I’m super excited to be blogging tonight from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for the world premiere of Lillian Alling by the Vancouver Opera! Some of you may remember my blog post last year from Rigoletto, and this year I’m back for opening night of the 2010/11 season.
What the heck does the Opera have to do with what we do, you might ask? Easy!
- Appreciation of the arts spans all forms. Whether it’s pretty pictures in the still variety or the gorgeous moving images that dance across the stage, it’s all art. And the voices! That’s not even getting into the incredible talent of these ladies and gents
- The costumes, on and off stage! Why dress up just for the wedding day when you can get dolled up over and over again for a night out at the Opera? Seriously, what better place to take that birdcage veil out for a night on the town, or to kick it up in those seldom enjoyed Louboutins. You should see the shoes! I’m tempted to start shooting the footwear alone.
- And of course, we have a sophisticated audience of mostly Vancouver based couples who have – by virtue of the fact that you’re at our site! – an interest in and appreciation for the arts. Having had my eyes opened to the Vancouver Opera last year, I can’t speak highly enough of the experience and I really want to share it with each of you!
So, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with things.
Lillian Alling is a true Canadian production – commissioned by the Vancouver Opera and produced in conjunction with the Banff Centre, Lillian Alling is a show that takes place across North America. Not to be shy with their world premiere, the Vancouver Opera has pulled all stops to produce a contemporary opera that is both artistically and technically breathtaking.
My visual side loves the fact that much of the set and scenery is created using projection of both moving and still imagery – the perfect way to balance multiple scenes across multiple locations. Massive projectors back stage are put to the task of filling the scenes with colour and place.
Unlike many of the shows put on by the Vancouver Opera – this opera is in English. Prior to attending my first opera I didn’t have a clue why anyone would sit through an entire story in a language they don’t understand, but this was before I was made aware of the biggest factor that should have any opera newbie lining up for tickets to the next show (in English or any other language) – the show is subtitled! Well, actually, they’re surtitled, with a readerboard at the top of the stage. Nevertheless the result is the same – enjoy the beautiful voices and the gorgeous moving imagery across the stage AND have the luxury of understanding every world. Brilliant. Why the heck did I not know this?!
I don’t want to get into too much of the story as I really am a believer in being surprised as you go, but I will share this – Lillian Alling the opera is based on the story of Lillian Alling the woman, an immigrant from Russia who came to North America in the 20s. Legend has it that she decided, while in New York, to walk home to Russia via Canada, though little is truly known about her and what became of her. Loosely based on her travels, this new work spins a story around her journey and ultimate motivations, bringing life to the legend as the story unfolds. The story is touching, beautifully performed, and ended in a very very well deserved standing ovation by the teary eyed (including the men, although they mostly tried to hide it) crowd on opening night.
Lillian Alling plays in Vancouver again on October 19th, 21st, and 23rd with tickets still available. Whether you’ve never been or are a regular, this is an opera not to be missed!