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Volume 3 Issue 4 - December 1997/January 1998

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Arts
  • Symphony
  • Choir
  • January
  • Performing
  • Classical
  • Orchestra

BEHIND THE SCENES 1

BEHIND THE SCENES 1 Karen Kimes - The Care and Feeding of High Performance Artists BY DAWN LYONS Friday November 6197, about 7:15pm. The hall in the corridor outside the greenroom at the George Weston Hall of the Ford Centre is full of the smell of oranges and the sound of Russian. Vladimir Spivakov and the Moscow Virtuosi are preparing for the concert at 8:00. Tonight is the Tchaikowsky "Serenade for Strings", Aarvo Part's "Fratris" and the Hayden "Farewell" Symphony; last night was Chausson "Concert for Piano, Violin and Strings" , Ellen Taafe Zwilicli "Prologue and Variations for String Orchestra" , Shostakovitch "Two Pieces for String Quartet" and hjs rarely-heard satirical oratorio Karen Kimes. Photo: Den Ciul "Rayok". Today's rehearsal was mostly the Chausson. The Virtuosi are not happy with it and are discussing it around the snack table. The table is loaded with pop, juices, spring and mineral water, Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, Fudg-e-o's, Decadent chocolate chip cookies and fruit. The smeU of coffee comes from the greenroom. Karen Kimes has her earphone in and her talkie in her hand as she floats down the hall. She is Concert Season Operations Manager of the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts' George Weston Recital Hall. Tonight she is working out of the Production Manager's Office -- it is close to the stage and the greenroom, her own office is upstairs. Dawn: I notice you always have chocolate for the Russians. National sweet tooth ? Karen (nodding): You know those chocolate cookies with chocolate icing between? Last night I saw one of them putting honey on one. And bananas -- I put out a LOT of bananas last night. They ate them all, so tonight I put out twice as many. They ate them, too! I remember Granola bars for D Giardino Armonico, fresh fruit for Milleruum .... (A violirust with Academy of St. Martin-in the Fields urged Iona Brown to try a dark chocolate Turtle. "Are they naughty?" she inquired. On being assured they were, she took a tentative bite. "OOh!", she exclaimed happily, "VERY naughty!") Dawn: 17lese artists on tour are as isolated as astronauts. You 're life support for them, aren't you?" Karen (nods again): When artists are on tour, their contact with the world is through their road manager and me. It is touching how much they appreciate having mineral water or fruit juice as well as coffee and pop; I think it must not happen often. I try to make performing here a good experience for the artists. I meet them at the airport, arrange for props or instruments they don't travel with, whatever is required. Once I found someone to repair a clarinet at 11:30 at rught, and torught I had to find a horn player for the Virtuosi. Their horn player was taken suddenly ill at the airport in Los Angeles. They had to leave him there, the doctors still don't know what's wrong with him. The replacement horn player has only had 'about ten minutes to practice with them. I follow Karen into the wings. The percussiorust's music desk has a package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on it. Stage OK, hall OK. Karen speaks to her talkie, "Albert? You can open the doors now." Karen: I'm stage manager, too, so there have been times I've been on my hands and knees sewing up a hem five minutes before curtain. Dawn: You have an emergency kit? · Karen: Oh, yes. Needle and thread, black tie, I've been meaning to put in a pair of black socks, but I haven't done it yet. The one thing that I have seen is that for every performance, there is something new that goes wrong. At the Canadian Opera Company Stravinsky concert, the usher handed up the flowers and a pair of scissors dropped out of the bouquet onto the stage. Now THAT had never happened before ... " Dawn: Who's fun to work with? Karen reflects: "The Gospel singers. They are really upbeat and truly pleasant people. I suppose you can't do all that rejoicing and praising of the Lord and be miserable." Dawn: And hardest? Karen: In general, the jazz musicians are the fussiest. We get twenty-page riders with their contracts specifying catered hot meals, and I mean exactly what they want to eat, right down to brand of beer and number of chicken wings. The substitute horn player stops in to see Karen after the concert. "That was REALLY scary", he says. Karen smiles at him. TORONTO'S ONLY COMPREHENSIVE MONTHLY CLASSICAL & CONTEMPORARY CONCERT LISTING SOURCE

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