Monday, April 27, 2009

By the company I keep

In which our Diva did say she probably wouldn't blog again before opening night

There's at least one moment at every rehearsal where I'm just struck by the fantastic performers I get to work with in this show. A few of them have material online to show you what I mean...

Teppei Kono was our Belcore last year in L'Elisir d'Amore, and he's back with us as Papageno in The Magic Flute and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus. If I had to name only one person I know who should be a star, this guy is it. Gorgeous voice and superb actor, all in one easygoing and totally professional package. He has some audio and video clips on his website, and for a change of pace, I ran across this clip on YouTube of a classic song from the Philippines:

Solange Sior, our beloved Artistic-Director-of-Many-Hats (and my voice teacher) loves to tell how, when Paula Mrazek joined the Opera Training Ensemble, she was bowled over by this gorgeous mezzo voice coming out of the group, and had to all but force its uncertain owner to take on solos. That was then, this is now, as I'm sure you'll agree when you see her Prince Orlofsky. She's no slouch with musical theatre either, as she demonstrated at our fundraising dinner last Halloween (the song starts just before the two-minute mark):

If you come by Villa Verone for our Sunday evening cabaret performances, you might be treated to a tableside serenade by Jeorge Holmes, who likes to take arias like "La donna e mobile" and "Che gelida manina" on walkabout through the dining room. On other occasions, you might catch one of his solo programs, featuring his best selections from Elvis and Sinatra alongside all that Italian. And while most of us have day jobs to work around, he has just a bit more than that as pastor of Highland Fellowship Church. I couldn't ask for a better waltz partner.

And that's just the tip of the talent iceberg. Solange is never anything but amazing, and her Rosalinda is no exception. Paul Scavone has comedy chops to spare as Eisenstein. Susan Dennis' Adele is adorable. Matthew and Heather Giebel are the loveliest of young lovers in Flute, and Kristin Johnson is an exquisitely scary (scarily exquisite?) Queen of the Night. And Katherine Dalin is wearing more than a few hats herself, keeping the office running, stage-directing Flute, and turning in a darling Papagena.

Love & Fairy Tales runs this weekend only, May 1-3, bringing you close to the story on three sides in the black-box space at the Rider Center, on the campus of Elgin Academy. Don't miss it!

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