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BRINGING THE CURTAIN DOWN

BRAD COHEN, 15 NOVEMBER

Thank you for your warm responses to my last post, about production week in an opera house. In this post I plan to describe what happens at this time of year, now our 2017 season is officially over.

As soon as the curtain went down on the final performance of our successful run of The Pearl Fishers, the stage crew swung into action. The entire set was dismantled, along with the lighting rig, the props and costumes, moved off the stage through the theatre’s loading dock into containers and trailers, and taken to its next port of call – whether that be storage, or shipped elsewhere. It’s a highly organised, virtuosic routine – performed to an empty house and no audience! The orchestra pit is cleared, the scores and orchestral parts packaged up and returned to the publisher; the dressing rooms emptied, and everything made shipshape for the next production at His Majesty’s Theatre – in this case, West Australian Ballet, who start their production this week.

Upstairs in the WAO offices, you’d be forgiven for thinking that everyone was putting their feet up for a bit. But that’s very far from being the case. I travelled early the next morning to Auckland for workshops on a project currently in development, and Carolyn Chard, General Manager,  joined me there the following day. After supervising the get-out (as the packing up of the production is called), Mandy Farmer, our redoubtable Production Manager, continued looking ahead to Opera in the Park next February, dealing with sound, stage build, orchestral requirements, and scheduling. Terasa Letizia, our Education Manager, went straight on working with school visits to WAO, Opera in the Studio, and planning for the additional events involved in our Anniversary Season next year. Thomas Johnson, meanwhile, as Head of Music, continued his collaboration with Perry Joyce on our Wesfarmers Arts Singing Workshops, a new initiative for community chorus work in our Studio, which has taken off like a rocket. The enthusiasm and response to the Workshops has been so intense that we have realised there is an unmet need for this kind of activity, and are thinking hard about how to extend it next year.

Coralie Bishop, our Development Manager, and Danielle Ierace, our Marketing Manager, are both hard at work in the build up to 2017, which will involve new approaches to funding bodies and sponsors, as well as organising additional Anniversary Events such as our Sunset Supper on February 4. I’m so proud of the team at West Australian Opera.  Accountant Debbie Liebgott, Artistic Administrator Rebecca Kais, Office Coordinator Marion O’Connor, Music Librarian Allison Fyfe and Head of Wardrobe Sue Kerr complete it – together we enable and support what happens on stage, united in our passion for opera and our belief in its importance.

We can’t wait for 2017!

Until next time,

Brad Cohen
Artistic Director