Student essay #1: A Streetcar Named Desire

Describe the use of light in the opera. What does its presence or absence indicate?

street12revThe use of the lighting was effective because it helped me understand the mood of the story. I noticed that the red lights were used to show anticipation of the story, as was used in the beginning of the opera to show the tension of Blanche meeting her sister after such a long time; the green lights were used to show Blanche going into insanity; the blue lights were used to represent sorrow, and the bright yellow lights with the dark background were used to create a dramatic effect of the southern summer heat.

I thought that the lighting designer did an effective job in creating a dramatic effect at the climax of the story because that was the part that drew me into the story the most. There were times where the lights got more intense and I noticed that when it did get more intense the story was trying to develop even further, as in the rape scene. The changes in lights allowed me to see the story as it advanced and showed me what the characters were doing at the moment. It also showed the audience the changes from daylight to midnight by using the contrasts from the amber and the cool blue colors.

Using evidence from the play and opera, try to determine which is the real Blanche, the innocent and charming Blanche or the desperate, alcohol-dependent Blanche 

Using the evidence from the play, I believe that the real Blanche is the desperate, alcohol-dependent Blanche because she lies a lot to the people around her and instead of living with her sister, “like a queen”, she could have been trying to solve her problems by herself instead of waiting for the problem to be solved for her. Blanche seems to be dependent on someone doing things for her while she lives in luxury. This is in contrast to her sister, Stella, who used to act the same way but changed due to the changes in her environment from her marriage to Stanley.

Peter Phal, Mt. Pleasant High School

Student essay #2: A Streetcar Named Desire

Using evidence from the play and opera, try to determine which is the real Blanche, the innocent and charming Blanche or the desperate, alcohol-dependent Blanche.

street4revsmallIn A Streetcar Named Desire, I think that Blanche’s personality changes from being innocent and charming to being desperate and alcohol dependent. Blanche seemed to be happy and had everything together; she seemed to have fun when she was around her sister. I don’t think Blanche was as desperately dependent until the middle of the show.

I did notice in the beginning when she first arrived  at her sister’s she had taken the shot of liquor that was left in the kitchen. I think if Blanche was really desperate and alcohol dependent she would have gotten to Stanley way before he had got to her. During the show she was drinking more and more as time went by. Her stress may have caused her drinking; usually when people drink they are stressed out or worried about something and use this as a way to relax and calm down. I do not think there is anything wrong with it, but people have to know their limits.

Towards the middle of the play, Blanche’s personality started to change a little when she began “seeing” Mitch. I don’t think she really wanted a committed relationship, since she had flirted with the young man that knocked on her door right before her date with Mitch. Stanley had told some terrible things about Blanche to Mitch. Blanche was hiding her real self from other people and was lying.  This is what I think lead to her alcholism. Her drinking covers up all the things she is trying to get away from. Everyone started questioning her about herself, and this drove her to become crazy which became even worse after being raped by Stanley. She went from being a happy, bubbly person to being admitted into an asylum.

Aretha Torregano, Mt. Pleasant High School

What’s next?

cowboyAAfter Streetcar, coming up next is our Opera Hoedown on Sunday, May 22 at the DoubleTree Inn in San Jose! Beginning with square dancing at 5 p.m., we will continue with dinner and a program of opera singers performing tunes from country musicals such as “Oklahoma!” and “Paint Your Wagon” and will expand into “Get Along Little Doggies,” “California Here I Come,” and “Happy Trails.” The singers will be accompanied by The California Cowboys, and there will be a special guest appearance that should be impressive and hilarious. The cost of this event is $150. It’s an event not to be missed so I encourage you to go to our website or call the box office (408.437.4450) to get your tickets right away!

Opera San José is holding its first Summer Training Program for singers this June. Classes will take place weekdays June 20th through July 1st and end with an Opera Scenes performance on July 2nd at 3:00 p.m. in our main rehearsal hall. I am very excited about this because these two weeks of sessions offer unique training to singers who are ready to appear on our stage in either chorus or small roles. It will incorporate individual coaching sessions and tailored group workshops to allow singers to develop their vocal and dramatic skills in a professional environment, readying them for the professional opera stage.

This summer we will be performing a free concert at Willow Street Frank Bramhall Park in Willow Glen on Sunday, July 10 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. This is a great opportunity to enjoy opera with your children and your dogs, in the open-air of a natural amphitheater in a park setting. Members of our resident company will sing pieces from our upcoming 2016-17 season and other opera favorites.

leeI am proud to announce that soprano Sylvia Sang-Eun Lee will join Opera San José’s resident company next season and will be appearing in the title role of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, as Madeleine Audebert in Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Silent Night, and Mimì in Puccini’s La bohème. Ms. Lee recently performed Gilda in Rigoletto with the Virginia Opera in the U.S., and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with Musica Viva in Hong Kong. She is lovely to look at and delightful to hear!

As for the future, on September 10, 2016 we kick-off the season with Lucia di Lammermoor, followed by The Barber of Seville in November 2016. We will start the New Year with Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s astonishing new opera, Silent Night, in February 2017 and wrap-up the season with La bohème in April. We haven’t seen Lucia di Lammermoor on our stage for nine years; it will have been five years since we last produced The Barber of Seville; and six years since we produced La Bohème. I am very excited to bring these beloved operas back next season and am so pleased with the singers and creative teams who will present them to you in the best possible way.

Be sure to follow Opera San José on Facebook and Twitter this summer for news about the company and opportunities to win tickets to next season’s wonderful operas!

Larry Hancock, General Director

Share your memories of OSJ Founder, Irene Dalis

dalis_25_year_anniv_lo_resDear OSJ Supporter,

Please click on the  “leave a comment link” to share any special memories you may have of Irene Dalis and/or comments you have for the Opera San José family.