I've been doing a little work for Ned Canty, the new director of Opera Memphis, so I showed him my pencil drawings from Die Fledermaus. Ned is excited about all kinds of local art, not just opera, and he invited our whole group of urban sketchers down to draw the opera. I love the growing number of organizations (Playhouse on the Square is another) that value art across all the platforms, not just the ones they specialize in.
Most of our group went down Thursday night for the dress rehearsal, and fellow urban sketcher Stuart told me there were 15 or 20 sketchers there, which is great. I was out of town, so I just drew during the Saturday performance I was already going to with my dad.
Instead of a tiny, sparkly clutch, I trotted on down to the opera with a messenger bag full of watercolors and sketchbooks. I never have that fully put-together look. I'm also fairly certain I was the only one there walking around looking for a place to dump out my palette cups at intermission. Maybe I can make the dress rehearsal next time and not be quite so out of step.
It's also tricky drawing in the dark, and I'm not great at people during the best of circumstances, but I was pretty pleased with how the color came out, even in adverse conditions. I'm doing this enough to know my way around my palette even in pretty low light. And, of course, the lobby painting was done before things got started, so I had full light for that one. I painted two during the first act and then settled in and just enjoyed the show after intermission. It was a wonderful opera. Donizetti is my favorite composer, and they did a bang up job. I'm really excited about the direction Opera Memphis is taking lately. We're so arts rich in Memphis. I love this city.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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