Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pay Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain

“It will not always be summer: build barns.”
                                                          -- Hesiod

Ah, the summer at BLO. Quiet phones, reasonable amounts of email, the Scooperbowl! In the Artistic Department, this is most certainly a season to rest, lick our wounds, and in many cases, use up all of the vacation days we have accrued over the last eight months. Some of us take particular joy in attending the summer festivals of other opera companies, and as we stand by the bar after the second intermission, sipping a gin and tonic without a drop of production-related anxiety, it is possible to remember how enjoyable opera can be. 

But, like all good things, vacations are soon over, and we soon find ourselves back in the office, looking ahead in the calendar. Almost immediately after the close of the season (and often before), we are busy adding flesh, tendons, and other viscous material to the skeleton that is the upcoming season. While casting is generally complete at this point, there remains a mountain of contracts to be issued, meetings between directors and designers to schedule, and a great big mid-summer concert to coordinate.

This period of preparation is awfully rewarding, and certainly one of my favorite points in the year. From this vantage point, we can see the events of the next year slowly coming together, and the production that was only a twinkle in our eye a few years ago, starting to come into focus. This is also calming to us, because we are, as a rule, terrible at dealing with free time (we simply don’t know what to do with the stuff), and notions of impending arrivals and other deadlines are reassuring.

So, as we head towards July and the office air conditioners spring reluctantly to life, we can be found pushing that huge opera-rock up the hill towards Opening Night (Sisyphus-style), but also maintaining a healthy ‘love-you-from-here’ sort of attitude.

-- Erik Johnson, Artistic Coordinator

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