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Call an opera dude – or diva!

Have you always dreamed about talking directly to a real opera singer, an orchestra musician, a director ... or may be a composer? Now you have the chance to call them all, from up north in Bergen and southwards to Madrid!

Over 50 ushers from nine different opera companies and festivals around Europa have booked the evenings on the 31st of May and 12th of June – to guide you backstage and reveal exciting details from their beloved productions before Covid-19 closed the doors for both them and the audience.

Here are some of the opera-pros you can have one-to-one conversations with during «This Evening’s Performance is not cancelled»:

Ingeborg Gillebo Bw Lang Nett

MEZZO-SOPRANO INGEBORG GILLEBO / BERGEN NATIONAL OPERA
The brilliant Norwegian mezzo-soprano Ingeborg Gillebo is one of the 12 ushers you can meet from Bergen National Opera, the second largest opera company in Norway.

BNO worked intensely with the brand-new production of Mozart's opera La clemenza di Tito – until the heartbreaking cancellation due to the corona-crisis, less than a fortnight before the premiere on the 21st of March.

Ingeborg was one if the six soloists, in the trouser role as the young Annio: He is together with Sesto a close friend of the Emperor Tito, and Annio is secretly having a love affair with Servilia, the strong headed woman Tito plans to marry.

If you call Bergen National Opera, you can also get the chance to chat with Ingeborg's understudy, the mezzo-soprano Ingvild Schultze-Florey, the Greek director Rodula Gaitanou, the Head of Props Barbro Worren, soprano Elisabeth Gimmestad (singing in the Tito-chorus), lighting designer Simon Corder, and pianist & assistant conductor Stephen Higgins, together with General & Artistic Director Mary Miller herself and others from the staff in beautiful Bergen. (See also below, about our Production Manager Vilde Ø. Gustavsen.)

Mariame Clement Opernregisseurin

DIRECTOR MARIAME CLÉMENT / TEATRO REAL MADRID
Spain is one of the countries in Europe worst affected by Covid-19. At the proud landmark Teatro Real in Madrid the skilled French director Mariame Clément was working towards the premiere of the baroque opera Achilles in Skyros (Achille in Sciro).

In this staging Clément planned to recreate the premiere of Achilles in Skyros in Madrid 1744, through the eyes of the Spanish Infanta. Learn more about it when you call Teatro Real Madrid!

You can also read more about Mariame Clément on her website.
Photo: Elisa Haberer

Krystian Lada

KRYSTIAN LADA / THE AIRPORT SOCIETY
The award winning Polish director, dramaturg and librettist Krystian Lada is one of the ushers from The Airport Society in Brussels, a cooperative of opera artists and social entrepreneurs.

On March 18th, his own concept Symphony of Expectation, was to be premiered in Belgium, with the HYOID voices and Symfonisch Orkest Opera Ballet Vlaanderen. Lada is also director for Symphony of Expectation, where he places a feminist pamphlet by Marie Pappenheim next to two iconic works from the 20th century: Sinfonia by Berio and Erwartung by Schönberg.

You can read more about Krystian Lada on the website of The Airport Society.

Joshua Bloom Bass

JOSHUA BLOOM / GARSINGTON OPERA
Less than an hour from London, Garsington Opera has attracted the festival audience to enjoy four different operas in beautiful and green scenery. But this spring came the devastating news that the whole summer festival was cancelled

The Australian-American bass singer Joshua Bloom has been a regular soloist at Garsington Opera, ever since his house debut there in 2009 as Alidoro i Rossini's La Cenerentola (Cinderella). This summer he was to sing Rocco in Beethoven's only opera Fidelio, together with Toby Spence as Florestan.

Joshua Bloom is joining as an usher, and as a cheerful warm-up session: In this recording you can see Joshua Bloom in the title role in The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart from Garsington Opera three years ago (2017). The festival hopes to return with exactly this opera in the future. Check this video f.ex. at about 43 minutes after the beginning, where you can see Bloom teasing Cherubino, in the famous aria Non più andrai:

(Photo: Kim Hardy)

Ben Frost

COMPOSER BEN FROST/STAATSOPER HANNOVER
What about chatting with the composer behind the soundtracks of thriller-series like Dark (Netflix) and Fortitude, and who also sometimes plays together with the experimental rock band Swans? Yes, the Australian composer Ben Frost will also join as an usher – on the last evening, which is the 12th of June.

This April his own opera The Murder of Halit Yozgat was to be world premiered at the Staatsoper Hannover in Germany, before travelling to Holland Festival in the Netherlands. The Murder of Halit Yozgat (Der Mordfall) is based on the true story about the still unsolved crime from 2006, when 21-year-old Halit Yozgat was assassinated in his family’s internet café in Kassel. Ben Frost is composer as well as director of this dark opera, which now is postponed.

You can read more about Ben Frost on his homepage.

Vilde

PRODUCTION MANAGER VILDE Ø. GUSTAVSEN / BERGEN NATIONAL OPERA
As the Production manager at Bergen National Opera, Vilde is responsible for the progress, budget and staffing of our productions. She comes close to everyone involved in an opera production; like soloists, extras, technicians, wig makers, the Press and Marketing department, stage managers, directors, choreographers ... and many others.

Vilde has previously worked at both Oslo Nye Teater, as stage manager as well as producer for "Scene Kvelder", and formerly also at Hordaland Teater (now called Det Vestnorske Teateret) in Bergen as a Production manager. She started working at BNO in 2017.

- I love being the link between the professional groups in the performing arts field. My job is to coordinate the production progress and that means you have to know a little about everything. I like to think big, and it creates a tremendous motivation when I meet people from the audience who say "This show changed something in me!".

Part of my job is risk assessment, and when the rumors began to spread about a highly contagious virus on its way, a lot of thoughts went through my head. What do we do now? It is like running a marathon and being stopped only 100 meters before the finish line, with the message that you are not allowed to go any further. You are confused, scared, ready for fight and in shock – all at the same time. As the days then slowly went back to a sort of normality, we could see light at the end of the tunnel. We have to move on. We need art. We must find new ways to reach out. So: Call me!

HOW DOES IT WORK?

You are invited to call in, select an opera company (or festival) from the menu with the numbers 1-9. You don‘t need to listen through the whole menu, if you already have decided where you want to visit. Then you will be connected live to one of the ushers there. Who exactly this person will be, is random, and a surprise. If you want, you can call the same opera company several times, and then may be get to chat with a different person each time (depending of each company).

The usher will introduce you to their production and guide you through their recorded material. This can f. ex. be a short music recording (like an aria), or an interview. Afterwards you will then be able to make further choices – hear more from that opera or bounce off round Europe to other productions.

Languages: There are a variety of languages on offer as you would imagine. If you are calling our Norwegian number, you will hear the choices in Norwegian and English, if you are calling in Spain you will get Spanish and English and so on. Wherever you want to connect to choose the number local to you and you will be able to choose to join any of our productions from there. English is available throughout.

Costs: Dialing in costs the same as any local call you make, as long as you use a number starting with your own international dialing code. If you’re in the UK – call our +44 UK number, if you’re in Norway call our +47 Norwegian one etc.

Also, if you have call minutes in your phone contract this will be included in those minutes. All the numbers connect you to our call centre so you can travel all over Europe by phone on a local call.

AUSTRIA +43 720 022 865
BELGIUM +32 (0) 240 19133
DENMARK +45 787 237 03
FINLAND + 358 923 195 616
FRANCE +33 (0) 170 759 181
GERMANY +49 202 7169 9414
IRELAND +353 (0) 144 7529
ITALY + 39 (0) 236 049 224
NETHERLANDS +31 (0)20 -7168 434
NORWAY +47 56 99 99 58
POLAND +48 221 530 708
SPAIN +34 914 146 601
SWEDEN +46 (0) 850 662 774
SWITZERLAND + 41 (0) 445 800 526
UK + 44 (0) 207 741 0077

The whole list of phone numbers are also here on the website for these events:

Thiseveningsperformance.net

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