The Elixir of Love
San Francisco Opera
Tue Nov 18 2008 8 pm
A most thoughtful friend allowed me to tag along with him on a personal backstage tour right before Tuesday night's performance of The Elixir of Love. I'm most grateful. I'd never entered the opera house through the backstage door, & it was pretty awesome. My friend got a real kick out of the chorus's brightly lit make-up room & its bubbly make-up artists. He was all set to jump in a chair & get a turn being made-up!
The techie in me was drooling over the house's video editing suite & server room. There are 10 remote-controlled cameras hidden around the stage for making HD video recordings of performances. I was blown away by the Wenger practice rooms. With the push of a button, you can simulate different acoustic environments in the room.
It was fun to learn that all the food consumed on-stage is real. It's someone's job to load that ice cream truck with real ice cream for each performance!
Just 15 minutes before the performance, I was standing on the stage, right behind the curtain, hearing the buzz of the audience. Our guide claims that the best view of the house is from that stage. I was wishing for a peep-hole through the curtain.
Back in the real world, on the other side of that curtain, I enjoyed seeing the show again & especially Vargas's very musical performance. His rendition of Una Furtiva Lagrima was perhaps even more fluid than when I heard it on Friday. He tried the business of throwing up a bit of apple & catching it with his mouth, but he missed. He gave himself another chance & succeeded on the 2nd try. It's a very cute production. My friend sums it up well: "It's only missing one thing: puppies".