We had our second “Confessions” shoot this week, and it introduced me to a lot that I have never experienced before!

I showed up at the Seattle Opera offices on Monday morning, and we shot some footage of me entering the building. A few minor technical difficulties ensued, but the wonderful Reel Grrls crew fixed them promptly.

Then I went on a tour of the costume shop led by Susan Davis, Seattle Opera's Costume Shop Manager; I have never seen so many pieces of clothing in my life! I saw so many things in the costume shop that I can hardly remember them all! I saw people working on costumes for the Ring (apparently there’re 214 costumes!), I saw never-ending racks of costumes from past Seattle Opera shows (I swear the fabric went on forever!), I saw the dying room where they dye fabric that needs to be just the right color, and I even saw bloody bandages (fake blood – or so I hope).

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But the best part of my tour was when I got to try on a Ring costume! It was a costume of one of the Valkyries – it had a long skirt, a vest of armor, a jacket, and a hat. The hat normally sits on a large opera wig, but I don’t have a wig, so I had to hold the hat on my head. The hat had huge wings that stuck straight out the back – I had definitely never worn a hat like that before!

Then I got to interview Speight Jenkins, the General Director of Seattle Opera. I Googled Speight before interviewing him, so I thought I had a good idea of what questions I should ask, and a good background of his life in relation to opera. I wasn’t too nervous for the interview. But then, as the interview appointment drew nearer, more and more Seattle Opera employees told me “not to be nervous, you’ll be okay.” And I thought, “Don’t be nervous? I wasn’t, but now I am!” Everyone kept telling me he is “God in the opera world” – something I, most certainly, am not. But once I was finally face-to-face with Speight, my nerves were, mostly, gone. He was nice and warm, and answered my questions with long, full answers. Phew! And guess what, he knew all about the "Confessions" project and he even voted!
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Then I got to the most exciting part of the day – I got to fly! No, I didn’t fly a plane. I got to fly like the Rhinemaidens in the Ring (that's how they portray swimming in the Rhine River during the opera). I was suspended in the air from two cables attached to a harness at my hips. I was a bit nervous as I slowly rose towards the ceiling of the rehearsal space, but soon I was doing front and back flips! I was so proud of myself! Thanks so much to the crew who helped me not fall to my death!

And I think that basically covers the shoot! Other than what I’ve already mentioned, I squeezed in a lunch break, walked up and down a ton of stairs (the rehearsal space is in the basement of the Seattle Opera office building!), and was interviewed by the Seattle Times. It was a day full of a lot of excitement! I’m starting to see the how the Ring cycle fits together, piece-by-piece. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

photos courtesy of Ilona Rossman Ho
 
 

As you may or may not know, I was recently selected to host Seattle Opera's new documentary, "Confessions of A First-Time Operagoer." I'm so excited to have been chosen, and I am so grateful for all of the help and support I received during the week of the voting!

If you voted for me... or made anyone else vote for me... I owe you a favor!

Each week I'll be posting a blog about what opera-y things I did that week. So, without further adieu, here's the update so far:

     We started shooting “Confessions of A First-Time Operagoer” this week! It was a lot of fun. I felt like I was on my own reality show!

     The Reel Grrls crew told me they wanted to see what I do in life, how I interact with my friends, etc. So I told them about how on a lot of Mondays, some of my friends and I go to Varlamos, an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood. Monday is “Calzone Night,” so the calzones are cheaper (for a college student with little income – like me – cheaper, is always better).

    

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So the crew followed me to Varlamos. I had to warn my friends before we went that there’d be a camera crew there – my friends aren’t as big of fans of being on camera as I am! When my friends and I got there, we had a table already set up for us (usually we have to wait for a while – it gets crowded!) with lights and cameras and everything! The crew sat one table over and got calzones for themselves (they’re hard to resist!).

The crew filmed my friends and I eating (there’s probably some really attractive shots of me shoving food in my mouth…!), reminiscing about life, and they even interviewed some of my friends, testing their opera knowledge and seeing if they thought I could make it through this project! Hopefully my friends didn’t say anything too embarrassing about me…! And hopefully they don’t hate me too much for making them go on camera! I told them this “Confessions” project can be like “Laguna Beach” and one of them can have their own spin-off afterwards…

     I’m getting really excited for next week’s shoot. I’ll be diving head first into the excitement of the Ring cycle! Wish me luck!

photos courtesy of Ilona Rossman Ho
 

    Author

    Cassidy Quinn Brettler
    Emerson College
    Acting and Broadcast Journalism
    Alpha Epsilon Phi
    Class of 2011

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