Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Man From O.P.E.R.A

Earlier in the month, I sat down to have a chat with the man behind The Barber of Seville. No, not Rossini. I may be talented, but I’m not THAT talented. I’m talking about David Gately, director of the comic opera coming soon to the Ellie. David is intelligent, well-spoken and passionate. Read more...

Why is opera still important and relevant?
It lifts people’s spirits. Barber doesn’t have the most weight or impact, but that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. People often turn to art in times of tragedy or uncertainty, and art gets them out of their lives for a little while. Opera is a dynamic art form. You never know what’s going to happen because every performance is a little bit different.

What are some of the myths about opera that you still come across?
There are a lot of misconceptions still floating out there. I believe that opera is an acquired taste, but it’s not hard to acquire. I encourage people to go and see what it’s like. They’re sometimes surprised to find it’s like a play and they can follow the story. They find it interesting and it becomes less scary. A lot of people think operas are so long, but there are plenty of movies out there that run 2 ½ or 3 hours. If the story is engaging, time doesn’t matter. People also think it’s a bunch of fat people singing and not acting, but that’s become the exception and not the rule.

What book do you think would make a good opera?
John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. It’s a very funny and moving work and the fact that it was published at all is a kind of miracle. The author’s mother found it after he committed suicide and she convinced a local professor to read it. He thought it was amazing, and the rest is history. The story itself is about a man who lives in New Orleans and doesn’t fit into society, which is a pretty common theme in opera. You look at Peter Grimes or even Don Pasquale and you see characters who don’t quite mesh with their surroundings.

Do you have any pets?
I do have a cat back in Seattle. I love cats, but my partner hated them, so I never thought we’d have one. But one day I got a call while working at Central City Opera. My partner says, “What does this sound like?” I said, “It sounds like a cat purring.” He had found a cat under a bush and brought her in. She utterly adores and dotes on him, and I think it was her karmic responsibility to turn my partner into a cat lover. She doesn’t seem to care for me that much, which I find funny. She even waits by the door until her “real dad” shows up after work.

If you could live anywhere for a year, where would it be?
London. It’s one of my favorite cities. I love the lifestyle and think it’s beautiful. It has such a strong cultural focus with so many opportunities for opera and the theater. I think it seems so civilized and there’s an incredible amount of history. I’m really quite an Anglophile. I want to travel more, which people think is odd since I travel for a living. I tell them that I don’t think of traveling to direct as real traveling, it’s just sort of a really long commute.

Just in case you don't have your tickets to Barber, we are SOLD OUT for Friday and Sunday's performances. Better buy your tickets for tonight! See you on Thursday!


No comments: