[Editor's Note: HD, a.k.a. Dave Askins, editor of The Ann Arbor Chronicle, is also publisher of an online series of interviews on a teeter totter. Introductions to new Teeter Talks appear on The Chronicle.]
Of the possible opera singers who could appear on the totter, I figure it’s always best to go with the kind that alliterates with the venue: a tenor. But if I ever had occasion to invite a soprano to ride, I suppose it might be possible to relax my rigid instance on “teeter totter” as the name of the equipment, in order to achieve a “Soprano See-Saw.”
But no such accommodation was necessary for Shawn McDonald, who is not a soprano, but a tenor with the Arbor Opera Theater. He’s the artistic director for the upcoming production of Die Fledermaus from June 18-21 at the Mendelssohn Theater. The AOT website includes a full schedule of Die Fledermaus events, including specifics of performance times and ticket information.
When I think opera, I think of the movie “Moonstruck.” There’s a scene where characters played by Nicholas Cage and Cher go to an opera. The opera in “Moonstruck” is one of those weighty affairs, fraught with desperate emotion and death. Which is not at all what Die Fledermaus is like, based on Shawn’s description.
Die Fledermaus is a light, comedic piece, accessible to the whole family – that’s what he told me on the totter. From the sound of it, it could work as a “starter opera” for someone who’s unfamiliar with the whole genre. Say, for someone like me, who did not recognize the name “Zeffirelli” when Shawn dropped it on the totter. For more on the Zeffirelli connection to AOT’s production of Die Fledermaus, as well as what it’s like in Ann Arbor to earn your living as a musician – if not as an opera singer – read Shawn McDonald’s Talk.