Claudia Chapa

BWW Blog: Mezzo-Soprano Claudia Chapa Reflects on OHs THE MEDIUM & THE TELEPHONE

Mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa packing heat as Madame Flora   in Opera in the Heights' THE MEDIUM.   © Deji Osinulu Photography

Mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa packing heat as Madame Flora
in Opera in the Heights' THE MEDIUM.
© Deji Osinulu Photography

Opening night was on the eve of Halloween, so OH! held a costume contest; several of our audience members joined in the fun! I was also in charge of OH!'s Instagram takeover. Check out @operaintheheights to get up close and personal with what happened backstage.

We had a "Talk Back" after the matinee performance on Sunday, which was a chance for the audience members to ask us ANYTHING! It was enlightening to hear what the audience felt after our performance and fun to answer questions about the operas, our backgrounds and (SPOILER ALERT) where the blood comes from when a certain cast member dies.

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As I reflect on this past weekend, I've determined that my favorite part about making opera is the rehearsals. Of course, performing is up there, but there is something incredibly special about the rehearsal process. Different people with diverse backgrounds and experiences gather to create art that the public will see weeks later.

How amazing is THAT!? All of our musical and acting nuances are cultivated in these rehearsals. The way we interact determines the cast's flow. THE TELEPHONE and THE MEDIUM that we created for Opera in the Heights can never be replicated. The shows on Thursday, November 5th and Saturday, November 7th will be different from the previous weekend. And, that's exciting! LIVE ART!

Post-opening weekend I have a couple of days off until the next show. I'm using this time to prepare for some upcoming gigs I have at the end of the month and a collaboration with classical guitarist Arnold Yzaguirre.

If the previous weekend is any indication of the rest of the run, we are going to have a fantastic finish!

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BWW Blog: Mezzo-Soprano Claudia Chapa Talks OHs THE MEDIUM

Mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa is Madam Flora
in Opera in the Heights' THE MEDIUM.
Chapa previously appeared at OH! in FALSTAFF
and HANSEL UND GRETEL.

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.

Stormy Weather

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, 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.

 

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