Sunday, October 26, 2014

Even More Indie Fall Opera!

Just when we thought that we had uncovered all indie operatic goodies for this fall and planned our calendar accordingly, new intriguing shows are popping out left and right. To those who say that opera is a dying and expensive art form for a geriatric audience: do come to NYC and experience first hand how opera is not only alive and well but also young and hip. Rossini is performed in a loft, Fidelio is a BYOB show, rare Donizetti is sung in a jewel box space in Cobble Hill and Die Fledermaus gets a commedia dell’arte spin. Also, the spirit of Halloween will be conjured with a séance-like opera and a Fairy Queen drag costume party.

Matisse,  La leçon de musique
oil on canvas, 1917
Who can resist rare bel canto arias performed by a fiery mezzo-soprano in a quirky space behind a little unassuming red door? Surely not us. As part of its recital series Miniatures Behind the Door, Vertical Player Repertory shows Stella Nemica Infausta, described as “an evening of treasures plucked from the dusty attic of Italian opera and polished to their former luster.” The program will feature works by Donizetti and Mercadante but also Nini, Pacini and Ricci. Mezzo Hayden de Witt, whom we were lucky to discover in last year’s pastiche by Opera Feroce, will perform. October 30 – 7:30PM at 219 Court Street, 

Image Credit: Heartbeat Opera
This summer we were blown away by Louisa Proske's take on Salieri’s Fasltaff. This impressive young director just founded Heartbeat Opera, a new company that has the most enticing mission statement: “What if it were possible to experience opera classics, with the singers only feet or even inches away from you, and the miracle of the operatic voice happening so close you could feel the vibrations of a great aria pulsating on your skin? What if the dramatic performance matched musical mastery, with acting that was bold, and specific and unafraid of comparison to great theatre acting? This is what we propose for our new opera company – work that is intimate, powerful, physically and emotionally committed.” To discover more about their upcoming new season (and contribute to the cause), one can go to their Halloween benefit drag extravaganza, with performances of excerpts from Purcell’s Fairy Queen, music, dancing, champagne, raffle prizes, glitter, and more. October 30 – 7:30PM and 10PM shows at the Cotton Candy Machine (235 South 1st Street, Brooklyn).

Image Credit: The Secret Opera
In a creepier Halloween fashion, Secret Opera will stage Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium, an opera commissioned to the Italian-American composer by Columbia University and first performed on May 8, 1946. Menotti was inspired to write and compose this work after attending a séance in the small town of St. Wolfgang (near Salzburg, Austria) in 1936 during which he was struck by the séance attendees’ powerful desire to communicate with lost loved ones. November 1 – 8PM at 353 Studios (Studio 1), 353 West 48th Street, NYC; November 8 – 8PM at Community Congregation Church, 200 Hartshorn Drive, Short Hills, NJ.

For those who like their Beethoven with a side of booze (and, seriously, who doesn’t?), Opera Company of Brooklyn offers Fidelio as part of their BYOB Opera Series. November 8 – 7PM at 353 Studios, 353 West 48th Street.
It looks like NY Opera Exchange is revamping its brand with an impressive display of social media savvy and a sexy new website. If their performances prove to be as hip as their online presence, we’ll sure be in for a treat. NY Opera Exchange’s season opens with an intriguing Die Fledermaus set in Venice with a commedia dell’arte twist. Strauss’ work will be sung in the original German but with dialogues in English (which seems like a very bearable and welcome compromise to us). November 7 (7:30PM), 8 (2PM and 7:30PM) and 9 (3PM) at 310 East 42nd Street.
Image Credit: NY Opera Exchange
Loft Opera found itself in the spotlight earlier this month for its collaboration with Joyce DiDonato in the NYC launch party of the diva’s new album, Stella di Napoli. The party served also as teaser for this indie company’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and we were told by reliable sources that Loft Opera’s performers were a very pleasant surprise (even after Joyce). We look forward to verifying this first hand. November 11, 12, 18, 19 and 21 – 8PM at The Green Building (452 Union St. Brooklyn).
Lei & Lui
Photo Credit: Loft Opera


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