L.A. Opera Roasts Turkey For “Falstaff”

The L.A. Opera invited the press in to talk turkey. Not figuratively, as in shop talk about contraltos and coloratura. Turkey as in the cooked bird — which has a part to play in “Falstaff.” The opera is staging six performances of Verdi’s comic masterpiece to celebrate his 200th birthday. For each one, it turns out, prop master Allen Tate will cook a turkey. Each bird will roast in the backstage oven for five hours before making its debut in Act II. Ronnita Nicole Miller (pictured), who plays Mistress Quickly, has the most food-heavy role. In the course of the opera, she performs with a basket of fish, a piece of cake, the turkey leg and oat cookies. “The turkey leg presents a big challenge because I have to take a huge bite and then be ready to sing,” she said. “So there’s always a glass of water hidden on the stage somewhere, just in case.” Asked if she’d acted with a turkey before, she grinned broadly and said, “Well, a ham maybe.” Ba-dum-bum.

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