December 8, 2009

Met Opera Backstage Tour

Tree lighting at Lincoln Center was what tree lightings should be: brisk, a beautiful tree, some carols, complimentary hot chocolate and hot apple cider,......and over in 30 minutes. The complete opposite of what the Rockelfeller Center tree lighting. It felt special and intimate, definitely a New York moment.

I was fortuante enough to have been part of the "Bloggers" tour of the inner workings of the Met opera. It started in the actual theater itself with some cool facts about the architecture: Wallace Harrison was the architect, the interior has no 90 degree angles for superior acoustics (none of the performers are mic'ed....ever!), the panelling came from one gynormous tree, 32 Swarofski crystals are in the performing area, etc.

What was most impressive were the way they handle sets. There was an active crew on stage at 6 pm putting up the "Figaro" set to replace the "Hansel and Gretel" set that had a rehearsal that afternoon. "Figaro" was on that night at 8! The stage is actually 11 stories high and they store a lot of the sets overhead. Those sets can move at a rate of 3 ft per sec. So watching the stage hands prepare the set for a totally different opera within a day was very impressive. And the whole backstage is a whole village. They build their own sets so it was like a Home Depot back there, both in size and in equipment/stock. And they had costumes being repaired or distressed. Ever since the MET opera started doing broadcasts in HD, they've had to be more meticulous with how the clothes look from both afar and up close.

I'll be back on Monday with a review of "Hansel and Gretel."

1 comments:

Lani said...

I'm so envious Mike!

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