Mr.. Kettle along with the other band classes of Mr.. Kettle was informed that we would soon be getting a chance to enrich ourselves in the history, the making and the production of opera “Armed” by Opera Atelier. Marshall Pinkish as the Director, David Falls as the Conductor, Jennet La]nesses Zing as Choreographer, Gerard Gucci as Set Designer, Dora Rust Eyed as Costume Designer, Bonnie Beechen as Lighting Designer, Jennifer Parr as Fight Director, Arena Macdonald as Production Stage Manager, and Charles Did Mingle as French Diction Coach.
On March 7, 2012, Mr.. Kettles band classes had the honor to experience a one-day workshop at the Opera Atelier. I have personally been on quite a few school field trips. Eve been to the making and production of Coca-cola, ice cream, movies, short films, recordings, etc. Thereupon, I was not very excited for this field trip at first. I thought of it as a simple basic Information learning experience. Furthermore, we even got the opportunity to attend the dress rehearsal of Armed, presented by Great-West Life. The rehearsal was held at the Elgin Theatre, 189 Young Street Toronto.
Dress rehearsal… In my mind, the image was not quite good. I thought of it as singers and actors just carelessly doing what they have to do, singing with only one third of their voice, because they want to save their voice for the formal show and also dressed in casual clothing. Likewise, I am sure, that not only in my head, but also in thousands of peoples mind, when they hear opera, they think of; plus-size singers standing in the middle of the stage chanting on top of their lungs, with the volume and pitch high enough to blast millions of glass. But nevertheless, we are wrong.
Armed Is a famous masterpiece Taradel lyre written by Jean-Baptists Lully tit collaboration with his favorite librettist – Philippe Quintal. Armed was first premiere in the Paris Opera on February 15, 1686. Armed was the last collaboration of Lully and Quintal. Quintal retired from the stage after Armed and passed away on 1688. Lully passed away on 1678, March 22. The libretto is based on part of Jerusalem liberate, Torque Tattoo’s epic poem. Jerusalem liberate is a popular poem that embraces the concept of the First Crusade (1096-1099) and the concept of Jerusalem being captured by Christians during that period of time.
The poem also entangle a few themes, for example, heroism, sorcery, warrior maidens ND last but not least, star-crossed lovers. Armed used to known as the “ladles’ opera” due to the significance of Armada’s moral dilemma and inner turmoil. The prologue Is set In the Palace, containing Just a dialogue between goddess Glory and Wisdom (starring Meghan Lindsay and Carla Heathen). They dialogue contains a praise to the Hero, Louis XIV, Lully’s patron, whom they both love, and a summary of act is set in the city of Damascus, where it begins with Venice and Sideline praising over Armada’s success and triumphs over her capture of the agitators.
Armed starring Peggy Karri Dye) expresses her frustration and anger for not being able to prevail over Remand, “Jew en triumphs pas du plus villain De touts! ” ” – I have not conquered the most valiant of all! ” Secondly, Armada’s uncle – King of Damascus, Hydrant (starring Jiao Fernando) urges her to choose a husband, she stubbornly objects, saying she will only choose someone who can capture and conquer Remand. Lastly, Reenter a guard of Armed that guards the prisoners comes running and announcing that Remand has saved them.
Act Two, in the peaceful and pleasant countryside; Remand (starring Colon Newsworthy) is discovered along with Arteriole starring Oliver Lacquerer). Remand sends Arteriole away after reassuring him that he is not in danger nor is his heart from Armed. Armed then conjures and calls up the demons to put Remand asleep. He admires the fascinating surrounding. The demons twirl and weave their spell around him in a well-rehearsed ballet sequence. Armed then again enters the scene, determined to kill Remand while he is asleep. She brings the knife up many times.
She cannot do it. Her love for him has overwhelmed the hatred; she decides to bind him through sorcery instead. “Enfant, IL est. en ma puissant” – “at least, he is in my power”. Act Three; the setting has changed into a desert. Remand is finally within Armada’s power, however, she in madly in love with someone whom is only bound to her by her spells. Went, venue, Haines implacable” – “come, come, implacable Hate”. Armed calls forth the Haines, Spirit of Hate (starring Curtis Sullivan), she asks Haines to tear her from her love for Remand.
Haines and his dancers put on a powerful performance of which they torture the Cupid and breaks of its wings and arrows. Armed realizes her love for Remand is too strong for her to give up. She sends away Haines. Haines curses her to the punishment of undying love. Act Four, brings forward two of Errand’s companions, Chevalier Dandies, and Chevalier Bubble (starring Aaron Ferguson, and Oliver Lacquerer) to the Act Three forest. They are amazed and bewildered by the demons and traps Armed laid, a comic relief. Act Five, it sets in Armada’s Palace, starts off with a love scene between Remand and Armed.
She then leaves behind the pleasure and love to retired to the Underworld for a little while to reconsider her situation. During her absence, the knights, Chevalier Dandies, and Chevalier Bubble has finally found their way out and discovered Remand, whereby, breaking her spell on Remand. She turns Just in time to catch Remand leaving her, she beg of him to take her with him even if he does not love her. Hesitation flowed through him, but the call of Glory and Duty overcame his love and sympathy for her. He left with his companions. Lee perfidy Remand me fit” – “the perfidious Remand flees from me”. Armed lastly orders the demons to destroy her palace along with her fatal love. Personally I think the libretto of Armed is amazing. It leaves me with a new thought every time I see it. This time, the thought I have collected is, we do not always get what we want in life, what it is not meant to be, it is not meant to be. Anything that is forced or manipulated will not last long, like a stretched rubber band, if we stretch it too far, for too long, it will snap, Just like the truth.
Difficulties, is doing an astonishing Job of incorporating the music into the play. Difficulties is a Canadian baroque orchestra, founded in 1979 by oboist Kenneth Slowly and bassoonist Susan Graves. The musical director is Jeanne Alamo, a violinist. The orchestra contains 19 fulfillment members, with more additional musicians when required. In Armed, there was thirty musicians; six violins (two solo), six viola, one viola dad gamma, four violoncello, one bases De violin, two recorder, here oboe, two bassoon, one percussion, two lute, and two harpsichord.
The orchestra often contains a choir when performing. There was twenty-one members on the Difficulties chamber choir; Ovaries Trains is the director, seven soprano, five haute-centre, four tenor, and five bass. Many may ask, so what is the difference between modern orchestra and baroque orchestra? Why did Opera Atelier choose Baroque orchestra over modern? Well, the instruments were changed over the past centuries to suit the changing taste of music. In the past centuries, violins of Bach’s time were made with sheep intestines, so it gave off a warm sounding harmony.
Now days, violins are made out of wood and horse hair, which gives Off loud and clear sound for the whole concert hall to hear. Unlike old days, the harmony only needs to be carried within a small gathering, for example, a small church. By choosing the old ways, I think Opera Atelier is trying to bring us back to old times and to give us the original on the respect towards the play. Therefore, I think the instruments are chose and used perfectly. The orchestra enveloped two harpsichords instead of one, in the videos we saw in class. I think the pieces in Armed fit into the middle Baroque music time period (1654-1707).
The change and rise of the centralized court is often what people call the “Age of Absolutism” this also features the economy and the politics. Louis XIV is the main reason and starter of chamber music, which involved the availability of keyboards due to the demand of public music. I very much loved and enjoyed the music during Armed. During the middle Baroque period, music was an art, which people took very seriously. According to the music history and theory, that was the time period of which musicians are focusing on the increasingly harmonic focus of the musical practice.
Lully could not have possibly done a better Job of fitting ND finding the perfect music for Armed, because it was already flawless. An opera would not be an opera if there were no singers of course. In opera, voice is divided into two main categories; female and male. Then it gets divided into even three type for female; soprano, mezzo-soprano and contralto. Male voices are divided into four types; countertenor, tenor, baritone and bass. There are a few of subcategories under the types, but that depends on the specialty voice quality.
Soprano is the highest voice type range in female category; it normally lies between CO and CO. The entire female actress crew in Armed is a soprano. For example, Armed, and Glory and Wisdom. Mezzo-soprano is the middle voice type range in female category; it normally lies between AY and AS. Contralto is the lowest voice type range in female category; it normally lies between IF and IF. Countertenor is the highest voice type range in male category; it usually lies between 63 to E or IF. Actors Armed are a haute-centre. Remand and the Danish knight companion of Bubble.
Tenor is the highest voice type range within the modal register in male category; it usually lies between CO and CO. Most of the male actors in Armed are a tenor. For example, the knights and Haines. Baritone is the middle voice type range and the most common type in male category; it usually lies between IF to IF. Two of the actors in Armed fall under the category of a baritone, Hydrant and Bubble. Bass is the lowest voice type range in male category; it usually lies between E and E. I think the reason why Opera Atelier decided to make most actors either a tenor or a baritone is to put the main focus on Remand, the haute-centre.
As usual, all or most of the actress are a soprano. I found all the singing were very delicate for most times, there were a few moments here and there where Armed (Peggy Karri Dye) sounded bit shaky and weak, but I guess it is a dress rehearsal, actors and actress aren’t required to perform with all their ability and voice like they would on a formal show. Likewise, for most parts, I enjoyed it very much; all the voices were in harmony with each other, whether the voices were high or low, they had a very nice transition and overall.
Dance choreographers are often incorporated into operas for the sake of expressing characters’ emotions, conflict, characteristics, etc. From the dancing to choreography, all are made and performed by the sixteen artists of Atelier ballet along with two supernumeraries. Most of the dances were the demons and people praising Armed for her success. It is obvious that all of the dance choreography, from the transitional flow to the movement and staging, they are clearly all well rehearsed and practiced about millions of times. I personally liked La Haines dance choreography the best.
I loved the intensity, passion, and fierce within that act. From the Armed summoning La Haines, to him and his demons torturing the cupid. It was just all keeping me on the edge of my seat. Creating a great deal of suspense and wonder with the collaboration of intense dance moves with intense music. I also really liked Act two, where Armed orders her demons to put Remand to sleep so she can finally sacrifice him. The light yet powerful movements slowly help build up to the last climax of the act. It was truly magnificent, as people always say, the movement attracts the eyes.
I found the dances very helpful for me to get into the play and it fitted in the plot perfectly. The fashion of our society around the world changes constantly. Armed was first introduced in 1686; our world’s taste in fashion has obviously changed a lot since then. 1686 the fashion was about being over the top fancy. The puffiness of each Reese around shoulders and from waist down. But tight around waist to empathic women’s beauty. Opera Atelier has tried to use as many original themes in the opera as possible, costume was definitely one of them.
In Opera Atelier’s production of Armed, the costumes were all very old fashioned. The actress would all wear big dresses or fabric that seem to be flowing in the air as they walked. Actors would wear version of Armed we saw, the costumes were much more modern. Actress would all wear dress shirts and shirts that looks like flight attendants’ uniform. Actors would wear Just a dress shirt and dress pants. Except both productions’ choice of Armada’s costume were very much alike, to a point of almost exact. They were both red and have a nightgown look to it.
Opera Atelier’s choice of costumes was definitely my favorite. It was easy to understand and very fascinating. I felt like I had experienced the opera in 1686. Unlike Opera Atelier, I found the video’s costume very confusing at times. It was also very boring since I see those shirts everyday; it was Just not that much to see and to be excited about. Scenery is Just about everything set on stage. From the background, to the chair set at the side of the stage is considered as scenery. Scenery has existed as long as theatres have, a good show wouldn’t be good without the scenes.
The history of scenery has developed quite a lot over the centuries. The scenes go from a simply curtain, to AD paintings, and now AD paintings and professional props. The paintings all are specially designed and painted to create an illusion of which makes us think that a AD painting or background is actually very large and AD. The scenes are designed and put on according to the libretto. The set designer for Armed is Gerard Gucci along with a master Persian calligrapher, whom translated quotes and sages of the libretto into elegantly well-composed panels, which then became the cover of Armed.
The scenes changed dramatically during our watch of the Opera. Opera Atelier and the video’s production of Armed both incorporated great designs of the set, but I still liked the Opera Atelier’s much better. Opera Atelier’s sets were much more graphic, colorful and surprising. For example, my favorite set of design during Armed was when Armed was dreaming about her love for Remand and the scene instantly transforms and draws us into her dream at which the set of the background becomes transparent and see through and dancers start to enforce Armada’s feelings into a well choreographed dance routine.
The machinery is usually the forgotten part of theatre when people come to think of what makes up theatres. As I was stating earlier, the moments attract eyes. When operas bring in machinery into their scenery it adds so much more excitement and attraction to the opera itself. Opera often uses machinery to create the sound of thunder, and rain. It’s also often used when required special effects. I liked Opera Atelier’s use of machinery in Armed, but I was expecting a little more from the introductions we had at the workshop. The creation of the sound of thunder and rain as amazing.
I was blown away by how easy it was to create such realistic effects. I wished there were some high wires pulling actors/actress up and fly them towards the audience or some sort of flying. I felt that a lot of scenes and places could use a little more machinery to spice things up. A pulling and closing the curtains to create the atmosphere of night. The atmosphere of night or dimming of lights can also be created by blowing off the candles. Now a day the lightings are controlled by Just simply switches. The lights not only help create different atmospheres depending on the libretto and the director.
It also helps guide the audience to focus on the important characters on stage. The lights for the video’ production of Armed and Opera Atelier’s production was quite different. In the video’s version, the lighting was very colorful and it changed between every scene. For example, the lighting changed between white, yellow, red and a little bit of blue during Armada’s “love” session with the demons. In comparison, the Opera Atelier’s choice of lighting was much more plain and simple like the old a days lighting. The lighting consisted mostly yellow and white and its very bright, it also stayed pretty instant throughout.
It isn’t very easy to compare the two productions considering that both productions had different ideas and purpose of presenting Armed. But I still prefer Opera Atelier’s choice. Its simple and to the point, trying to give us the original taste of the opera. It also helps the audience concentrate on the opera and not distract them instead. Opera Atelier has taught me that there is staging after all in opera; the voices of the singers are truly delicate; the actors all look amazingly attractive; the set designs are mind-blowing; the dance choreography are incorporated in the acts perfectly.
Nevertheless like what the media versions’ of Opera. It truly shattered many old incorrect stereotypes I had towards Opera. It’s unkindly to compare which production is better. I think both did a very amazing Job at combining all the art forms of opera in their own unique way. I liked Opera Atelier’s production very much, I felt as if it brought me back to 1686 to see in play in its original form. This was truly a once a lifetime opportunity for me to experience both the front stage and backstage of Opera production. It would be a definite honor and pleasure to visit the operas again.