After arriving at around 6:00, we begun our whirlwind tour of the Newmark Theatre backstage. This particular performance is a Studio Artist production, that accepts performers from different conservatories and training programs for opera performers.
Because many (I think all) of us are relatively unfamiliar with opera, the tour was a 101 crash-course in the backstage operations that it takes to run a smaller opera. We were able to see the backstage and we actually ran into “Pluto” while backstage, who will be a part of the Monteverdi acts.
The backstage was surprisingly small, there was barely room for the seven of us on the tour to walk through without running into the lighting on the sides of the stage. For this size production, there are only four or five backstage hands rather than the 30 to 40 that it takes to run a show in the Keller Auditorium.
The benefits? At this theater, every seat is no more than 65 feet away from the stage.
We just finished meeting the stage director, Nic Muni, and receiving our backstage tour Laura Hassell, director of production for the Portland Opera.
Each of them were extremely helpful in giving us an idea of what has gone into making this opera. While Hassell’s main domain is the technical aspect of making the show happen, Muni has been working on the conceptual aspect of this production for a year now.
According to Muni, the two Monteverdi acts that we will see tonight have never been performed together; and the Portland Opera has pulled elements from each of the works in order for them to relate to both each other and the Portland Opera season, Love & Marriage. Interestingly, Muni and others made their own arrangement for this evening. Muni is anxious to hear what others think about how they have arranged it.
I’d like to thank Spencer Degerstedt, my friend and official photographer today for making others and me nervous by snapping shots when we least expect it and also covering the backstage tour/ conversations.