Monday, October 11, 2010

Camels and Horses and Snakes, OH MY

Happy Monday and Columbus Day, friends! As a holiday treat I have some fun backstage photos for you. This is definitely my favorite entry thus far. I am a HUGE animal fan - I never got over my love for ponies as a little girl and currently claim Daisy the dog and Mabel the cat as my animal family. I haven't had the chance to own a horse yet, but someday readers, someday.

However we are going to go a little more exotic than cats and dogs. Today we venture to ancient Egypt('s stage set on the load-in dock and backstage...) to meet camels, pythons and horses! Opera Memphis' production of Aida by Giuseppe Verdi was playing this weekend, replete with its own collection of creatures. So you better believe I was backstage in a flash as soon as I heard they were bringing some friends with them. The animals are from a local petting zoo and their handlers were required to be in full-on costume as they walked the animals across the stage for their cameos as you can see above. This is Ernie with his handler donning the Egyptian garb. The larger camel behind him is, of course, Bert.

This is Abner and he was my absolute favorite! Don't you just want to take him home?? He was such a sweetheart!

This is Abner again with his similarly-sized owner, pre costume change :) The picture is a little fuzzy - I took them with my cell phone because flash photography isn't allowed around the animals.
And here we have a lovely shot of Travis and Big Red Ted, the majestic horses presented to the Pharaoh. They weren't extremely interested in me interrupting their meal.

Travis did end up saying hello.

This is an 8 ft albino python named Eddie Munster. He is gorgeous and even more intimidating in person than he looks in his cage. They do not even sedate these things before they take them on stage. I hope they have been fed recently...

This is Machale, also known as Shell. She is also an albino python like Eddie but she is "only" 6 feet long. During the show a ballerina performs an entire dance with this enormous snake draped across her body. She might be the bravest person with whom I have ever come into contact.
And this little guy has my favorite name! He is another smaller python who goes by Julius Squeezer. He only had a brief appearance in the production but compared to the other giant snakes he is downright adorable. You can see him peeking out from his bundle to check out the camera.

The Opera's production of Aida was gorgeous - the sets were truly breathtaking. Luckily they had screens that projected the words to the music, since I do not speak Italian and wasn't familiar with the story. Having the animals there really added to the scale of the show - it was so impressive! I felt very lucky to have had some backstage time with them :)
Did y'all see Aida? What did you think?

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