A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Vancouver Opera's West Side Story - A Fresh & Exuberant Performance
Monday, October 24, 2011

"Enthralling and full of boundless energy"
Rebecca Stewart (14)
Guest Blog


Lucia Cesaroni & Rebecca Stewart

Intolerance, love, heartbreak, prejudice. These are some words that describe the Romeo & Juliet-like musical West Side Story I witnessed in Sunday's matinee performance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. I had recently seen the 1961 film version of the original 1957 Broadway musical production, so I had a good idea of what the musical was about, and thought, "Well this is going to be similar if not the same as the movie." I was proven wrong.

The Vancouver Opera indulged me with a fresh and exuberant performance. The stars of the show, tenor Colin Ainsworth and soprano Lucia Cesaroni who play the doomed lovers Tony and Maria, displayed the deep burning love between them  from the electrifying feeling when they first saw each other to the sorrowful ending. The lovely duets Ainsworth and Cesaroni sang such as One Hand, One Heart and Somewhere brought tears to my eyes and an ache in the back of my throat. I could see the connection the two had and knew that it would not last. A character I will never forget is Anita played by Cleopatra Williams. Anita brings fire in her performance with her strong Latin presence and her saucy jokes. The energy she brings to the stage is indescribable, she lights every person next to her.

With joy and as it inevitably fades, comes the moral of the story, discrimination between two races. I was amazed that when I saw the rumbles between the Sharks and the Jets, they didn't seem shocking or new to me. This happens everyday, everywhere whether it be the color of your skin, where you are from from or what you stand for. The play made me cry, it made me laugh. It left me speechless.


The Preacher of the Opera

After the show I had the opportunity to meet up with some of the actors backstage thanks to Doug Tuck, the Director of Marketing & Community Programs at Vancouver Opera, and a friend of my grandfather's. My grandfather, Alex, calls Tuck “The Preacher of the Opera” because Mr. Tuck gives  pre-opera talks that have become famous for their mix of erudition and humour. We patiently waited for Ms. Cesaroni to undress and remove her bloodstained pale yellow dress from her last  scene where Tony  dies. While we were waiting, Ariel Barnes the main cellist of the orchestra walked by and was stopped by my grandfather. "Look at those beautiful eyes!" my grandfather said eccentrically. Ari (as most his friends call him) has these light gray eyes that you can get lost in before you remember that you have to breathe. We were told  by Vancouver Opera Musical Director Leslie Dala that Ari has the same effect on most women, and apparently on my grandfather, too.

Finally the beautiful Lucia emerged from her dressing room looking a little fatigued but still just as pretty as I remembered her on stage. We were shuffled into her dressing room where Lucia and I posed intimately. We got this picture taken with my grandfather's iPhone. After saying thank you to Lucia for taking her time we headed out.


Ari Barnes
There is that certain feeling you get being able to meet actors face to face. Seeing them all dolled up on stage as someone else and then seeing the same person being themselves, flaws and all. Not many people get to experience that. I did and I feel thankful for the opportunity.


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9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17

7/23/17 - 7/30/17

7/30/17 - 8/6/17

8/6/17 - 8/13/17

8/13/17 - 8/20/17

8/20/17 - 8/27/17