La Calisto Elevates Audience


This last weekend, opera-goers were treated to a brilliant production of Francesco Cavalli’s “La Calisto” at Simpson College. The show’s run was a great success for the opera department at Simpson and had many critics exclaiming “Bravissimo” all night long.

However, what really caught the attention of audience members was the show’s unorthodox performance style.

“Speaking Italian, men dressed as women, women dressed as men, goat people, these are all things I expect from Simpson Opera,” said Tyler West, a first-year student at Simpson. “But then they added stairs to the mix and it blew my mind!”

West wasn’t the only audience member who felt this way either. The set of “La Calisto” was home to five different sets of stairs which equated to around 50 individual steps!

“We spent months training on how to properly sing while on stairs” said satyr Anjali Khankari. “I’ve performed in all sorts of environments – lying down, sitting up, hanging upside down, underwater, flying through the air, but none compared to the challenge of stairs.”

The set designer for “La Calisto,” Julia Noulin-Merat, gave us a sneak peek of the training involved in preparing the opera for the huge amount of stairs.

“The cast got up every morning at 5:00 a.m. and practiced their lines while walking up and down the stair case in Wallace for 2 hours,” said Noulin-Merat, “We even convinced the school to install a special stair climbing machine in the weight room to help the cast practice their lines outside of the theater.”

When director Bernard McDonald was asked about what Simpson should expect next from the opera department, he responded with only one word: “Ramps.”


By: Luke Johnston

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Categories: News


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