Parlando: The COC Blog

9/21/2010

A Look at the Aida Trumpets

What would the Triumphal March be without its trumpets? Our newest podcast features an instrument designed specifically for performances of Verdi's Aida: the elongated Aida trumpet. In this podcast, Gianna Wichelow speaks with Herb Poole, an instrument builder and member of the COC Orchestra. They discuss the history of the Aida trumpet, outline how it differs from an ordinary trumpet, and delve into the history of Herb's instrument-building practice (including his contribution to the COC's Der Ring des Nibelungen in 2006).

These trumpets are a very beautiful addition to Aida (although, unfortunately, they won't be seen on stage). We've assembled some more photos below!

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Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (4) / permalink

9/17/2010

Rehearsals for Death in Venice Have Begun!

The rehearsals for Death in Venice kicked off on Saturday with a concept discussion by assistant director Rob Kearley. He assured us that the director Yoshi Oida is "lovable" and that we will adore him. This October's production of Death in Venice has been mounted to great acclaim in Lyon, Prague, and Aldeburgh, and many credit Oida's impressionistic and haunting concept with the feat of making audiences fall completely in love with Benjamin Britten's final opera.

In his production notes, Oida writes that he seeks to answer three fundamental questions about von Aschenbach: Why did he go to Venice? Why did he choose to stay after learning the truth about the disease? And why did he become fascinated with Tadzio, the beautiful young boy (You can read the plot synopsis here)? Oida's approach to these questions is to present everything from von Aschenbach's point of view, transforming the Lido into an impressionistic dreamscape.

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Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (0) / permalink

9/15/2010

Glimpses of Aida: Costume Room

I recently had a chance to take a look at the costume rooms of the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, where the costumes for Aida are being sewn and fitted. I'm very excited to be able to show you some of the photos today, along with a glimpse of the process of taking a costume from an idea to a finished product.

In approaching Aida, director Tim Albery has taken note of how many private, intimate scenes are placed in the context of a society of great power, wealth, expansiveness, and nationalism—and has considered how these characteristics are reflected in the societies of our own times. He has chosen to set the opera in a luxurious and ostentatious palace in an unspecified war-torn country. The sets and costumes are meant to convey a society governed by the "nouveau riche," with lots of money and power but somewhat vulgar and outdated tastes. The lavish opulence of the surroundings will stand in contrast to the fundamental intimacy of many of the opera's most important scenes.

Using these ideas as a guideline, the costume designer, Jon Morrell, assembled a "costume bible," full of sketches, inspirational photographs, and fabric samples. Here's a peek inside!

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Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (12) / permalink

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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001