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Subject: A BIG Thank You and "Animals"
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Date:Sat, 15 Aug 1998 18:24:15 EDT
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Dear Opera L'ers,
A HUGE Major Key "Thank You" to all of you who provided me with date
information and website information about La Scala. I think I've contacted all
of you personally, but just in case I've missed someome - THANK YOU!
Unfortuantely it seems that the dates JUST miss performances of MAZEPPA, but
the rest of the prospects for the tour are so wonderful that a missed opera is
not the end of the world.
NOW to "Animals on Stage"
When Lyric Opera of Chicago did its first edition of Massenet's DON QUICHOTTE
Carol Fox told designer Piero Sammaritani that she wanted a FLAT stage - part
of that intent had to do with the two animals required for the show,
Quichotte's horse and Sancho's donkey.
Sgr. Sammaritani not only made the design a raked stage, but he put a
groundcloth on it OVER a formed foam rubber backing to make the "cobblestone"
look for the street three dimensional creating a foam rubber, downhill slope
on stage.
Of course almost every performance either the horse or the donkey would
urinate onto the stage -soaking the groundcloth AND the foam rubber. The
choristers and soloists could manage to avoid the "spots" - but the ballet
dancers in Act I had to go and DANCE there. It was VERY hard to keep a
straight face with all of those "Squishing" sounds. Ah, the delights of "live"
(animal) "theatre".
Whenever I listen to the old tapes of that show and hear those castanets
clicking away center stage I think of those FIXED smiles on the dancers. They
were the real troopers of that show.
AND a Memory that just popped back into this old head.
There was (also at Lyric) a CAVALLERIA with GianGiacomo Guelfi (not the most
subtle of baritones) as Alfio. He and the prompter (either Mo. Morosini or
Ghiglia, I can't remember which) had had "words" about Guelfi's musicality in
front of the rest of the cast. Big Mistake!
Well, one night the donkey on stage did a Major Number and Sgr. Guelfi (with a
soccer players exactitude) kicked a huge glob of it directly into the
prompter's box.
He didn't get a cue the rest of the season, but he'd made his point.
Yours in Seattle,
Paul Gudas

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