You’ve not likely been in a bar when the guy next to you bursts into an aria. (At least not unless he’s really plastered.)
But it’ll happen in Opera On The Rocks, the premiere work by the AmbientOpera Society, an artists’ collective that includes singers and a composer as well as a director and librettists you’ll know from the theatre world.
“We’ve dubbed the evening guerrilla opera,” says director Liza Balkan, speaking of the eight short scenes staged throughout Pauper’s Pub. The text is by LeannaBrodie, Dave Carley, Lisa Codrington and KristaDalby, while the music is played live by composer David Ogborn.
“We all met as collaborators on Tap-estry New Opera Works’ Opera Briefs in 2006,” recalls the director, “and the idea of an evening of environmental theatre started percolating sometime after that.”
Featuring singers Alex Dobson, Carla Huhtanen, JessicaLloyd and Keith Klassen, the episodes cover such typical pub themes as sports (notably hockey), karaoke, last call and the pluses and minuses of using Lava Life for dating.
“Leanna Brodie’s notes on one piece sum up the show. ‘Think Greek tragedy, think King Lear, think Puccini writing for Dynasty during sweeps week.’ That’s the variety and size of emotion we’re aiming for.”
Ogborn’s score combines electronic music and solo guitar. But don’t expect a guitar sound like you’ve heard before. Sometimes he’s strumming the instrument with kitchen knives.“It’ll be a fast and furious process,” smiles Balkan, “but the performers have worked on new material before, and they’re fast on their feet.”
The production’s supported by the Canadian Music Centre’s New Music in New Places program.
See Opening, page 58 – and expect some arias with your Absolut.
Many of the same artists are involved in the recently formed TapestryNew Works Studio Company.
The troupe aims to combine classical opera roots and the possibilities of opera theatre in the 21st century.
Helmed by director Tom Diamond, a frequent collaborator with Tapestry as well as the CanadianOpera Company, the troupe includes singers Carla Huhtanen, KeithKlassen, Jessica Lloyd, Calvin Powell, PatriciaO’Callaghan, Jean Stilwell, Theresa Tova, AlexanderDobson, James McLennan, Lynne McMurtry and XinWang; repetiteurs Christopher Foley and JenniferTung; and directors Michael P. Albano and LizaBalkan.
You’ll see several of these artists in next February’s Opera To Go.