Thanks to everyone who submitted their opera memories to us, either online or via memory postcards and snail mail. Opera memories can still be submitted throughout our 50th season here.
I would have to say that my favourite memory of Edmonton Opera would be just before my first opera as a chorus member, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci in October 2002. I didn't really know what to expect when I first joined the Edmonton Opera Chorus and had a lot of nerves and jitters prior to attending the first pre-season social gathering (dressed as a clown — but that's another story!). I was expecting to meet a room full of singers on their way to leading roles at the New York Met!
Here I was really just a mom, wife, nurse who could sing — how could I possibly fit in with all of these amazingly talented singers? Well, it didn't take long to discover that the Edmonton Opera Chorus was like a big family. A family of teachers, moms, students, lawyers, housewives, administrators, nurses, accountants, computer experts (and even some singers on their way to leading roles!) — well, the list goes on. I instantly felt right at home and like one of the family.
Every year, in every opera I'm a part of I am reminded of how lucky I am to be a part of this wonderful family. Oh, I know we sound like we could all be in lead roles at the Met (wink) but really we're all moms, wives, doctors, lawyers, accountants, students, teachers, executives ... who sing really well together!!
My opera memory is that of attending my first opera, your production of The Mikado (2011/12 season). It was amazing — the combination of music and voice and costume and sets (loved the modern dress and updated lyrics!) was spectacular. It was the perfect introduction to opera and I was immediately hooked. I've since enjoyed several other performances with you, and a few elsewhere, and plan to remain a Friend of the (Edmonton) Opera for the foreseeable future. Opera has enriched my life and broadened my musical and cultural horizons. Thanks!
One of my favourite Edmonton Opera memories was seeing Filomena, by Canadian composer John Estacio, and Canadian librettist John Murrell. My mother and I watched the story of my great-great aunt come to life on stage. It was beautifully and respectfully portrayed. Definitely a must-see!
I have loved every show I've had the honor of performing in with the Edmonton Opera Chorus, but I must admit that I had so much fun on The Mikado in 2012. Rob Herriott's staging was so creative and unorthodox. I loved the choreography and working with our amazing stage manager HaNeul Kim on mastering our dances.
Those costumes were just brilliant and Deanna Finnman was more than worthy of that Sterling she won that year. I remember the school show for The Mikado and in the curtain call, we could see the kids in the audience doing the dances with us in their seats. I loved seeing school kids engaged with opera in that way. Every show has favorite memories for me — this is just one of them...
One of my favourite memories was receiving a big hug from Edmonton's own Elizabeth Turnbull when she appeared in Carmen several years ago. I had bought tickets to that performance, partly because my own flamenco troupe that I used to dance with, Flamenco en Vivo, was performing as extras in that production. I had read a (poor) review of Ms. Turnbull's performance in the Edmonton Journal prior to the performance. After the show, I couldn't have disagreed with the review more; as a student that trained in pop and musical theatre from a classically trained instructor, I am well aware of the skill and ability required to sing opera, and I felt that Ms. Turnbull had a wonderful sound and that whoever reviewed her probably didn't know enough about music to make any meaningful comment about her voice.
So I went backstage and got a friend in the flamenco troupe to deliver a message that I wrote to her, where I stated something to this effect and just told her how much I enjoyed her performance. During the next performance, now that I wasn't an audience member, I joined my flamenco group, and after our number, I was backstage, and my friend came to me and told me that Ms. Turnbull was looking for me and wanted to meet me. When I saw her, she thanked me and gave me a great big hug! I was happy to have been able to make her feel that good, and it was a good reminder of how far a kind word can go!