Over the past weekend, I participated in a very interesting and different experience. I sang in Divaria Productions' L'elisir d'amore and we performed as part of a private party at the Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo Park. The people ate dinner and then watched as we put on an entire opera in the dining hall.
Not only did the venue interest me, but the response of the audience also intrigued me. There were no subtitles or English translations of any kind: there was only the music and the actors on stage, bridging the language gap and bringing the story to life with their actions and emotions. I could tell during the show that the audience was completely engaged. They laughed and gasped right along with the plot. We had the chance to mingle with the audience at a reception after the show and everyone mentioned that they'd completely understood the story. I know now, for a fact, that opera transcends language and time period and culture. It speaks to everyone. I guess the question is: are they willing to listen?
I'm always trying to get more people interested in opera. I think this is a great new way to reach yet another type of audience. It reminds me of the "olden days" when opera was a type of after-dinner entertainment. It felt like we were reliving some old pastime that has since been abandoned. It was simply exciting. I'd love to have the opportunity to do something like this again.