Wednesday, November 11, 2020

David Gately Conversation (Part 2)

During the filming of The Elixir of Love. Philip Newton photo

During the middle of rehearsing The Elixir of Love, stage director David Gately took a few minutes to check in with us. He let us know how things are going under these unique circumstances.

So David, how's it going?
Surprisingly, really well. It has been incredibly fun putting the production together. Everyone is so excited to be involved. After doing a few run-throughs, we started video capture today. The entire process is terrific!

How many cameras are you using?
We have four cameras—three positioned at various locations in the hall and one roaming steady camera. We’re getting multiple views of the performance.

Will you share some insights on how you're keeping everyone safe?
We are following all the local guidelines, of course. We maintain at least 20 ft. of clearance around artists when they are singings, which is mandated by the American Guild of Musical Artists. We are using double props. After a performer touches a prop, we stop the action, and replace it with an identical one before another performer touches it. The props person wear gloves at all times, and each prop is cleaned and sanitized before it is used again.

There is literally only one time in the entire opera when a prop is handed off from one singer to another. When Dulcamara hands Nemorino the bottle of elixir for the first time. People watching closely will notice that Nemorino takes a white cloth—which is actually a Clorox anti-viral cloth—to wipe down the bottle before placing it on the table.

Are you using vibrating bracelets we talked about during our last interview?
No, we are not. We have marked positions on the stage floor that are properly spaced. A few times, we use a six-foot stick just to make sure we are far enough apart. Everyone is being extra careful not to face anyone when singing. 

What do you think you've learned so far?
I’ve learned that we can produce opera during a pandemic. It is a challenge, for sure. But, we can move forward and get the work done. I just hope that we can get past the virus and move ahead, because it is difficult to monetize the art form with only video streaming.

What do you hope viewers will take away from watching the production?
I want them to be entertained. The cast is charming. There is incredible humor in this show. It is the perfect antidote to what is going on the world.

Learn more about The Elixir of Love at

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