Our 40th Anniversary season really takes off this October, and this coming weekend alone is packed with operatic action. Saturday, October 17th, Virginia Western Community College hosts the Met "Live in HD" broadcast of Verdi's great Otello. Click here to see a clip from the Met's acclaimed new production. The curtain goes up at 12:55, but come to the Whitman Auditorium at 12:30 for my "opera insights" introduction to Otello, the new production, the Met HD season AND Opera Roanoke's "Ruby" Anniversary.
After catching the first act of Otello, I'll be dashing over to the Taubman Museum of Art for the first of this season's "Listening to Paintings" programs, where I pair music and poetry with some of the art on exhibit in the Taubman's galleries.
We're in the middle of Sweeney Todd rehearsals for our super cool new production.
Our new production of Sweeney Todd originated at Theatre Zone in Naples, FL. Our long-time lighting designer, Tlaloc Lopez-Watermann told me about this production and its director, Mark Danni. The concept of having a minimalist set and creatively using a few props immediately appealed to me. The main prop is a coffin, which first appears in the guise of a boat, carrying Sweeney Todd and Anthony up the Thames to London. It also serves as the Judge's podium, as Mrs Lovett's kitchen table, and Sweeney's platform. The production is further stylized by the elimination of mimed deaths, fake blood, etc. One of our ensemble members will act as an "angel of death" and appear with a red scarf to give to each of Todd's victims. I wanted to further stylize this production by having Tlaloc create projections which will appear on the upstage wall of the set, adding atmosphere to what is already a moody show. The "goth / steam-punk" look Mark has chosen for the costumes and make-up is a great fit for the pared-down production. The look will also "read" very well for our Halloween weekend performances of Sondheim's great "musical thriller." I couldn't be more excited about bringing this production to our audiences. In addition to being a little spooked, I know they'll be entertained and ultimately moved by the tragic tale and its effect on Sondheim's characters.