May 22, 2014
A Tour with Opera Atelier - Versailles, May 2014
Edwin Huizinga, violin
Tonight I had the pleasure of warming up my gut strings in the first orchestra tech rehearsal of Persée in the Opera House of the Palace of Versailles, home of the late King Louis XIV. This opera, written by Jean-Baptiste Lully, was first performed on April 18th in 1682 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris. Now, hundreds of years later, Opera Atelier and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra are bringing it back to France. The last time this opera was performed in Versailles was for Marie Antoinette's wedding in 1770.
As I find my way to the backstage area and drop off my case with the other musicians, I clutch my instrument with extra care as I travel through the rather treacherous looking backstage area to the pit. There is scaffolding everywhere, and the wooden planks we walk on as we head toward the pit are easily a hundred feet above the lowest level - where they used to store sets I believe. The crew is working out the flying rigs, and the dancers and singers are getting accustomed to the new stage, which is of a quite different stature then that of the Elgin Theatre, where we had our first run of performances in Toronto earlier this month. The Opera House feels like it is waiting for Kings and Queens to enter from the hallways and step into all the beautiful opera boxes four stories high.
Opening night is on Friday! We are all so excited to share this incredible production with our friends, family and the people of Versailles. The adventure of Persée and Andromède awaits us...
View of Royal Opera House. Photo by Aisslinn Nosky