Opera for All!

Thursday, September 7th, 2006 | All Things, Events, Music

Thanks to SYB’s ticket-seeking tenacity last month, we snagged a pair of prime seats to the opening night of New York City Opera’s Opera-for-All Festival.

Second Row Center! Again!

NYS Theater


I had attended 2005’s inaugural festival with B, so I knew that we were in store for a series of stellar performances. This year’s lineup did not disappoint – sort of a “Greatest Hits” of the upcoming opera season. Each piece opened with an introduction by NYC Opera Music Director/guest conductor, George Manahan, who provided both context and history for the novice-heavy audience. There were the usual crowd pleasers: the drinking song from La traviata; a quintet from Carmen; and the big finale: “Quando m’en vo” — Musetta’s waltz from La bohème. In between, there were several wonderful performances that had the crowd alternately cheering and weeping in appreciation, including “Una furtive lagrima” from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore – one of the best loved and most touching Bel Canto arias. As Manahan noted: “It’s great to be a tenor!”

OFA Opening


There was a surprise insertion of the “The William Tell Overture,” (an example of Rossini‘s more serious, later work) which sent a rippling murmur of recognition through the audience after the opening bars, and a hammy ensemble performance of “When the foreman bares his steel” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.

Pirates of Penzance

Pirates of Penzance

La Boheme

Although I just recently signed up for a series subscription at The Met (which lowered ticket prices this year in an attempt to draw new audiences), I am also interested in NYC Opera’s multimedia production of Die tote Stadt, Erich Wolfgang Korngold‘s operatic masterpiece. Korngold is the composer often credited with creating the modern Hollywood film score, for which he won two Academy Awards in the 1930s.

We made our way to the New York State Theater mezzanine after the concert, following the crush of the capacity crowd and the sound of blaring rock guitars and drums. Hey, it’s the East Village Opera Company (EVOC)!

Earlier in the day, I sent an email to LP, rightly figuring that she would be at tonight’s performance to support her boyfriend, EVOC’s lead singer. She responded right away, and we agreed to look out for one another at the afterparty. Not quite so easy: the floor was filled with throngs of revelers, rocking out in full appreciation of the high-energy, updated opera classics (and the free food and wine.)

LP spotted me first, and we were able to catch up on our summers and share some office scuttlebutt, though I did feel a tad rude shouting over her boyfriend’s super-amped vocals. Turns out she was in Hong Kong a couple of months after I was, accompanying the band towards the end of their Asia tour. This Fall, the EVOC has bookings throughout the country, in Canada and in Mexico. And in 2007: South America! Forget tenors: it’s great to be a rock star!



SYB deduced that LP had played the lead in the performance of Broadway’s Miss Saigon he attended in 2000 — TR had left the cast by then. Small world! After EVOC’s set, LP brought us up past the gaggle of groupies to congratulate TR on his performance. He graciously agreed to sign EVOC’s eponymous CD that SYB purchased that night.

At one point, wandering around the party, I overheard some snarky comments from beneath the mezzanine tiers. I turned to locate the source, which turned out to be a gathering of divos from this evening’s concert. Also tonight’s Musetta — whose real name is Elizabeth Caballero. Not knowing that at the time, I greeted her, “Hey, Musetta!”, and added “You were great up there!” She smiled, “Thanks,” and we made small talk for about a minute before I left her to continue mouthing along to the lyrics of the EVOC’s performance. Tough crowd.

There are 2 Comments ... Opera for All!

September 10, 2006

The picture of that giant ball is pretty trippy.

March 9, 2007

Yeah…The whole article is pretty gd trippy…Excuse me while I erase the last 4 years…

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