ticket prices ranging from $27.50 - $102.50 is also available at the above locations.

Sung in Italian with English Supertitles, Turandot will be performed at the Ohio Theatre on Friday, February 20 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 22 at 2 p.m. WOSU’s Christopher Purdy will be giving pre-curtain talks starting an hour before the show. Tickets are available by calling 614.469.0939 or visiting

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I heart Carl (and Turandot)

The most dashing blogging livestock this side of the Mississippi

Moooooooo! There aren't words to describe the excitement and it's not just because Turandot opens in three days. It's because I got to meet Carl, Opera Cleveland's blogging chicken (Ohio has talented livestock). We decided to get together to dictate... I mean help with the set assembly. Enjoy the pictures from my day with Carl.

Meet Marv. He plays the Price of Persia's head.
Who says Opera isn't exciting?

We took some time to discuss stage managing Turandot with Kevin.
I don't think he was responsive to the suggestion of adding
some cows and chickens into the crowd scenes.

Just making sure Kevin had all his notes in place.
He did. Man, talk about organization. Kevin rocks!

Here we are reenacting the kiss between Turandot and Calaf.
(NOTE: While I heart Carl, my heart still belongs to Stinger.)
We really feel there should be more roles for chickens and cows in opera.

The set was shipped in a huge semi-truck in lots of pieces.
Each piece is marked by scene so you know how to put it
back together. It's like a big, fun, opera puzzle!

A little to the left gentlemen!

Singing our hearts out to the beautiful Ohio Theatre and imagining the
standing ovation that we would surely receive (if there was an audience).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Behind the Scenes

One of my favorite reasons for working at the opera is seeing all the magic that goes on behind the scenes to make the show come together. There's costumes to fit and tailor (and sometimes to build), wigs to fit and style (this show has over 50 wigs/hair pieces!), lights to position, sets to come together...the list can go on and on. What some people don't realize is that this happens in three (sometimes less) short weeks! *sigh* I heart opera.

Here's my picture recap from the last week. Enjoy!

Trying on one of the many masks used in the show.

Ever wondered how the opera singer know where to
stand/move if there's no set with which to practice?
We tape the floor. The different color tape is
for the different sets. Here are some stairs

Here I am helping Eric (playing the Mandarin)
and Wayne (our costumer) with costume fittings.

Here's our fabulous hair & makeup guru, Chris.
He's fitting Bob Murray (Prince of Persia) with his wig (poor Bob,
the Prince of Persia loses his head - literally - during the show).

Tickets are still available (but going fast). Get yours today by calling 614.469.0939 or clicking here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Drinking & Singing

I can't imagine a more perfect evening - opera and cocktails.

Opera Columbus hosted another fabulous Meet & Greet on February 6. Guests were able to watch a Turandot rehearsal then were invited to La Chatelaine to enjoy drinks and fantastic food. Special thanks to
Jeryl, OC's Activities Coordinator, and Gigi, La Chatelaine's owner, for such a great night!

Want your chance to mingle with the cast? Well then, buy your tickets to Turandot! To order call 614.469.0939 or visit Use code FRIEND for 20% off single tickets! (Yes, this is a shameless plug, but it's my blog, so I'll plug away!). After the February 20 show join us for the after party at Due Amici ($40/per person). Call 614.461.8101 x31 to RSVP.

With funny man Mark Andrew Baker, the lovely
Diana McVey and the talent pianist Ed Bak.

Here I am with the amazing stage director, John Hoomes.
Special shout out to my Nashville Opera fans. You guys rock!

With the oh, so beautiful (and funny) Othalie Graham.

Here I am with the amazing Jay Kromalic, our board president.

I'm starstruck in this picture! I got to meet my favorite
Ryan Pretorius, and his lovely friend, Jessica

So excited to have my picture with ALIVE's
Miss Bella and Sir Thomas.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Will Sing the Song of Purple Summer

Have I mentioned (lately) how much I love Columbus? What a wonderful town we call home! Beside the opera, there are so many cool things to do and see. We have a world-class arts scene right here in our own back yard.

Helping that arts community thrive is Broadway Across America. They are wonderful partners for us and are always anxious to help us out. Basically, we love them & what they do.

This week the touring Broadway show, Spring Awakening, stops in Columbus. Last night I was lucky enough to see the show and meet the very talented cast (um, have I mentioned that I also really, REALLY, love my job).

Besides winning the 2007 Tony Award and learning that Blake Bashoff (who played Karl on LOST) was in the show I was pretty unfamiliar with it. I think that was a good thing for me because I saw the show with fresh eyes and no preconceived notions (Phantom of the Opera was totally ruined for me when I knew all the special effects before evening seeing it).

Set in Germany in 1891 (but dialogue and songs are performed using modern day language and slang) the musical focuses on teenage self-discovery. The characters yearn for more information but are denied by their puritan parents and elders in their quest for answers. This results in the audience seeing all the trials and tribulations of the teenagers' journey through puberty. The characters explore their sexuality, abuse, suicide, abortion and everything in between (there's also some brief nudity). This is a show for mature audiences.

While the subject matter is serious the energy from the cast, the amazing voices (especially that of Steffi D, a top five finalist on Canadian Idol) the indie-rock style of singing and the catchy tunes will have you tapping your toes and glued to your seat (and trying to resist the urge to get up and dance!).

See it before it's too late (it's in town through Sunday). Click here to buy your tickets now! It's a show you don't want to miss.

(Special thanks to @BroadwayAllison for my udderly awesome backstage experience!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Just Another Day at the Office

I love my job. The other day I got to hang out and chat with our two awesome Turandot leads - Othalie Graham and Randolph Locke. Can I just say that they are fab-u-lous! Opera singers are so cool (I mean, not as cool as blogging opera cows, but pretty darn close).
Here I am posing with our talented and marvelous stars. "Mimi, why on earth are they wearing sunglasses inside," I hear you asking. Well, let me explain:

1. The sun (that bright object in the sky that usually provides heat) actually made an appearance in Columbus (shocking, I know).
2. We have a real problem with Opera paparazzi outside our office (they often want to snap our photo as we dash off to another exciting Opera Columbus event *sigh*) so the glasses helped to disguise our artists.

From what I hear, practices are going extremely well. In just two days (TWO DAYS!) they already have act one blocked. Needless to say, it's gonna be a good show. Have you bought your tickets yet? NO? Get on it! Call 614.469.0939 or visit to buy tickets today. Enjoy 20% off single tickets by using the code: FRIEND.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Turandot - Day 1

Moooooooo - opera makes me so excited!

Here I am. Excited & waiting for rehearsal to start.

This is one of my favorite days during production time - the first day of rehearsal. This is the first time all the singers have come together to sing for this production. I was lucky enough to sit in on today's rehearsal. Let me tell you - these amazingly talented artists did not disappoint. Powerful and beautiful voices filled the rehearsal space (which is a church community room - ha, you thought opera was so fancy!).
Press greets the artists. From Left to Right: Gene Allen (Emperor Altoum),
Mark Andrew Baker (Ping), Dean Anthony (Pong), Eric Johnston (Pang),
Othalie Graham (Turandot), Randolph Locke (Calaf), Diana McVey (Liu),
Sun Yu (Timur) & Eric McKeever (Mandarin).

Day one is the only time where the artists sit and sing through their parts. Speaking of parts, they come with their part memorized so they can dive right into the rehearsal process. Which they do almost instantly. Can you believe we mount a full-scale grand opera in only three weeks? That's pretty incredible!

These are the incredible folks that help make the opera magic happen.
From back to front: Ed Bak (Pianist), Bill Boggs (Artistic Director/Conductor/Chorusmaster),
John Hoomes (Stage Director), Kevin Lohr (Director of Production/Stage Manager)
& Alicia Boggs (Assistant Stage Manager).