The holidays are almost here! Will you be naughty or nice?

Take a break from holiday planning and join us at The Language of Birds

December is already here, and all of us at Tulsa Opera are humming along getting ready for a number of very exciting upcoming projects!

Tulsa Youth Opera will present the Oklahoma premiere of John Kennedy’s The Language of Birds at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 11. The performance will take place at Nathan Hale High School, 6960 E. 21st St., Tulsa, OK 74129.
Admission is free to the public and all ages are invited to attend.

The Language of Birds December 11 at 3PM

The Language of Birds, based on the children’s book by Rafe Martin, follows a boy as he learns that money is not necessarily the key to happiness. When he helps a baby bird who is lost in the forest, the bird’s mother teaches Ivan to understand her language. This insight pushes him through life’s struggles.
This production will be directed by Rebecca Herman, who also directed our  tour of The Silence Tree–which is sold out through January– and the very successful production of Trouble in Tahiti that we produced with the Philbrook Museum in March of this year.
Give the gift of Opera…and they will sing your praises! 

As we head into the holidays, we’re pretty certain you won’t be buying your loved ones a partridge in a pear tree. Let us suggest a terrific gift that they’ll adore! Give a Duet Subscription to Tulsa Opera’s season of unexpected transformations!

Sarah Coburn as Rosina in The Barber of Seville

Save 30% off the price of single tickets for both Dead Man Walking and Madame Butterfly!  Duets Subscriptions start at $50 for both productions. Some of the best seats in the house still available.  Call 918.587.4811 to order a Duet Subscription today.

Naughty or Nice? 
The New Yorker magazine thinks we’ve been pretty nice.  Tulsa Opera’s season opened in October with a critically acclaimed production of The Barber of Seville.  The New Yorker magazine critic Alex Ross called Tulsa Opera “one of the sturdier and more adventurous organizations in its class.” He commented on Tulsa Opera’s history of supporting rising talent and the importance of regional opera companies in advancing this art form.

During the first six months of our season, more than 14,000 students experienced an opera performance, many for the first time, at the Student Matinee of Barber and our Opera on Tour! in schools around Oklahoma and nearby states.   And we have so much more planned!

Support Tulsa Opera with Your Year-End Charitable Gift

The close of the calendar year is mid-year for Tulsa Opera and we ask the you consider a gift to help support the remainder of our season. To donate go to the Tulsa Opera website and click on the donate button or call the Development Department at (918) 582-4035.

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Meet Sister Helen Prejean

Meet Sister Helen Prejean

Here at the Tulsa Opera offices, we are busily preparing ourselves for the next opera we will be producing: Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. This opera premiered in October 2000 at San Francisco Opera and has gone on to garner great popular and critical acclaim. In the months before our exciting Tulsa premiere, we will be sharing with you some of the interesting stories and people behind this great American opera. To start us off, we would like you to meet Sister Helen Prejean, who lived this story. In the movie, her character was played by Susan Sarandon; at Tulsa Opera, Kirsten Chavez will make her long overdue role debut as Sister Helen. Below, you can read her remarkable biography which will help us all understand just a little more about this remarkable woman. (Full Biography from http://www.prejean.org/)

 

Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean was born on April 21, 1939, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille in 1957 (now know as the Congregation of St. Joseph) and received a B.A. in English and Education from St. Mary’s Dominican College, New Orleans in 1962. In 1973, she earned an M.A. in Religious Education from St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, Canada. She has been the Religious Education Director at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in New Orleans, the Formation Director for her religious community, and has taught junior and senior high school students.

Sister Helen began her prison ministry in 1981 when she dedicated her life to the poor of New Orleans. While living in the St. Thomas housing project, she became pen pals with Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers, sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana’s Angola State Prison.

Upon Sonnier’s request, Sister Helen repeatedly visited him as his spiritual advisor. In doing so, her eyes were opened to the Louisiana execution process. Sister Helen turned her experiences into a book that not only made the 1994 American Library Associates Notable Book List, it was also nominated for a 1993 Pulitzer Prize. Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States was number one on the New York Times Best Seller List for 31 weeks. It also was an international best seller and has been translated into ten different languages.

In January 1996, the book was developed into a major motion picture starring Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen and Sean Penn as a death row inmate. Produced by Polygram Pictures, the film was directed and written by Tim Robbins. The movie received four Oscar nominations including Tim Robbins for Best Director, Sean Penn for Best Actor, Susan Sarandon for Best Actress, and Bruce Springsteen’s “Dead Man Walking” for Best Song. Susan Sarandon won the award for Best Actress.

The book was the basis for a new opera. It was presented by the San Francisco Opera and premiered in October 2000. The libretto was written by Terrance McNally. Jake Heggie composed the music.

Sister Helen and Dead Man Walking have been the subject of numerous media stories and reviews in the U.S., Canada, Spain, Holland, England, Scotland, France and Australia. She has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, the St. Anthony Messenger, the Ligourian, the Chicago Tribune, the Atlanta Constitution, the Times Picayune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New Orleans Magazine, the Tablet, Sisters Today and numerous other print media.

Her broadcast appearances include 60 Minutes, NBC’s Today Show, ABC World News Tonight; the Tom Snyder Show on CNBC, Larry King Live (radio), the Phil Donahue Show, BBC World Service Radio, National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and Fresh Air, an NBC Special on the Death Penalty, the Canadian Broadcast Company Man Alive, the BBC’s Everyman, ABC’s Prime Times Live, and PBS’ Frontline.

Fifteen years after beginning her crusade, the Roman Catholic sister has witnessed five executions in Louisiana and today educates the public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing and writing. As the founder of “Survive,” a victim’s advocacy group in New Orleans, she continues to counsel not only inmates on death row, but the families of murder victims, as well.

Sister Helen has served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty from 1985–1995, and has served as Chairperson of the Board from 1993–1995. She is also a member of Amnesty International and an honorary member of Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation. She presently is the Honorary Chairperson of Moratorium Campaign, a group gathering signatures for a world-wide moratorium on the death penalty. On December 18, 2000 S. Helen, Paul Hoffman, board member of Amnesty International and Mario Marizziti, representative of The St. Egidio Community in Rome, Italy presented Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the U.N. with 2.5 million signatures from people all over the world who are calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.

Her book Dead Man Walking was on the New York Times bestseller list for 31 weeks.  It was also on the International bestseller list.  It has been translated into ten different languages.

S. Helen’s second book, The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions, was published in December 2004. In it, she tells the story of two men, Dobie Gillis Williams and Joseph O’Dell, whom she accompanied to their executions. She believes both of them were innocent. In The Death of Innocents she takes the reader through all the evidence, including evidence the juries never heard either due to the incompetence of the defense lawyers or the rigid formalities of court procedure. S. Helen examines how flaws inextricably entwined in the death penalty system inevitably lead to innocent people being executed and render the system unworkable.

For more information on Sister Helen Prejean or the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille, visit http://www.sistersofstjoseph.org

 

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A look at the 2011-12 season.

Kostis Protopapas, Artistic Director

Tulsa Opera’s 2011-12 season has to be one of the most varied we’ve ever had: A famous romantic comedy, a powerful contemporary American drama and one of opera’s most beloved romantic melodramas.

Rossini’s The Barber of Seville is opera’s perfect comedy. Just the overture alone is enough to bring a smile to every face.  As soon as the curtain rises, we are introduced to a gallery of delightful characters, some charming, some exuberant and some, well… grumpy.  All of them have great tunes to sing, in Rossini’s florid bel canto style, and they throw themselves into a romp of trickery, disguise, intrigue and misunderstandings.  At the end, young love and good spirits triumph and the grumpy reluctantly acquiesce.

Dead Man Walking is the most successful American opera of the last ten years.  It is based on the autobiographical bestseller by Sister Helen Prejean, which also inspired the award-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.  It is the true story of a nun – Sister Helen herself- who becomes the spiritual advisor of a convicted murderer on death-row in 1980’s Louisiana.  It is a quintessentially American story, told by composer Jake Heggie in a characteristically American musical idiom.  It is both accessible and stirring.  The opera takes us on a musical journey through complicated emotional and moral issues, and delivers a punch that lingers for days.

The season’s last opera, by that great musical puppeteer of the heartstrings, Puccini, unfolds a heartbreaking story, set to luscious romantic music against the backdrop of exotic 19th century Japan.  A beautiful young geisha, Cio-Cio-San, falls in love with a dashing American naval officer, who marries her before leaving to return to America.  She spends three years awaiting his return, only to find out that her hope was in vain. He returns married to another woman.  It is one of Puccini’s most opulent scores, where full-throated melodies are spread
against a luxurious orchestral fabric, accented by exotic percussion sounds and authentic Japanese tunes.

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Auction Items for Tulsa Opera Founders Celebration

If you are interested in buying it now, please contact the Development Department at (918)582-4035.  Bids can also be placed via phone as well.  Please call for more information.


Enjoy the enchantment of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Opera  

Four-day, three night stay for two at guest house at a Santa Fe home on July 28, 29, 30 and 31.  On July 29, enjoy the first major U.S. production of Griselda at the Santa Fe Opera, with reserved parking and a backstage tour.  Trip includes Southwest Airlines tickets.

Value  –   $ 3,500
Buy It Now –   $ 3,900 

Guest house donated by Pam and Terry Carter
Opera tickets donated by The Santa Fe Opera
Air tickets donated by Kristen and Jim Bender                     


Progressive Gourmet Dinner with Tulsa Opera

Five couples to enjoy an evening at four different homes – each featuring a dinner course and a performance by a Tulsa Opera Studio Artist.  Stretch limo will transport you to the homes of Kristin and Jim Bender; Margaret and Steven Kobos; Gina and Chris Covington and Gina and Mike Lodes.  Date to be determined by auction winners, hosts and availability of Studio Artists.

Value – Priceless
Buy 2 Seats Now- $ 1,500

Food and beverages donated by each couple
Artists courtesy of Tulsa Opera



Cocktail Party for 24 on Brookside Rooftop with Hors d’oeuvres by Wolfgang Puck

Host your own cocktail party at the top of Ivey in Brookside with 24 of your friends.  The rooftop of Ivey will become your own private party with all food provided by Wolfgang Puck.  Time to be determined by owner and winning bidder.

Value – $ 2,500
Buy It Now- $ 2,500

Food by Wolfgang Puck
Venue and drinks by The Ivey on Brookside

                                                                                                                                               

Valentin Magro Ring

Valentin Magro cushion- faceted Prasiolite ring in 18kt yellow gold from Saks

Valentin Magro, formerly designer for Tiffany & Co. and Harry Winston, blends this rare stone with a cushion faceted cutting, set in 18kt gold for a unique and enchanting ring setting.   Prasiolite is one of several quartz varieties and is rare stone to find in nature.   There is a reserve on this item.

Value – $ 8,100
Buy It Now -  $8,300

Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue


Grand Opera Experience

Join the stars of Tulsa Opera with a cameo appearance in the final production of Tulsa Opera’s 2011-2012 season, Madame Butterfly.  The lucky winner will appear onstage during the performance, as well as experience the rehearsals and costume fittings that any star would be required to do.  It’s a true inside look at being a part of a Tulsa Opera production.

Value – Priceless
Buy It Now – $ 1,800

Experience courtesy of Tulsa Opera


Ten-Course Gourmet Black-Tie Dinner at the Lodes’ Home

Bid for two seats at the celebrated Eleventh Annual Tulsa Opera Gourmet Black-Tie Dinner, hosted by Mike and Gina Lodes in their historic Maple Ridge home.  Four couples will enjoy cocktails and an elegant 10-course gourmet dinner, paired with specially selected fine wines.  All served on the Lodes’ collection of antique china, crystal and silver in turn of the century style.  Not to be missed!  Date to be determined by auction winners and host.

Value per couple – Priceless
Buy 2 seats now – $2,000

Courtesy of Mike and Gina Lodes


Luxury Family Vacation Home in Florida Seaside – 7 days and 6 nights.

Nestled in the Western Lake neighborhood of Watercolor, this elegant 5-bedroom cottage offers guests the perfect blend of privacy and gathering space.  Located in the master-planned beachfront community of WaterColor.   Beautifully decorated, the home includes 12-foot ceilings, antique pine floors, gourmet kitchen and even a sleeping porch.  House includes 1 King, 1 Queen and  4 twin (2 per room) beds.  No smoking and no pets.  Reservations are made according to availability of both parties and a $300 cleaning fee is required at the end of the stay.

Value – $ 4,500
Buy it now- $4,800

Courtesy of Cyndi and Richard Wright

Porch of Florida Seaside Home

Painting by Byron Shen – “Another Light”

Shen was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He received a B. A. in English and writing from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania and an M.F.A. in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He is currently on the board of the Oklahoma Visual Artists Coalition and teaches art at the Holland Hall Upper School.

Value – $ 650
Buy it Now – $ 750

Courtesy of Byron Shen

 

Backstage experience for two at The Barber of Seville

Two people will enjoy a myriad of activities! Take a tour with veteran backstage technical director Mike Sherrill.  Sit with production stage manager Rachel Ginzberg as she “calls” the show (only one at a time).  See as much or as little as you like.  Then join the principal artists and Kostis in his dressing room for a glass of champagne!

Value – Priceless
Buy it Now – $ 1,200

Courtesy of Tulsa Opera

 

Sapphire and Diamond Ring from Israel Diamond Supply

A 5.5-carat blue sapphire set in 14-carat white gold with nearly 1 carat of diamond pave halo. This beautiful ring will make a great addition to your jewelry collection for day or evening.

Value – $3,500
Buy It Now – $ 4,000

Courtesy of Israel Diamond Supply

 

Great Gatsby Cocktail Party at Blair Mansion on Riverside

Enjoy a cocktail party in the tradition of the roaring 1920s.  The Blair home was built in the late 1950s and was designed by John Duncan Forsyth to duplicate Jefferson Davis’s home in Mississippi.  The home overlooks the Arkansas River and has the perfect lawn for a number of crocquet games.  This evening for 10 couples includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and jazz music.  Party to be arranged by winning bidder and hosts.

Value – Priceless
Buy it Now – $ 3,000           

Party donated by Margaret and Steven Kobos
Blair Mansion courtesy of George Kaiser Family Foundation and Dan Buford
Champagne and dessert at Evelyn Hatfield’s New Home for 20

Enjoy champagne and dessert at Evelyn Hatfield’s new home, located on 29th Street.  Evelyn suggests it might be great after a night out at the opera!  Time dependent on winning bidder and the host.

Value – Priceless
Buy it Now – $ 1,200

Courtesy of Evelyn Hatfield

 

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Photos from Tulsa Opera’s premiere production of Norma

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Norma: vocalism of titanic proportions AND Oscar-worthy acting chops

Lovesick women chasing after men who have more on their minds than romance.  Fiercely independent women who use their beauty and powers of seduction to find fame and fortune.  There are many exceptional roles for sopranos in the operatic repertoire; however many of the most well-known and treasured heroines might also be regarded as stereotypical.  Think Cio-Cio-San in Madame Butterfly, Violetta in La Traviata, and the title characters in Aïda and Turandot

Although opera storylines tend to share certain elements, that doesn’t make the characters any less loveable or less worthy of our empathy. Nor is the music any less difficult to sing. But it’s rare to find a role that is so challenging for a singer technically and also requires them to play such an immense range of emotion.  Norma requires both. The score demands vocalism of titanic proportions and Oscar-worthy acting chops. It’s rare to find a soprano who can really handle it.

Perhaps it is for this reason that in its 63-year history, Tulsa Opera has never staged the opera. This spring, Norma receives her long-overdue premiere with a production created expressly for the Tulsa Opera stage by Stanley M. Garner, a popular American stage director and an Oklahoma native.  The production stars distinguished American soprano Brenda Harris in the title role and commanding tenor Frank Porretta as her lover, Pollione.

With Norma, Vincenzo Bellini gave the bel canto tradition its crown jewel.  It is the heartbreakingly beautiful and affecting story of an ancient Druid priestess contemplating her fate and that of her children, as she faces abandonment by the Roman soldier who is her lover. 

Bellini, together with Gioacchino Rossini and Gaetano Donizetti, forms the “holy trinity” of Italian bel canto opera composers.  His relatively small body of work – only 10 operas – had astonishingly far-reaching influence on Italian opera.  His operas are distinguished from those of his two colleagues by the unique sense of musical mysticism arising from his finely-spun, hypnotic melodies and highly emotional dramatic style.  Norma includes such unforgettable passages as Norma’s transforming “Casta Diva”, and the duet for Norma and Adalgisa, “Mira o Norma”. 

Stage Director Stanley M. Garner is returning to Tulsa Opera to create this new and imaginative production.  Garner’s work was most recently seen in Tulsa in 2009 with the production of Lucia di Lammermoor.  In addition to conceiving and directing the production, he also designed the set and the costumes.

This isn’t Garner’s first experience with Norma.  He has directed the show twice in his career, the first time at the Connecticut Opera in Hartford, and then a decade later at the Seattle Opera.

“Those previous productions have influenced my approach to the opera this time around in a major way,” Garner said.  “Both of those earlier incarnations were very traditional, or I should say, they were as traditional as an opera written in 1831 would have been presented in the 20th century. One thing bothered me however; the depiction of Rome’s occupation of ancient Gaul never really rang true. Displaying an invented, fictional Druid culture alongside a factual Roman society seemed a constant distraction.”

“The juxtaposition of seeing a Roman centurion on the same stage as a lady wearing what seemed like a shimmering evening gown topped off with a little rhinestone tiara was incongruous at the least.”

By setting Norma in an unspecific time and place, the characters, their drama and music resonate without that distracting conflict of fact versus fiction; history versus invention.

There are only two different scenes in the opera: the site where they perform religious rites – “the altar of Irminsul” – and Norma’s dwelling.  Garner based the design for the altar on a photograph of a modern recreation of Stonehenge in New Zealand.   For Norma’s dwelling, a large wall built out of recycled? shipping pallets is used with several platforms.

The pallet wall allows the audience to still see the altar in the background, maintaining the religious overtones as a constant influence on Norma.  

The costume design is based on the clothing globally worn by men in countries near the equator and composed of three garments, pants, tunic, and either a vest or coat as a unisex fashion for the Druid society. To represent the agrarian aspect of the society the color palette is brown and green.

Soprano Brenda Harris returns to Tulsa Opera in the iconic role of Norma, one of her signature roles. “Brenda is one of the foremost interpreters of Norma,” Kostis Protopapas, artistic director of Tulsa Opera, said.  “Her voice, with its amazing combination of beauty, power and agility and her authoritative stage personality make her an ideal interpreter of Bellini’s mythical druid priestess.”

When asked what the most challenging part of the role is for her, Harris quickly responds, “the opening.”  There is definitely a lot of build-up to Norma’s arrival at the religious ceremony. “Everyone talks about Norma for twenty minutes before she hits the stage and then she’s charged with the challenge of one of the most difficult and most famous arias in the operatic repertoire.” 

Harris continues, “This woman is such a wonderfully perfect and flawed character all at once!  Her struggle is human and archetypal and everyone can relate to some part of Norma. And the music . . . don’t get me started.  It just doesn’t get any better!”

Garner began work on the production almost a year and a half ago.  “Although I’ve always been a traditionalist in my approach to opera, at my initial meeting with Kostis Protopapas I immediately became excited about his proposal to give the Tulsa Opera audience a new view of Norma as she finally makes her Oklahoma debut.”

Harris, too, is looking forward to a new interpretation of this classic work. “Norma is a work of such timeless distinction that a variety of periods, styles and interpretations can work!  If the concept is well prepared and consistent, it can be wonderful!”

Performances of Norma will be held in the Chapman Music Hall of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center on Saturday, April 30, and Friday May 6, at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee performance on Sunday, May 8 at 2:30 p.m.  The opera will be performed in the original Italian with English supertitles projected above the stage. 

Norma

Presented by Tulsa Opera

April 30 and May 6 at 7:30 p.m.

May 8 at 2:30 p.m.

Chapman Music Hall

Tickets are $10 – $98

MyTicketOffice.com and 596-7111

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An interview with Norma stage director, Stanley M. Garner.

In preparation for our upcoming company premiere and original production of Norma, I had a chance to talk to Stanley M. Garner, the brilliant stage director (and one of Tulsa Opera’s favorites), about his vision for this new production.  Garner has not only designed the set for this production, but he also designed the costumes, all of which are being built as I type by our fabulous scene shop and costume department.  It’s quite the undertaking.

How is this any different from all of the other operas we produce?  The way an opera comes together is a unique melding of local resources and talent with certain imported elements.  Costumes and sets are most often imported elements.  Putting an opera onstage – casting principal roles, auditioning local chorus members, contracting orchestra members, hiring directors, stage managers, backstage crew – is a big job.  Add to that building a new set and designing and constructing new costumes and you’ve got an enormous job.  During production Tulsa Opera grows from 12 full-time staff members to between 125 and 200 people!

Thanks to Garner’s hard work and clear artistic vision, we’re looking forward to an exciting company premiere and original production of Norma this month! 

Tulsa Opera (TO): Norma is not an oft-performed opera. Is this the first production you’ve worked on? How has that influenced the concept you’ve created for the show?

Stanley M. Garner (SG): Norma and I get together about once every ten years. I first worked on the opera twenty years ago at the Connecticut Opera in Hartford, then a decade later at the Seattle Opera.  Now ten years after that production, Norma and I are together once more.  Those previous productions have influenced my approach to the opera this time around in a major way. Both of those earlier incarnations were very traditional, or I should say, they were as traditional as an opera written in 1831 would have been presented in the 20th century. One thing bothered me however. The depiction of Rome’s occupation of ancient Gaul never really rang true. Displaying an invented, fictional Druid culture alongside a factual Roman society seemed a constant distraction. The juxtaposition of seeing a Roman centurion on the same stage as a lady wearing what seemed like a shimmering evening gown topped off with a little rhinestone tiara was incongruous at the least. This time around the centurion’s leather skirt is replaced with a nonspecific uniform and Norma’s rhinestones are left in the jewelry chest. By setting Norma in an unspecific time and place, the characters, their drama and music resonate without that distracting conflict of fact versus fiction; history versus invention.

TO: You’ve created not only a unique production but you’ve also designed the costumes for the production.  Can you talk about your vision for this production?  Is this the first time you’ve designed a production or designed costumes?

SG: I’ve designed several productions over the course of my career so far, not only for opera but for productions of Shakespeare’s plays as well.  In designing this production I began with the scenery.  There are only two scenes in the opera: the altar of Irminsul and Norma’s dwelling. The design for the first is based on a photograph of a modern recreation of Stonehenge which has been erected in New Zealand.  Having previously worked with the hugely talented lighting designer, Helena Kuukka, I wanted to use the production to display her amazing work.  Consequently, I streamlined the design so that the light from her instruments would not be blocked by a lot of scenery.  In that respect the altar scenery is almost ballet-like in its look. To indicate Norma’s dwelling I wanted to represent a man-made structure.  Also, I wanted to be able to switch in and out of this scene without having to lower the main curtain and wait in silence for the scenery to be changed.  What I’ve come to refer to as the “pallet wall” became the answer to that challenge.  It offers a distinctively different locale for her home while maintaining in our eye the religious overtones of the previous scene as a constant influence on Norma.  It also provides an opportunity to transform the altar platform of the previous scene into a completely different entity: simple furniture for Norma’s dwelling.

The costume design is based on the clothing globally worn by men in countries near the equator such as Colombia, Saudi Arabia, India, Vietnam, etc.  This costume is composed of three garments:  pants, tunic, and either a vest or coat.  The major differences in the individual cultures is the man’s headdress. In Colombia it is a sombrero, in Saudi Arabia a turban, in India the Gandhi cap, in Vietnam a rice hat, etc. In the Norma costume design, I used this basic three-garment fashion paired with fabric headpieces as a unisex fashion for the Druid society. To represent the agrarian aspect of the society I chose a color palette of brown (male) and green (female).

TO:  Creating a new production and costumes is a huge undertaking.  How long have you been working on Norma?  Has it been a collaborative process with Tulsa Opera?

I began work on this production of Norma about a year and a half ago.  It began with a meeting with Maestro Protopopas to discuss the basic concept of the production.  Although I’ve always been a traditionalist in my approach to opera, at this initial meeting I immediately became excited about his proposal to give the Tulsa Opera audience a new view of Norma as she finally makes her Oklahoma debut.  I spent the next six months reacquainting myself with the opera by studying the score and translating the libretto, etc. It was also during this period that I began laying out the designs for scenery and costumes.  Finally, eight months before its premiere, the conception was presented to the staff of Tulsa Opera in order that the cost of producing it could be budgeted.  Since that meeting, while I mapped out staging for the performers and prepared a supertitle translation, the talented members of the Tulsa Opera production team have been assembling the scenery and costumes of this unique production for the stage.

Don’t miss this exciting production, opening April 30 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. 

Norma
April 30 // May 6  //  May 8
Get your tickets here.

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