Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tours New Zealand Bicycle

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Cycling New Zealand Adventure South Bicycle Tours New Zealand ...
Small group bicycle tours and cycling vacations exploring the quiet backroads of New Zealand. Adventure South cycle tours are fully lodged, catered and bus ...

Opera Backstage, Lobby, and What I Wore . . .

As promised, some of the photos from the backstage tour arranged for those of us Blogging at the Opening Night, World Premiere, of the Vancouver Opera's Lillian Alling. But before I tell you what caught my eye, and why, I'd like to suggest that if you've never been to opera before, this is a great way to start, an exciting and accessible introduction which nonetheless offers something new for longtime afficionados. If you're anywhere near Vancouver, I highly recommend Lillian as a great night out. Dress up or don't -- the crowds are always mixed enough at the Queen E. that you'll feel comfortable whatever you choose.

So you want a sneak peek backstage? Above is the stage manager's guidebook -- as you can see, the score is festooned with layers and layers of colour-coded post-it notes. Every imaginable detail is planned for.

More evidence of the careful planning needed to ensure that there are no uncomfortable surprises onstage: a table laid out with the smaller props singers need to grab on their way to the front, divided by coloured tape into sections and labelled with the name of the prop that belongs in that rectangle. Here's the beer stein Lillian needs for the scene in which she tracks her putative fiancé to a farm in North Dakota.

Was it silly of me to feel a wee frisson of recognition when I saw it in her hands onstage? (Hey, I saw that on the backstage table!)

More props.
These ones below -- pertinent to the Ellis Island scene -- don't fit on a table, but are equally meticulously placed.

The Datsun pickup that Jimmy uses to move Irene from her wilderness cabin to her new home in the city runs on tracks -- again, each time it emerged as part of the "frame story" I felt a secret insider's enjoyment at knowing how it worked. And now you've seen it too!

I have a few more photos -- the starkly unadorned, yet ever-so-versatile set, a lone bicycle on its stand waiting for its turn up front, but I only took my little camera and the shots aren't great. If I get another invitation to Bloggers Night at the Opera, I'm considering a Canon PowerShot like my daughter's (really don't feel like lugging my Nikon SLR -- my bag was already heavy enough with the Netbook).
And if I ever get another invitation, I'm going to find a way to get out and about to photograph some outfits and/or shoes. I did manage one shot last night, of these two charming women who were near our table. I couldn't help notice the black-and-white-jacketed woman commenting on her friend's spectacular shoes -- which were then removed and examined. I totally recognized that moment and hurried over to ask if I might snap shoes and friends.
We joked about that pigeon-toed pose so often assumed in those fashionista shots
and kidded around about poses in general

and while I'm not going to give Sart any competition -- and Tish needn't worry that I'll move to Paris and take over her street shots -- I had fun and would definitely try to do more of this another time.

As it was, I felt obligated to sit at that blogging table and write! And for someone who usually only writes in the quiet of her own space and who tries to edit reasonably carefully (not saying I don't make proof-reading mistakes, but I do generally at least make a decent effort), it's a completely different experience to blog as close to live as we did last night.
To Ling Chan, the VOA's Social Media Manager, thank you so much for inviting me to participate and for treating me so well.
Thank you as well to my fellow bloggers who were helpful, friendly, and reassuring.
And thanks to the VOA -- front-of-the-house, backstage folks, performers, donors -- all of you who have worked to put Vancouver on the world's opera map for many decades (as recalled in the numerous tributes to Joan Sutherland that circulated last week, recalling her debut here), but who are obviously never content to rest on your laurels. Bravo!
Oh, you're still wondering what I wore last night? There was a last-minute change of mind (I may tell some of you later), and this is what I went out the door in:
A black stretch-lace dress I've had for a couple of years; the chocolate gold beads I've been wearing lots lately, gold hoops (which I could imagine Lillian sporting) and a silver cuff with a big piece of Baltic amber -- Paul brought me this back from Russia about ten years ago, and I thought it let me channel Lillian, the Russian emigré.
And these burgundy Fluevogs whose heel would have been tough for Lillian when she was climbing those northern mountains or swaying across that suspension bridge -- but their retro styling struck me as another way to channel her late 1920s adventure. (Another attraction of this production -- you'll love the costumes, really!)

Contrary to my three posts from last night, I seem to have managed this without a single "Wow." That's good, because I've used up my year's supply of goofy expostulations. If you go, feel free to use a few on my behalf, though -- just be sure to let me know. I'd love to share impressions.