Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Backstage at Madama Butterfly

Photo by Nanc Price courtesy of Edmonton Opera

I tend to live in my own head getting ready for the Opera. While I'm in my performance prep mode, I don't start to get a sense of the character until the make-up, wig, and costume are all on. Each of these layers creates a comfortable facade in which I feel free to play. This sense of play manifests when I walk through the lobby speaking Japanese to the audience members or when I am giggling with my fellow geishas. At the same time, it all feels very natural to me. I'm just amplifying characteristics of myself that would be suitable in this role, such as my love for Hello Kitty and black eyeliner. Perhaps I am not so different from my geisha character after all. Since this production of Madama Butterfly has modern and traditional elements, I kept this in mind when I decorated my vanity backstage to incorporate traditional elements my Geisha side would enjoy but also my modern-day love of Hello Kitty.

Everybody has their favorite things to do backstage. Some choristers like reading quietly at their backstage space or playing cards in the green room. Tucking my smartphone into my obi, I wander the backstage halls and watch the show from the wings of the stage. I love squinting through the bright lights flooding across the stage from the other wing as I catch fragments of action that appear in the black curtain frame I have chosen to stand next to. One of my favorite moments of the production is watching Cio-Cio-San sit in concentration as the lighting changes from dusk to dawn with only orchestral accompaniment.

There is also a point when a blogger needs to know when to step aside and refer you, dear reader, to photography to tell the story. This is one of those times. Follow Nanc Price as she follows the EO Chorus backstage. My words do not do justice to the images of backstage naturalness in which she captures her subjects. Do visit her Madama Butterfly and visit her photoset for all her photos.

photo by Nanc Price courtesy of Edmonton Opera

Photo by Nanc Price courtesy of Edmonton Opera

Thanks again for my photographer behind-the-scenes, Nanc Price, who supplied all the photos for this post and whose unwavering enthusiasm powered me through tech week and the show's run!

See Madama Butterfly two more times this week on April 8 and 10 at 7:30 PM. Tickets are available online or calling the EO box office at 780-429-1000. Nanc Price also has an archival photo exhibit from our current Madama Butterfly production with the first production in 1963 in the lobby of the Jubilee for your perusal at intermission. Don't miss it!