BWW Blog: Mezzo-Soprano Claudia Chapa Talks OHs THE MEDIUM
THE MEDIUM and THE TELEPHONE, two mid-twentieth century compositions by Gian Carlo Menotti, make the perfect double act at Opera in the Heights. THE MEDIUM concerns a spooky, alcohol drenched, sham of a séance and THE TELEPHONE-a love affair hampered by technology.
Claudia Chapa, the mezzo-soprano who puts The Medium in THE MEDIUM talks about weathering the storm, literally, and embracing the much deserved rainbow that follows.
Becoming Madam Flora
When Opera in the Heights offered me the title role in THE MEDIUM, I jumped at the opportunity. I've worked with OH! in the past (Dame Quickly in FALSTAFF, The Witch in HANSEL UND GRETEL), so I was excited to perform this complex character in such an intimate setting.
A one sentence synopsis of THE MEDIUM: Madam Flora (or "Baba") is a charlatan who poses as a medium to make THAT MONEY and in one of her "séances" things get real and she loses it. Of course, the characters and storyline are more complex than that, but that's basically the story.
The rehearsal process has been intense for me, Madam Flora/Baba has so much hurt, anger, and pain. Lynda Keith McKnight, our stage director, encouraged us to be genuine on stage. And I'm not going to lie, while Menotti wrote a wicked opera, it was musically hard to learn. But Maestro Eiki Isomura is fantastic to work with. He is very attentive and shepherded us when needed. This role has challenged me musically and emotionally. I love it.
I want to start this section with this: Our final dress rehearsal went amazingly! But our previous dress rehearsal was a real mess. Everything that could go wrong did! Side note: Our creative/production team is AWESOME! They are scrappy and they make it happen (even when it seems impossible). Go team!
A big storm swung through by Houston and affecting the lighting system, so our lighting designer dealt with that. THANKS, PATRICIA! Props were breaking, costumes were not fully finished, there was a scheduling conflict causing one of our cast members to leave early. Yet all of these issues highlight how much opera is a team effort. The singers are just the tip of the iceberg. We learned from that dress rehearsal and looked forward to our final orchestra dress.
Sun in the Sky
The energy for our final dress was steady. Everyone had their game faces on and we were ready to create some compelling stage magic. The show goes smoothly!
Once our final dress was done, I felt the energy to be both relaxed and excited! Relaxed because all of the major malfunctions in previous rehearsals had been worked out, and excited because we did it! We have put together a show that makes us proud and we can't wait to perform for y'all! WOOT!
Remaining performances of THE MEDIUM AND THE TELEPHONE are Nov. 5 and 7 at 7:30 pm. For more information, visit www.operaintheheights.org/the-medium-the-telephone.
For more information on Claudia Chapa, visit www.claudiachapa.com.