Theater Feb 18, 2015 at 4:00 am

My Embarrassing Encounter with Stephanie Blythe, Star of Seattle Opera’s Semele

Stephanie Blythe: Worthy of worship.


Vita Tzykun was super charming and entertaining at the costume preview event. Super stoked to see this show. Being fantastical, the design options are pretty wide-open, and it sounds like the team has a clear vision, and it should be fantastic (LED constellations in giant night-sky cape for Somnus)
Rebecca, I hope that we get a chance to meet in Seattle so that I can redeem myself for such bad behavior. Believe me, if I came off dismissive, it was only out of embarrassment. I have never been good at taking a compliment! I am glad that it gave you a good story, and I promise that the next time you see me sexy and dismissive, it will be onstage!
@2 Echt? Someone please arrange this meeting, on the condition that the remarkable Rebecca Brown write a follow-up piece for The Stranger. SBlythe, looking forward to your Baba the Turk on May Day.
Stephanie Blythe is a class act, and I look forward to seeing and hearing her in Semele, an opera first for this long-time fan.
When I was little, we went to a Seattle Opera dress rehearsal performance, we wanted to see the PROCESS, you know. Well, after waiting outside in the foyer a long while we were sort of herded in, and were surprised to see ALL of the center row seats and the rows closest to the center row roped off. We audience were only allowed to sit in the outer most rows near the walls.
Ok, the tickets for dress rehearsals are much less expensive, and the ones who buy them are probably mostly teens and college students, not the wealthy people that Seattle Opera was busily courting at that time with their Ring Cycle. But it seemed really small minded to make the PAYING audience of dress rehearsals sit in the worst seats where they can't even see the whole stage and keep the better seats empty. IT.LOOK.BAD! Small and petty and dismissive. OPERAS should never be SMALL!
We're originally from Europe, and my family used to wonder why live performance arts like operas, ballet and theater have to struggle so much in this country. Why only old and wealthy people support it, and mostly it seemed the support was for show and snob value, they did not love, love, LOVE it like people do in Europe. That day we understood. When you only court the rich and dismiss everyone else contemptuously, then you only have the support of the rich, which is often fragile and fleeting. Unfortunately for American artists and theaters/stage companies, the rich is a very small percentage of the population.
We haven't gone to another dress rehearsal anywhere so don't know if Seattle is still doing this, or whether everyone in the US does this. Anyway, my family usu. drive up to BC and down to Portland for operas, unless Seattle puts on one of my mom's favorites; or we go back home where the Opera and Ballet and Theater are dirt cheap and always high quality, everyone dresses up so they don't disrespect the artists, there are no risk of cell phones ringing, the audience is of all sorts and there are no roped off seats just because the tickets are cheap, and we all have a blast, then go on to a cafe afterwards and talk talk talk about the performances. I had a friend who started at Seattle and I went to see the shows he was in, now that he has moved on to bigger and better I mostly go elsewhere. I know Seattle Opera definitely isn't the only culprit, but yeah, first impressions, sour taste and all that. Stodgy, snobbish and small minded are not what you'd want in the creative arts.
Hi iseult- Seattle Opera does not charge for Dress Rehearsal tickets. I've worked there for 15 years, and in all that time have never seen that happen. We keep the dress rehearsals open to allow for friends and family of the performers, orchestra, crew, and staff to see their loved ones perform free of charge. In addition to this, we extend the opportunity to thousands of students to see the Operas throughout the year- also free of charge. Just this Fall, our new General Director changed the entire seating chart so that the pass holders could be even closer to the stage. I'd recommend you give Seattle Opera another chance. It's a dynamic company who is working hard to bring opera to the next generation!
Iseult, regarding why the center Orchestra Level section is not open for audience seating during the dress rehearsals, there are still work tables and a lot of electronic equipment set up so the director, designers and support staff can continue to work on creating the show. It is not about snobbery or elitism, it is strictly a practical reason.
Great review, and her response makes me even more fond of Ms. Blythe, who brings technical perfection and the most intelligent and wry acting chops to her roles, as well as judicious restraint, because you just know she could steal anyone's thunder if she chose. As for Handel, who knew?

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.