Thursday, October 28, 2010

Saying Goodbye To Lillian Alling

Sets have been struck and costumes put away. Trucks have been loaded and driven to storage.

As we prep for the upcoming Lucia di Lammermoor, we're officially saying good-bye to Lillian Alling.

And although Lillian Alling has come and gone, we'll always have pictures of all the shiny happy faces to remind us of what a grand experience it all was.

Thank you to everyone who came out and made our world premiere such a success! We couldn't have done it without you!

~ Ling Chan

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Operabot 2.0 Goes (Toon) Boom!

A big shout-out and special thanks to Toon Boom Animation for generously donating not 1, not 2 but 3 prizes to the Operabot 2.0 animation contest!

Located in Montreal, Quebec, Toon Boom Animation is a worldwide leader in animation production and storyboarding software. Toon Boom Animation has worked with Walt Disney Productions, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Animation. Some recognizable movies Toon Boom has worked on are Leroy & Stitch, SpongeBob Square Pants Movie, The Princess & the Frog and The Simpsons Movie.

Toon Boom will be donating one license of Toon Boom Animate Pro (valued at $1999.99 USD) This software, aimed at animation studios and freelancers, is described as "the most complete animation software for professionals, offering award winning state-of-the-art content creation, animation and compositing toolsets".

Toon Boom has also donated two licenses of Toon Boom Animate, a software program that is aimed at professional animators, boutique studios, students and educators. (valued at $699.99 USD each)

Committed to furthering animators in the field, Toon Boom Animation offers video tutorials, tips and tricks, animation charts and FX templates on its website.

Welcome Toon Boom Animation to the Operabot 2.0 revolution!

~ Ling Chan

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lillian Alling: Final Thoughts

From left: Miranda Lievers, Frances Sprout, Stacey Robinsmith, Nik Belonio

A big thank you to our Bloggers who joined us for the Lillian Alling Blogger Night at the Opera. We were delighted to have you at our world premiere. Thank you for helping us to kick-start the 2010-2011 season in a big way.

So did our bloggers have a good time at Lillian Alling?

This opera, more than any other opera, perhaps because it is the world premiere, but this opera, had me literally on the edge of my seat right until the curtain dropped for the final time. - Stacey Robinsmith

To read more on Stacey's thoughts, click here and here.

All the singers were great. They sung to the top of their game. The highest highs and the lowest lows. Judith Forst is an older woman with a voice as strong as a young woman's. Her character, Irene's, story is achingly told through her eyes. And Frederique Vezina is a young woman from Montreal. She gave me chills with her high on pitch voice. Aaron St. Clair Nicholson did a wonderful job as Scotty. He was believable and touching. And Irene's son, Jimmy, played by Roger Honeywell, was a good counterpart to irene. A loud and barreling voice. - Nik Belonio

To read more on Nik's thoughts, click here.

Lillian Alling is a true Canadian production – commissioned by the Vancouver Opera and produced in conjunction with the Banff Centre, Lillian Alling is a show that takes place across North America. Not to be shy with their world premiere, the Vancouver Opera has pulled all stops to produce a contemporary opera that is both artistically and technically breathtaking. - Miranda Lievers

Wow! That was so stirring, not only the opera with its powerful music or the encompassing scenery, the huge visuals, the love stories and the mysteries revealed, but simply the notion that an opera can be made with the place names I know so well. I love imagining this opera being performed in other cities worldwide -- and Stanley Park and Telegraph Creek, the Skeena River and the Vancouver lights sung into that larger panorama. - Frances Sprout

To read more on Frances' thoughts, click here and here.

What a great start to the brand new season! We look forward to welcoming back our bloggers for the upcoming Lucia di Lammermoor. Stay tuned!

~ Ling Chan

Giving You More Access

When you come to Lillian Alling, you may notice a sign in the theatre lobby with 4 QR codes. You may also come across these codes while at your seat, flipping through the house program.

So what's behind these 4 QR codes?

Once scanned with a Smartphone, theatre patrons would be directed to personal video messages from General Director James W. Wright, Lillian Alling librettist John Murrell, composer John Estacio, Director of Production Terry Harper and soprano Frédérique Vézina.

For those who don't have Smartphones, here are the videos:

Kinda like easter eggs in a DVD, but not quite so hidden, we hope these small features help enhance your experience at the opera.

~ Ling Chan

Lillian Alling Set Up In Time Lapse

Here's a neat little time-lapse video of the technical set up for Lillian Alling.

Video credit: Tom Wright, Director of Artistic Planning

Shot during tech week down at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, you can see the staging of props, the different visual projections, the blocking of lights and all the general craziness involved in bringing an opera to the stage.

~ Ling Chan

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Have You Checked Our QR Code Today?

Scan our QR code with your Smartphone for a Lillian Alling surprise.

You may need to download a reader for your Smartphone, so click to get your free app from Neo or Mobio.

~ Ling Chan

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It Was A Big Surprise!

Fabulous. Amazing. Phenomenal. Wonderful. A big surprise!

And boy was everybody surprised by the world premiere of Lillian Alling. We love it!

Very emotional. I even saw some ladies walking out with tears.

The singing, the staging, the story - everything was just tremendous.

It was a fabulous production. It was just wonderful. A real credit to everyone who's been involved in it and a tremendous credit to Vancouver Opera.

It was a wonderful story and I loved the way it was produced and set. It was very imaginative.

It really just put a different twist on modern opera altogether.

The visual effects just blew me away.

The music was so gorgeous and not at all what you'd expect from contemporary opera.

I think it was the best modern opera that we've ever seen in Vancouver.

Video by Bombshelter Productions

Get your tickets now! Only 3 performances left! Call 604-683-0222 to speak to our box office.

See you down at the theatre!

~ Ling Chan

SMART Pics Gets A Makeover

Well, hello gorgeous! The SMART Pics photobooth got a make-over! It went from long, tall and monolithic to 3-way mirror-like. With bright lights and autofocus!

Different look, but same location. You can find the SMART Pics photobooth at the east end lobby staircase.

So marvel at the new SMART Pics photobooth and then take a picture!

~ Ling Chan

Geek Out With Lillian Alling

Everybody, please line up in an orderly fashion. It's Fan Night this Thursday!

Join us in the uber-exclusive VIP lounge for the first Fan Night of the season on October 19 at 630pm. We'll get you all psyched up before the opera begins at 730pm.

Our guest speaker Principal Répétiteur & Assistant Chorus Director Kinza Tyrrell will be talking about the creation process of Lillian Alling: from concept to stage. She'll also give some insight into the music you will hear at Lillian Alling.

We also have some special guests attending the pre-show chat. Blogger Night at the Opera Alumni Tris Hussey and Emme Rogers will be live-tweeting Fan Night. Feel free to say hello if you're sitting next to them.

We have coffee, tea and bite sized nibblies for you. Oh, and access to the VIP restroom. (no sharing with the people 'out there') There may even be some swag.

And a bonus if you're between the ages of 18-29! We have 25 more Get O.U.T.! tickets available for the entire run of Lillian Alling. Tickets are $25 each. Call our box office at 604.683.0222 and give 'em promo code 2885.

Or better yet, $100 will get you a subscription to the entire season. If that one tickles your fancy, call our box office and give 'em promo code 2875.

See you in the VIP lounge for the pre-show chat! 630pm sharp!

Twitter/Facebook Fan Night sponsored by The Georgia Straight:

~ Ling Chan

Monday, October 18, 2010

In The Dark Of The Theatre

The things people do in the dark of a theatre.

Some people sit riveted and try to taking in everything that is happening on stage. Others glance upwards and down as they read the surtitles. And others may close their eyes and simply let the music and singing overtake them.

Not artist Val Nelson.

Val draws the opera when the lights go down. Ever so discretely and imperceptibly that her fellow seatmates do not even know this was happening. Val first came to our attention when she drew at Madama Butterfly last season.

On opening night, she was once again armed with her drawing pen to help us record the world premiere of Lillian Alling.

Act I

Act II

If you were at opening night, you may even recognize in the drawings the scenes depicted in each act. If you're coming tomorrow, Thursday or Saturday, we won't ruin it for you.

Thanks Val for sharing your wonderful drawings!

~ Ling Chan

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lillian Alling: The Trailer

Your first look at the world premiere of Lillian Alling!

Press play or double-click the video to see it directly on VO's Youtube channel.

Video credit: Bombshelter Productions

Eight principal singers, 60 orchestra members, 40 chorus members, 175 costumes and stunning visual projections.

Get your tickets today! Call 604.683.0222 or puchase online!

~ Ling Chan

Look At The Birdie

Photo credit: Nakki Goranin

It's a brand new season with a world premiere opera, you didn't think that we wouldn't help you commemorate it now, didja?

The SMART Pics photobooth is back! So make a beeline through the QET lobby until you hit the east end lobby staircase and strike that pose.

The SMART Pics photobooth will also email your picture to you, and you can then post it to your own Facebook, Flickr or blog. It's a great memento of being at the opera with your significant other, friend or a first time date. What a perfect way to also let family & friends know where you are and what they're missing out on!

Opening night pictures will also be posted to VO's Facebook and Flickr.

Just look at all the pretty, pretty people from last season's Marriage of Figaro and Madama Butterfly.

VO is thrilled to bring back SMART Pics for the entire run of Lillian Alling. We can't wait to see all your happy, shiny faces.

~ Ling Chan

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Vancouver Opera lands the cover of this week's Georgia Straight! Check inside for interviews with Lillian Alling's Frédérique Vézina, librettist John Murrell and director Kelly Robinson.

Pick up your copy today!

~ Ling Chan

Pin Me, Tuck Me, Shape Me, Fit Me

Here's some video clips of hands-on designer Sue Lepage from the Lillian Alling wardrobe fitting a couple of weeks ago. She sketches, she designs and she was present for all the fittings.

Oh, and Sue designed the Lillian Alling set and props too. She's creative and multi-talented and we're thankful to have her with us for Lillian Alling.

~ Ling Chan

Climb Every Mountain

Here's a video of Frédérique Vézina and the production crew in Banff filming the montage sequence that will appear in Act 2 of Lillian Alling. In the sequence, Lillian hikes mountain ridges, scales down a rockface and crosses a bridge over the Skeena River, all in search of Jozef.

Who says opera singers only sings nowadays?

~ Ling Chan

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A World Premiere Blogger Night

A new season, a world premiere and Blogger Night at the Opera!

We are beyond thrilled that Stacey Robinsmith, Nik Belonio, Miranda Lievers and Frances Sprout will be joining us on Saturday, October 16 for all the excitement.

The quartet will be sharing their thoughts on the entire experience: from hobnobbing with other opera patrons, seeing the set with its wonderful visual projections and hearing the exquisite music and singing for the very first time.

Follow along the sidebar to the right for their weblinks as they blog pre-show and during the intermission. They may even report from the afterparty too.

Clockwise from top left: Stacey Robinsmith, Nik Belonio, Miranda Lievers and Frances Sprout

Don't be shy! Stop by and say hello to our friendly bloggers on opening night in the main lobby of the QET. They can't wait to meet you!

Sponsored by:

~ Ling Chan

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hotfooting It After Lillian Alling

Photo credit: I Am The Game

Opera Ninja Kimli is back! This Thursday, October 14, Kimli Welsh will be hot on the heels of Lillian Alling as she traverses the continent in search of the mysterious Jozéf.

Her assignment will be to track Lillian from the tenements of Brooklyn, hop the same trains that will take them both cross-country and follow her into the wilderness of British Columbia. All the while, the Opera Ninja is to remain hidden and observing from afar.

But what will happen when Lillian finds Jozéf? Will the Opera Ninja make herself known?

Follow along Thursday night's dress rehearsal at our Twitter: @Operaninja or along the right side-bar of this blog.

The action begins at 7pm.

Sponsored by:

~ Ling Chan

Friday, October 8, 2010

Behind VO's QR Code

So you're walking down the streets of Vancouver, minding your own, when you come across a strange-looking poster that asks "Where is Lillian?"

Upon closer inspection, you realize that this is a QR code. So you whip out your Smartphone to read the QR code and presto, it leads you to a video about our world premiere, Lillian Alling.

The video sets the scene for what it was like for immigrants, like Lillian Alling, coming to America in the 1920s. The video, accompanied by 2 musical pieces from the opera, also illustrates Lillian's journey across North America by foot to return to Siberia. She was briefly incarcerated at Oakalla Prison in British Columbia and after her release, continued travelling north to Alaska. She was never seen or heard from again.

Some of you might be trying to read the above picture with your Smartphone but are not having any success. (picture are funny like that)

So, here is the actual QR code. A brand new Lillian Alling video has been posted up today. You may need to download a reader for your Smartphone. (Thanks to Darren Barefoot’s Big Wild QR campaign poster for the instructions on our poster) Click to get your free app from Neo or Mobio.

Learn more about Lillian Alling! We'll be posting fresh content (almost daily!) so check back often for your behind-the-scenes look at Lillian Alling.

~ Ling Chan

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lillian Alling: Props

Head of Props Valerie Moffat has been sourcing props for Lillian Alling these past few months, while Production Assistant Gregg Steffansen has been building or customizing them.

Working with props, an attention to detail is a must. Everything has to look authentic to the time period being portrayed.

For example, labels on tin cans will be ripped off and photocopies of vintage labels glued on in Lillian Alling. There'll be no Chef Boyardee labels here.

As a goodly portion of the opera takes place in the great outdoors, you'll see pick-axes, canteens, picnic baskets and rucksacks.

What you won't see, however, is Valerie's dog on stage. Rupert, who was visiting that morning, was too adorable for me to pass up on taking a picture. Although the real Lillian Alling may have travelled with a dog, our stage production will not include such a travelling companion.

I am not a prop

To take a look at some more of the Lillian Alling props, press play or click here for our Flickr.

~ Ling Chan

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Project Unto Me III

Here are some more visual projection awesomeness from video designer Tim Matheson.

These photos, taken a couple of weeks ago when the production crew was in Banff, are the first life-sized shots of the projections. Previously, we only had available photos of the projections on model sets, as seen here and here.

Click to see each photo-set.

If you think the projections look good here, just wait until you see it in the theatre!

To see each photo individually, click here for our Flickr.

Photo credit: Tim Matheson

~ Ling Chan

Opera Manga For Your iPhone

The fellas over at Rival Schools have done it again. A powerhouse of ideas and creativity, Roy Husada and his team have launched their first app for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. It's the Madama Butterfly Opera Manga by artist Fiona Meng for Vancouver Opera. And best of all, it's FREE to download.

Click here to go to iTunes.

If you're all over the app like we are, feel free to leave some love for Rival Schools under iTune's customer reviews.

~ Ling Chan

Canadian Opera Challenge Winner Announced

CBC Radio 2's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera ran a contest last month asking "Which Canadian figure, famous or obscure, would you like to see be immortalized in an Opera?"

The responses to the Canadian Opera Challenge came flooding in. Some great suggestions included Terry Fox, Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chrétien/Paul Martin, Brian Mulroney, Adrienne Clarkson, John MacDonald, Farley Mowat and David Suzuki.

The prize up for grabs was a trip for two to Vancouver for the opening night performance of Lillian Alling on October 16, an invitation to the backstage party, 2 night accommodations at The Four Seasons Hotel and dinner at Yew Restaurant.

So who was the Canadian hero or heroine with a life that called out for a full operatic treatment?

Doug Tuck, VO's Director of Marketing and Community Programs, read the winning entry on-air this past weekend on Saturday Afternoon at the Opera. The winner was Catherine Mori, a Latin teacher from Richmond, BC.

Here's her winning entry:

Eleanor is a 50-yr-old Winnipeg woman, watching TV one night, in 1979. She sits in distress as CBC news shows pictures of boatpeople fleeing their Vietnamese homeland (illegally). The PM of the day, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, sends out the call (aria?) to all Canadians: will you sponsor these people? Eleanor rises up (aria) from her comfortable sitting room and declares her intent to help. She will muster her Catholic coparishioners to sponsor 3 families. Cut to the favourite of the 3 families she will welcome. They are at sea and have run out of water. A chorus of mothers sings their despair. Anything for sweet water! But their prayers bring the Thai pirates. Two little girls and their Mum and Dad...will they survive? Will the elder one make it to Canada and meet my son and produce my grand-daughter? There is more! But not enough space. The true Canadian heroine, unsung in any opera yet, is "Nana", the woman who saved my grand-daughter's other grandparents! She is now elderly, revered and living in Victoria. I could sketch the outline of the plot but couldn't write the libretto or the music. Che peccato!

Catherine will be attending Lillian Alling with her friend from Anchorage, Alaska.

Congratulations Catherine! See you at the opera!

~ Ling Chan

The Georgia Straight As Social Media Sponsor

Vancouver Opera is happy to announce that The Georgia Straight is our Social Media Sponsor for the 2010-2011 season.

Hip and forward-thinking, The Georgia Straight is one of the most robust and popular local media websites. For where do you turn to when you're seeking information on the hottest restaurants, designer clothes, technology and gadgets, as well as the best in arts and entertainment?

The Georgia Straight is on the cutting edge of new media and we are proud to have them as our sponsor.

~ Ling Chan

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lillian Alling: The Look

VO's Wardrobe Superviser Parvin Mirhady and her team of 6 have been busy these past few months. The wardrobe department has been cutting and sewing up a storm in order to create 200 the outfits needed for Lillian Alling. Half of the outfits were custom made, while the other half were purchased from second hand stores such as Value Village and then customized for that 1920s era look.

Parvin Mirhady and designer Sue Lepage going over some costume drawings

When asked which was harder, creating costumes for Nixon in China or Lillian Alling, Parvin said Lillian was definitely more challenging. Not only does Lillian have more costumes, but each piece has more individual styling, whereas the uniforms in Nixon were very much identical repeats.

Nixon in China costumes

Lillian Alling costumes

Fittings were held a couple of weeks ago when designer Sue Lepage was in town. Within just 4 days, 40 principals & chorus members, 8 supernumeraries and 4 children were seen for their one-time fitting. That's some heavy traffic going in and out of the wardrobe department.

And if you love vintage-style hats, you're in for a treat as everyone on Lillian Alling will be outfitted in cloche hats, straw hats, homburg hats and flat caps. A profusion of hats everywhere.

From leisure wear, to rugged outdoor clothing and immigrant clothing of that era, Lillian Alling will give you a glimpse of the very diverse styles of the late 1920s.

But if you can't wait until opening night, press play on the slideshow or click here to go to our Flickr.

~ Ling Chan