Lucia Photo Life

Hey friends,

I write this post as I sit backstage waiting for the last performance to come to a close.  Bitter sweet moment I must say.

This post is not going to be so much about the show as it is just pictures of the show.  Now that we’ve wrapped for the season, I’m starting to think about next year and I must say I’m excited at what next year will have in store! But for now, here are some of my favorite shots from my time as a stand-in photographer, while EO’s resident awesome photographer, Nanc Price, was on another assignment.  I hope to get to take photos again next year during another dress rehearsal — so fingers crossed!


Jason Howard as Enrico, Lucia’s (jerkface) brother who sells her off.


Jason Howard and Simone Osborne


Queen Sable Chan, mid-note.


Simone Osborne after Lucia signs herself away.


Megan Latham as Alisa


Rob Clark as Arturo, her husband to be.


Robert Breault as her actual love, Edgardo.


Christina O’Dell and Garreth Mortsgrob


Giles Tomkins as Raimondo


Adam Fisher as Normano


Simone during the infamous Mad Scene


Lydia Anne Levesque and (a male chorus member who I’m hoping someone can help me name!)


Francis Price (father of Nanc, and all around Opera Supporter) hugs Lucia to comfort her.


Chorus member Adrian Howard carries Lucia off. (Also pictured on the right, Megan Latham as Alisa)


Members of the chorus during Edgardo’s final song of the show.

IMG_2196Ghost Lucia (Simone) appears to Robert Breault before his death.

I’m truly going to miss this show and everything that was involved with it.  I’m very much looking forward to Merry Widow in October, Carmen in January and February and Maria Stuarda next April.  For now, it’s back to the facility, working on the shop and getting ready for next year! — But for actually right now, it’s time for a quick overnight pre-strike, and then we are back in the morning at 8:30 for a 14 hour day — luckily I’ll have lots of friends on the crew to make the day just fly by!

Hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I did taking them! Have a great night and weekend!



Honorary Stage Manager Life

Hey everyone,

Hope you’ve all been having a good week! We’ve had opening night, I’m currently backstage awaiting the start of our second performance and then we will be trucking along nicely into performance number three this Thursday, followed by a pre-strike that night, and a 12 hour strike the next day.  It’s gonna be madness but after it’s all done and over with, it’s time to get started on the summer project list — and of course, my favorite, BBQ season.

During tech week, I had the opportunity to step in to help Stage Management a bit while their apprentice, Mona, was away attending her graduation and writing a final exam.  I got to do a bit of light walking and cuing, and the during the final dress rehearsal, I was able to take notes for our director, Brian, and I must say it was a lovely experience.  Typically I work in a more behind-the-scenes-behind-the-scenes world. What I mean by that is, I don’t typically have a lot to do with what is actually happening on the stage, more so the things that go on prior to and after it’s struck.  Sure I get to help with some fun projects here and there, but I do miss the being on the stage during a show part.  I suppose that’s why I enjoyed my time at the Children’s Theatre so much, but I digress.


So what is ‘Light Walking’? It’s what the Assistant Stage Managers do when the Lighting Designer, Lighting Tech, Director and Stage Manager get together to build the cues for the show.  They (creative team) sit at a table in the house (theatre) and start turning on lights, setting levels (brightness) and coming up with the look for the show.  As they do this, the ASMs walk to the various spots of the stage where the Principals (Singers), Chorus and Supers (Non-Singing Roles) will be during the show, to see how the light will look.  I had done a bit of this at MacEwan when I was an ASM during my first year and then sat at the table last year while my ASMs helped us out during Carrie.

IMG_0954The best part for me about lightwalking was getting to walk all over the set! It’s a bit of a maze this time around, so going from one platform to the next was a bit of guesswork, but the fun kind!

IMG_0964The set also has the ability to become various different scenes all by moving some of the staircases around, or flying other pieces in.  As we went scene by scene, the carpenters would come in and move whatever they needed to get us into the next scene.


(Okay so they’re mostly leaning here, but I swear they do stuff.)

Now for a light walking selfie…


After the light walking, I had the opportunity to cue some of the performers during the actual show!

I got on headset and then just waited for my ‘Gos’.  HaNeul (Stage Manager) was cuing me on the fly, adding me in whenever she needed me to cue.  I remember being in her shoes before and I have to say I don’t think I could’ve added someone in to my book in no time flat and gotten it  right the way she did. So kudos to HaNeul, and thanks to Mona for having a graduation because now I can say I’ve cued a show on the Jubilee stage — even if it was just 6-7 cues!

Finally, as I mentioned, I had the opportunity to take notes for the show’s director, Brian Deedrick.  I had taken notes for Allison Grant when she was our director and it was my favorite part of the whole Barber of Seville experience, so I was thrilled to be reprising my role as note taker.  Even more so because it was Brian, who has been a staple here at Edmonton Opera and seeing that it’s still my first season, I’ve never had the chance to work with him and now I have :).

At one point during Lucia’s mad scene, he began to cry tears of joy and that’s probably when I lost it.  It’s one thing to see someone being so captivated and touched by something that they start to tear up, but quite another when they’ve put their heart and soul into it and they’re so blown away by what is in front of them.  Easily my favorite moment on the show and one for the biography one day.

Well that’s it for this post! Hope you enjoyed and that you’ll come check out the final performance of Lucia, this Thursday at 7:30pm at the Jubilee Auditorium.  Tickets at TixOnTheSquare or by calling Joanne at the box office — 780.429.1000!

Have a great night!


Fake Blood Life

Hallo my darlings,

Hope you are all well.  Today I bring you a bit of Props and Wardrobe fun by way of making a bloodied wedding dress.  And it’s actually a lot more fun than it sounds.

The process started a while back when Deanna, head of Wardrobe / resident Wardrobe designer at Edmonton Opera came up with a concept for Lucia’s wedding gown.  She passed her design onto Director Brian Deedrick, it was approved, and she and her team built the dress — er.. dresses.

Because you see, it’s not as simple as just making one dress and hoping the blood splatters in all the right spots during the action of the show.  It’s about where the blood would actually be flying when she’s stabbing her groom, (what direction is she stabbing from?), how much dripping there would be (is it little cuts? big cuts?), how much blood there is (how many stab wounds are there?) and those kinds of things can’t be left to chance. Instead, we build two dresses.  One that stays ivory, pristine and is used in the beginning of the scene, and one that gets bloodied and bloodied again every night.

In order to get the proper look for the blood, our head of Props, Chantel Fortin, has been sampling various combinations of varnishes, paints, food colorings, dyes and more to come up with something that looks like fresh blood but also won’t wash out.  After a few tries she came up with a combination of a clear-coat and a food coloring.  I’m not going to divulge all her blood making secrets, but it is certainly an art form.  In my very limited theatre experience, I’ve worked on three shows that needed fake blood and each time we used something different depending on what the desired effect was.  Even in this show we have a couple different kinds of blood because we do in fact need one that washes out.

After Chantel set up a plastic-ed area in the loading bay, she got together with Brian and Deanna to come up with the look they wanted and then got to work spattering blood with a paint brush.  They wanted more on the bodice than on the skirt because of the blocking (action) in the scene, so that’s just what she did.

IMG_0610Starting slow, not wanting to over do it.  

As Chantel ‘painted’ the blood on, she, Briand and Deanna discussed where the blood would be flying from.  Katie, the Assistant Head of Props, jumped into the fun and mimicked for Chantel where the knife would go and therefore where the blood might be.  I’m not sure if it was helpful in any way, but I sure loved the pose and had to capture it. (So much so that I made them do it again and that’s why they’re laughing in this picture ;))



Once they had settled on an amount, it’s now time to let the blood dry and then if we decide to add more, we always can. Unlike donuts, it’s best to have to add more than have too much cause believe me, that stuff ain’t coming out.


I have already told Deanna that when I eventually get married, I want a Deanna Finnman original gown.  I mean look at this thing! It’s a beautiful vintage style gown with lots of pleats, a fitted bodice, a lace trim and a floral piece in the front.  Just gorgeous. Uhm.. Minus the blood of course. 

So yeah! That is a quick look into our Wardrobe and Props world here at EO.  I hope you enjoyed!

For tickets to Lucia’s final two performances (April 21st and 23rd) please contact the Box Office at 780.429.1000 or at


Moving-In Life

Hey everyone,

As always it’s been a long time.  I have sort of fallen off the face of the earth as of late, working on a number of different projects that are keeping me busier than I had hoped.  For months I had been searching for something to delve into and I’m happy to say that now I do believe to have found it! In the form of two fun projects that I will share with you as time goes on.  For now though? I’m back to talk to you about the Opera!

This round we are doing ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ which in brief, is the story of a young girl forced to marry against her will and the tragic events that ensue because of this.  (I don’t actually get to see it until Saturday night, so I’ll be able to give you more details then).

For this show, we rented the set and costumes from our friends at Seattle Opera. The set itself is made mostly out of steel so it is one heavy beast of a show (I know this not because I lifted anything, but because I listened to 8 guys whine about how heavy it was during the truck swap ;)). It’s also quite high and wide, so it takes up most of the Jubilee stage and I’m here to give you a rough play-by-play of what all goes into bringing a show like this from our shop to the stage.

So we started this morning by hanging all of the motors we’re going to be using to raise the set pieces up into the air.  Geoff and his crew worked off of the plot and got it done in a snap.


We then had a couple hours for lunch (joys of finishing early) and then got right back into it by unloading the three scenery trucks from Seattle and filling the Jube’s loading dock to the brim.  This is usually where I try to be helpful and point the truck loaders/carpenters in the right direction to drop their pieces off, but this time proved to be a bit more challenging.  Not only are the pieces fabricated mostly of steel (heavy) but a lot of them are the same color but a different shape and sometimes though they have the same letter code, they go into different piles.


These are the long ‘C’ pieces next to the long ‘B’ pieces. The shorties are in a pile around the corner.

Thankfully for me (and the guys who would be cursing me if I sent them in the wrong direction), we had the help of Jason, the Set Supervisor from Seattle.  As Geoff (Carp) and Alison (LX = Lights) worked on deck (stage) with their crews, Jason and I tried to guide the truck loaders as best as we could — which also meant a lot of shuffling things around in the loading bay.  That’s sort of the game of theatre though I suppose.  Essentially, a traveling show is like a puzzle that can be put back together in more than one way — in a truck, in multiple piles or on a stage — and the only variable that really matters is space.

lucia1Just a pile of grate waiting to be put back together. 

Another major part of move-in day is where Alison Hardy shines (pun totally intended) and it’s the lighting move/hang.  At Edmonton Opera (and I’m sure most other places), this typically happens in conjunction with the set install, so there can be up to 40 people on the stage during this.  The most important part of working on a show like this — as far as I’m concerned at least — is team work.  No one can hang a 50 foot x 50 foot drop on a pipe by themselves and even if they could, it’s much better with a friend or 39.

But now back to Lighting. Alison and Bud (her assistant head LX) work together with their crew, the lighting designer (for this show, it’s David Fraser) and Kevin, the Jube lighting tech, to make the designer’s vision come to life.  They start by lowering in pipes (or bridges or booms, depending on the plot) and moving the lamps to wherever their new position is.  From there they connect each lamp to a power source and its DMX channel(s) and then relay that information back to Kevin who works on the patch.  Once everything is plugged, patched and ready to go, we can start actually programming the various lighting cues needed for the show.


This is the Stage Right bridge right before it was taken back up into the air. 

So that’s a bit of what we’ve done so far today! We’re about to break for dinner and I’m going to head to the shop tonight to pick up our label maker and then come back for the last four hours of install for today before starting all over again tomorrow!

I hope you enjoyed this peek into the backstage world at Edmonton Opera, and I’ll be back soon to regale you with more tales!

Have a great Thursday!


Tech Week Life

Hello again my darlings,

Hope you are having a lovely night.  I am backstage at the Jubilee — surprise, surprise — but this time, on OPENING NIGHT! We opened the show to a sold out audience tonight and I’m so thrilled with how everything turned out!

A week ago today we were working on getting the show up and our crew was working hard to get everything in place and in working order.  We had to set up the portals, the forest, the palm trees, the snake drop, the pyro shots, the wall of fire, and make final alterations on the incredible costumes and so much more.  Our team pulled it together and when I saw the show on both Wednesday and Thursday night’s dress rehearsals, I was truly blown away with how beautiful everything looked.  It’s been such a fantastic experience so far, and I’m really looking forward to next year’s production of Carmen, which will be our next build.  But now, onto tech week..

We all met at the Jubilee at 8:30 on Friday and started unloading the trucks and making this dream a reality.  Clayton got right into action, sending pieces here there and everywhere.  Whenever we come to the Jubilee, we don’t only have the show to bring with us, but a whole trailer full of crates for each department to be able to do their jobs.  For example, Clayton and I each have a work crate that sits on the side of the stage so that we can work and still observe what is going on — of course, that’s more him than me; mine is close by so people can find me to go run errands for them. Then of course Wardrobe has their work crates which contain literally everything a person could ever need to build a costume; Lighting has their 4 big ol boxes that we use as both storage and a work station to a certain degree; Carpentry has a couple different crates that include office crates for both Greg and Geoff as well as a couple storage boxes containing what they need to make an final adjustments to the set and repair work; Props has a crate filled with all of their work stuff and they actually get their own little workshop when we’re here; finally there are wigs and make-up who have their own custom made crates that I’ll have to show y’all one day.  There’s lots of little compartments to house all of their stuff, and the make-up one is a sweet leopard print pattern!


A view I don’t get very often, so I took the time to commemorate it! 

While the trucks unload, the ELEX department gets started on putting the lights they need on stage before the carpenters come in and take up all the space setting up.  They fly the pipes in from the fly tower and set up what they need before flying it back out.  Once they cleared the deck, our carp team worked on getting the portals assembled and up into the air.  Each pair of two gets smaller as they go upstage (towards the back of the stage) and they all have their own color code (thank you) that matches the hockey bags containing their fabric.  This makes it easier for us when setting up, but also when we loan it out to other opera companies in the future.  Anyways, here is a photo of them setting that shiz up.


I believe this photo was taken right as everyone left for lunch or dinner break.  As you can see the panel is assembled, covered in fabric and ready to be flown and tracked.  

Once the panels were up in the air, we started to work on the other elements on the show — the sun, forest, rocky stairs and palm trees.  The sun is a gigantic spiky flat that flies in at the end of the show to symbolize the destruction of the Queen of the Night (Sorry Teiya..) and the grandeur of the piece really comes across when it comes down from the grid and into the sea of yellow/ombre robes that the chorus members wear throughout the show.


sunHow gorgeous is that?!  Photo by Nanc Price.

Once the set is up, we move into ELEX Focus and then setting the lighting cues for the show.  Bretta Gerecke who is our set designer is also the lighting designer for the show.  She worked with Alison Hardy (head of Lighting), Bud Race (Asst. Head of Lighting) and Kevin Humphrey (Jube Lighting Tech) to get her show all sorted out.  She wanted to have a water-lighting element in the show and Alison worked tirelessly all week to accomplish this.  She started by lining the inside of the boxes built for us by our Asst. Head Carpenter, Kathy Cooper, with pool lining and a black thick plastic sheet to ensure no water would be leaking out, causing us some serious headaches down the line.  Greg then installed some handles on the boxes and she got to work on her ‘mirror pizzas’ which are essentially a collage made from square bits of mirror.  These sit in the water and when the filters start and the lights shine on the boxes, they create this beautiful reflection that looks like running water.  It’s quite beautiful and looks much more realistic than using a gobo — well at least any gobos I’ve seen.


We bought four kiddie pools for this project.


Here we have Alison and Clayton moving the lamps so that they hit the pools in the right place. 

Alison also worked alongside Chantel Fortin, our head properties gal to put together the magic bells for Papageno.  Unfortunately I do not have any photos of that on my camera, so stay tuned for an upcoming post that explores the world of props in more detail.

Up next, we have the FIYYYA.  I think this is probably the element that had everyone the most excited for.  It is no small feat to bring in a pyrotechnician and lucky for us at Edmonton Opera, our Head Stage Carpenter (and my former instructor), Geoff Bacchus, is a certified pyro expert (pretty sure he has a fancier title but i’m sticking with that).  He has all of his own equipment and a lot of experience in dealing with both pyro and fire (and fireworks too!), so he worked within the budget and design to create something wonderful for us, and that my friends is a wall of fire.

Now of course we don’t have a Vegas show budget, but we still wanted it to have a lot of impact, so the wall seemed like the best option. We had to go through a lengthy process of applying for insurance, fire permits, having (and passing) an inspection and thankfully all of that was taken care of and we got to experience the first wall of fire this past Tuesday.  It looked really incredible and everyone who saw it that night cheered.  It was one of those ‘i really love my job’ moments.


This is backstage as Geoff burns the excess propane off at the end of the night. 

And what did I do all week you ask? Well as usual I provided the crew with a snack to go alongside their morning coffee, ran a lot of errands and bought a lot of weird things.  In fact, I bought so many weird things over the last few months, that my goal for next year’s build is to write down all of the things I purchase and make some sort of an infographic.

IMG_4101 This was my final breakfast.  After a week of unhealthy stuff I thought it was time to treat the crew (and their tummies) to something nutritious and delicious! IMG_4022And this is bagel day.  Everyone loves bagel day. 

Now don’t think for a minute that I would forget about Wardrobe, but my friends, I have so much to say about Wardrobe that it will have to wait for another post! For now though, I hope you enjoy this incredible photo of the Queen of the Night and Pamina, taken by Nanc Price.


It’s magical! 

Well that is it for me tonight.  I’m off to go have some snacks — again! Hope you enjoyed this inside look at the show, and I hope you’ll stay tuned for more about the Magic Flute in the coming days!



Queen of the Night Life

Hello my darlings,

How are you today? I’m writing to you once again from backstage at the Jube! Today we are focusing lights and setting levels and all that fun stuff. But more about that later, for now I’m here to tell you a bit more about the Queen of the Night!

When we first started discussing this Opera, the Queen of the Night was always a hot topic of conversation.  Between her entrances, throne, costumes and headpieces, she has been a joyful challenge for us here at Edmonton Opera.    After having looked at some of the other Queens of the Night online, I must say I think our version is quite unique while still staying true to the character.  She’s dramatic, scary and very beautiful and boy, you better believe me when I tell you that Teiya Kasahara owns it.   She’s got the power and gives us everything she’s got and it’s beautiful to see in rehearsal, let alone on the real stage with the incredible pieces Deanna and her army have made for her.

Below you’ll see some of the renderings of Deanna’s magnificent designs.  The Queen of the Night is featured in two costumes, on the right hand side. She has a very powerful, commanding look to her and the costumes look just like this in real life! Unlike the set pieces which almost always come out looking the way they should, in my previous experience (mostly school), the costumes never quite look the way they do in the drawings.  In Deanna’s world though, It’s nothing short of incredible to see how accurate they manage to be when putting everything together.


As you can see, the other characters are much more fun and playful, and have a bit more of the Bollywood influence we were going for. 

Just about two weeks ago now, we were fortunate enough to have Teiya herself come in to do a photoshoot for our print materials and social media campaigns.  I worked alongside Cameron MacRae (Senior Manager of Marketing) once again to put this shoot together.  Because we shot in the Production Facility, we had a bit of trouble finding the correct spot to do it to not have an industrial look to it.  We decided to set up the rocky stairs set piece from the show and to drape some fabric to hide the wall behind it.  What started out as a half decent idea (really) didn’t look great, but thanks to the magic of photoshop, Cameron was able to cut her out and place her on a background that lends itself a bit more to the theme of the show.

About two minutes before we were expected to shoot, Teiya walked onto the set with two wardrobe gals helping her carry this massive dress across our sawdust covered floor.  There were so many layers of colour and fabric on top of one and other and it created the most gorgeous dress.  The shoulder pieces were easily my favorite as they brought a lot of dimension to the costume and once again, made her look so very strong and powerful.


For this shoot, Cameron photographed along with the Edmonton Journal photographer, John Lucas, (who by the way, has been working on a piece about the show that I’ll be thrilled to share with you all once it’s up).  Rob, the show’s director, was in tow to help give Teiya some direction for how he wanted these promo photos to come across and damn girl, you looked both incredibly beautiful and terrifying!

IMG_3946 IMG_3949

These are just two of the incredible shots he got.  I hope to share more as we get into the dress rehearsals and performances.

Well that is it for me today.  Stay tuned from more from the world of the Magic Flute soon!  We open this Saturday the 31st to a SOLD OUT PERFORMANCE!!  and then have performances on Tuesday, February 3rd and again on Thursday, February 5th at 7:30 pm at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.  Come check us out!


Paint Life

Hello everyone!

As I almost always start my posts, MY MY IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME… Story of my busy life.  Though, I will admit I’m happy to be a while in between posts if it means that I get to go out and do things and live life! Wheee! Anyways, back to today’s post!

Today I write to you from the side of the stage at the Jubilee Auditorium as we install the Magic Flute.  We’re on day 2 of our install and we are currently putting the stage deck in place before finishing up with the other set pieces that fly in and out. It took us a long time to get to this point and believe me when I tell you that we’re all excited to be here.  So now let’s go back and have a look at just how we got here.

As I had mentioned in my last post, the design coming to life is a big part of what we do in the production department at Edmonton Opera.  We take the sketches delivered to us by Bretta (and Deanna, who I will discuss in my next post) and make them a reality through the magic of carpentry, painting, sewing, gluing, and so, so, so much more.  Today’s topic — the wonderful world of painting.

For this show, we’ve been trying to recreate a vision of a child’s pop up book with lots of color and funky pieces that come out of here, there and everywhere.  Each element of the set has it’s own unique characteristics — from shape to paint treatments to the way it tracks on and off and are designed to help bring us to a different point in the story. The Magic Flute is such a fantastical tale that we wanted to bring our patrons right into the whimsical world Mozart envisioned and what better way than through colour?

parkerMr Parker is very envious of Papagena’s costume.  

As the carpenters’ work came to an end and the paint concepts trickled in, we brought in Edmonton’s Opera’s Head Scenic Artist, Shanna Orgovan, and her team of Meghan Kumpula and Katie Hartfeil to bring Bretta’s design to life.  They were tasked with making these little 8×10 sheets of paper into a full scale reality — and several of the pieces were at least 20′ high! They did a terrific job, really staying true to the concept and I can’t wait to see how it all looks when it’s lit up!

forestpaintingHere they are discussing what’s next on our forest flats. 

But in theatre.. there’s also the less fun part of the paint department, and that is painting the backsides.. In this show in particular, it meant spraying every single riser and the many, many pony walls with a blue paint.  This way when we rent the show pack out, we know that all of the blue pieces and for the Magic Flute, making it super easy for us and for the renters as well.  Luckily for the crew, we have our fancy-dancy spray booth up and running and they were able to get through this stuff in no time flat.  Mind you, the floor looks a bit worse for wear haha.  (Side Tip : A lot of the time in Theatre, you would paint the back of scenery in black, so that it would be hidden.) 


They just blue’d everything.

Next in the world of paint and colour, we had the infamous Queen of the Night throne.  Because of the impact of the Queen of the night, this was a very important set piece for us and had many different versions, but the final design featured a lot of painted silk, draped every which way to make sort of a criss-cross pattern which will tie into the dress that Deanna and her wardrobe gals have been working on feverishly.   Our head properties gal, Chantel Fortin, was tasked with this project.  She started by ordering grey silk and a variety of different fabric paints in hues of blue and purple.  She laid out a layer of tyvek on the wood floor to have both a clean and smooth work surface and off she went! She used a hudson sprayer to get a blended look and sea salt to create some incredible patterns.  After she finished with that, she cut the pieces up, serged the edges so they wouldn’t fray later on and got to layering it on the base.   Once we actually open the show, I can give you a better idea of what that looks like — but you know how it is.

silkpaintingHere’s Chantel evaluating what is next (I imagine… Correct me if I’m wrong, Chantel!) 

Of course there are more paint concepts to show, but I’m gonna save those for my next post!

Hope you enjoyed this inside look at the Magic Flute.  Stay tuned for more posts in the coming days.

We open the show this Saturday but are sold out, though we do have performances on Tuesday, February 3rd and again on Thursday, February 5th at 7:30 pm at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.  Come check us out!