VERDI LEBT IM HALLENSTADION WIEDER AUF Freitag, den 14. Dezember 2012 Daniel Fischer.So toll die Idee ist, von der Kanadierin Susan Weiss eine Opernshow in einem Stadion zu veranstalten, so viel Erfolg sie hat…. Daniel Fischer VERDI LIVES ON IN THE HALLENSTADION “Such a remarkable idea, is the concept of Canadian Susan Weiss to stage an opera show that achieved success…”


Imagine bringing together 11 different cultures with all the different languages, plus the “culture of opera”; and, then, performing in a hockey arena in Zurich, Switzerland!

I have been blessed, (and I am still blessed), to have Lotfi Mansouri, a giant of the world of opera, as my mentor, former boss, and friend.

Lotfi you inspired and guided me, and in a very large way, contributed to making a dream of mine come true: “Bringing opera to people and people to opera”.

Along this three year journey, (and yes I agree with you, we both could have staged and produced several operas in this three year time period), you stuck with my original concept, and with the participation of so many talented singers, conductors, musicians, designers, and production personnel, together we succeeded in creating history with VIVA VERDI, an opera show that had never been done before.

There where many stones along the road in this journey, and you inspired all of us to kick the stones aside and aspire to achieve the dream.

The artistic talent you brought to the show can be measured at least one hundred fold.

The seasoned opera singers, Rubén Amoretti, Spain/Switzerland; Mardi Byers, USA/Switzerland; Tiziana Carraro, Italy; Jorge Lagunes, Mexico/Germany and Noëmi Nadelmann, Switzerland headed a cast of 186 in the VIVA VERDI show.

You worked your magic sharing your vast operatic knowledge and experience with young up and coming opera talent: Christopher Bengochea, USA; Evan Brummel, USA; Valentina diCola, Italy; Alexandra LoBianco, USA; Simone Osborne, Canada and Thomas Yun, South Korea. What a joyful experience to watch you in action directing this new opera talent!

You brought Maestro Edoardo Müller, an indisputable Verdi expert, a consummate musician and a wonderful supporter of young talent to the production. “Maestro” he truly is; what an honour for me to have worked with him for the last two years. It was my pleasure to have Maestro Eduardo Álvarez, Mexico, Artistic and Music Director of the Acapulco Philharmonic on the music team of the show. The “Maestros” did an outstanding job and respected the music of Giuseppe Verdi.

In costume design, your addition to the artistic team of Marie-Luise Walek, Austria, was a stroke of genius! Marie-Luise you are a treasure!


Your costumes dazzlingly built by Peter Holub, Austria, owner of Tailors Unlimited, in Vienna are gorgeous, spectacular and impressive!

Peter, it was indeed a privilege to know and to work with you, thank you! A special mention to Alkis Vlassakakis, Greece, of Tailors Unlimited, for his superb management of the costume build – on budget, delivery and onsite coordination; Alkis thank you so very much! In Make-Up and Hair Design and execution, my hat goes off to Volker Dahlmann, Germany, who valiantly and professionally jumped into what at the time seemed to be chaos and created an exquisite look to compliment the costumes of Marie-Luise Walek. Congratulations Volker, you are a trouper!

In lighting design, Steve Ross, Canada, you gave us a picturesque color palate that reflected ever so magically on the four gigantic mirror elements. The subtle and romantic lighting of each scene succeeded in creating a tremendous artistic look for the show.


Stage Manager and Show Caller, Mary Peters, USA, commanded with a “steel will” drawing upon her vast experience; she guided and mentored Assistant Stage Manager and Assistant Show Caller, Lois Dawson, Canada, (who, singled handedly managed all the backstage entrances/exits, props etc). The Swiss runners team headed up by Evalina Stampa, assisted both Mary and Lois in a fine manner. Mary you piloted this show with professionalism, dedication and fortitude. I congratulate you!

The Mexican contingent of twenty actors, with Ragnar Conde as their Stage Director; Roberto Duarte as the acting coach, added to one of the many cultures, and not just by simply filling the vast stage of ramps. Alejandro Figueroa’s graphic design of the projections added the element of location to each scene in the show.

The Swiss contingent of 100 from the Akademisch Chor Zürich and the Camerata Schweiz augmented to 52 musicians, complimented the innovative production elements.

On the Swiss side there were so many individuals and companies in sound, lighting, wardrobe management, venue(s) management, logistics, general management and administration, ticket sales, transportation, marketing and press relations who helped realize the dream with true Swiss German style, (like their trains that run on time); to each and everyone, (and you know who you are), and big thank you.

Freddy Burger, Producer and Heinrich Nüssli, Executive Producer of Mobile Productions GmbH, thank you for your courage, passion and your willingness to take a risk, I congratulate you!

To the Zurich audience, without you, the realization of the dream would have come to a full stop. Thank you for the many comments, critiques and the standing ovations!


Lotfi Mansouri, sitting with you in the audience on opening night, you reminded me of the tremendous amount of work, planning, creativity and collaboration that went into mounting this show, and then, with the performances, “pouf” it is gone.

Lotfi, you have inspired and instilled in so many of us your passion for opera. You made my dream come true; thank you my friend, you truly are the “Wizard of Opera”, bless you!

Susan C. Weiss, Canada

Image 4