Alcina with The Opera People

20 & 22 Aug 2021 Melisso in Handel’s Alcina W!LD RICE Theatre | The Opera People and Red Dot Baroque

A brief note: I’ve been writing here because I want to keep a little record of the thoughts that I’ve had when doing these shows and concerts. More than the music (as important as that is), for me these performances are about the relationships and friendships that form along the way, and this is a way for me to take stock of that.

Wow, where do I begin! It’s been a long and rough road to getting this production to the stage – Covid threatened the possibility of our live shows once again, and we rehearsed most nights Monday to Saturday for 2 months to put this challenging abstract staging of Alcina together. And I can safely say I have never done this many full runs of an opera leading up to the shows (I think I estimate about 15 full runs?).

And BOY did it sparkle and come alive in the shows.

I’ve said all I’ve wanted to say to the cast directly – but in short they were PHENOMENAL colleagues and friends, and I really can’t wait to work with them again. All of them taught me something new and special, and getting to know them has been the highlight of this process.

It was also so special that my parents got to see me in an opera for the first time (!) – my shows have always been overseas so this was a rare opportunity. My wife, as always, has been my absolute rock. That she was there at yesterday’s show gave me an extra boost of strength and calm. And it’s been a huge opportunity to learn to trust God BY trusting my body, and that meant not judging every single thing that I do or questioning if I should have made different decisions. Instead it means “living our character’s truth” as Shou Chen so often reminded us – staying confidently in character and reacting on stage. There was a level of focus and healthy detachment from my ego that I felt during this run and I’m grateful to have explored that.

I can’t emphasise enough how much I enjoyed working with Shou Chen and Alan – wonderful artists with real vision and poise. So blessed to have been led by them.

And finally, I must say I absolutely LOVED the Wild Rice Theatre – though on the dry side from stage, it’s an incredibly beautiful, thoughtfully laid out space. We all felt like we could create something special there and that, for me, is the real soul and value of a space. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to perform on this lovely stage.

To end, as always, some production pics to remember Alcina by:

And a brief glimpse into my “map” for making sure I didn’t miss entries or forget my mask:

And finally, some other photos from the process:

Oh, and as to whether I keep my beard.. I’ve had some thoughts:

  1. My wife loves it
  2. It is a pain to maintain
  3. Part of me really wants to know what it looks like in 2 more months (FYI it’s taken 2 months to grow to this stage)
  4. Part of me wants to shave it all off and be done with it

So yep, I guess I’ll wait and see. Let me know if you have any strong opinions!