The names Barbe and Doucet might not be as widely known as Wagner, Puccini or Verdi -- but their influence is felt in opera houses worldwide.
French director Renaud Doucet and Canadian set and costume designer André Barbe are partners in life as well as work. And this month, they're bringing their combined talents back to the Florida Grand Opera for Jules Massenet's "Thais."
When you see someone singing onstage at the Florida Grand Opera or the Adrienne Arsht Center, do you think about what goes on behind the scenes -- not just the costumes or the sets, but in the singers' lives?
Believe it or not, some of South Florida's opera singers work in electrical and mechanical engineering, accounting, education and law enforcement during the day.
Husband and wife Martin Nusspaumer and Maria Antunez worked as engineers in their native Uruguay.
Leave your tuxedo, evening gown and lorgnette at home and come as you are.
That’s the message from Florida Grand Opera, the Sunshine State’s oldest arts organization.
“It really is an entertainment for all people, not just folks dripping in diamonds,” says Florida Grand Opera director Susan Danis.
This is Danis’ first full season as the opera company’s CEO. And she’s working hard to disabuse people of the notion that opera is all about zaftig women with braided hair and horn helmets caterwauling onstage.
Even if you’re an opera fanatic, there’s a fair chance you haven’t seen "Mourning Becomes Electra." The opera, written by Broward-based composer Martin David Levy, has only been performed by four companies since its debut in the late ‘60s and never before in the Southeastern U.S.
It’s even difficult to find music samples on YouTube.
For opera newbies, there's a lot that's surprising about the Florida Grand Opera's production of The Magic Flute, which arrives this week at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Director Jeffrey Buchman's conception of the 1791 Mozart work turns the whole thing into a trippy pop-culture anachronism, with costumes, scenery, and a little stage patter that's somewhere between the rockabilly '50s and all-out fantasy-land.