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Behind the Curtain: Palm Beach Opera

Mary Gibble

How do you go about planning your main-stage opera season?

Great puzzle, always. We set certain parameters as part of our vision: We want to be international, we want to make sure we have a broad spectrum of repertoire, we want to make sure we can always have something that's a little lesser known, but we have to balance that with something that's really well known to create a great first experience for first comers. And then, we sit down with our 20, 25 titles that we would like to do and we figure out what will work with what and take a look at the productions that are available. Then, we see what singers, conductors, directors are available, and sometimes we change repertoire based on that.

Palm Beach Opera - Macbeth - Shakespeare set to Opera

In the 2014 season, which opera is the familiar one and which one pushes the envelope?

I think the most unfamiliar here—as an operatic piece—is probably Macbeth. It's not produced that often, simply because it's very difficult to cast, especially for the soprano, Lady Macbeth. And then, the familiar one is Barber of Seville; everybody knows "Figaro," everybody knows Bugs Bunny.

 

How do you go about casting these main-stage productions? Do you have certain vocalists in mind and see if they're available, or do you do an open casting in Manhattan?

Both. We start with a list of artists whom we would like to invite. So, we contact their artist managers to see if they're available and interested. If they are, then that's great. And if not, we look around elsewhere. Then, we do have auditions in New York for some of the other roles. We're fortunate in that we have a lot of famous singers who want to come to Palm Beach. We don't have that much need to rely on auditions, but we hold them every year so that we're current with who's singing and how well.

 

What would you like the community to know about Palm Beach Opera?

If I had one wish, then it's for the community to stop worrying about culture. We're here and we've been resilient. It's my big hope that people have faith in organizations and realize that they are a part of their future, rather than say 'oh, we don't know if the theater is going to be here, if the museum is going to make it.' We're continuing to work towards the future. So, I am very excited. I've never felt as good about the company as I do now.

 

Palm Beach Opera’s 2013-14 Season:

  • Opera at the Waterfront, December 14, Meyer Amphitheatre, Downtown West Palm Beach
  • Macbeth, Verdi, January 24-26, Kravis Center, West Palm Beach
  • One Opera in One Hour, January 31 and February 28, Harriet Himmel Theater, CityPlace, West Palm Beach
  • The Barber of Seville, Rossini, February 21-23, Kravis Center, West Palm Beach
  • The Tales of Hoffman, Offenbach, March 21-23, Kravis Center, West Palm Beach

 

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