Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Opera in the Open

Every Thursday in August this year, Dublin City Council is working with Opera in the Open to provide free lunchtime opera performances in the amphitheater behind the city offices at Wood Quay. I saw the announcement in my weekly standby the Dublin Event Guide and had to check it out. The first performance was Gluck's Orphee et Eurydice, a French language opera of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Euridice.

I wasn't sure how early to arrive- free event and all- so I showed up about 90 minutes before the show. I had my pick of seats in the round theater between the city offices and Christ Church Cathedral. The stage set was simple and tasteful, and I saw the small cast and crew making preparations.
I had been wondering what kind of performance this would be. Opera productions are no simple matter! The show was compact and perfect for the casual lunchtime crowd. Orphee et Eurydice was condensed to one hour, requiring three main characters, a narrator, a four-voice chorus, and a troupe of dancers. Music was provided by a keyboardist behind the round stage.

Many opera productions use an English translation screen or marquee somewhere on the stage, but this story was simple enough to be verbally explained between scenes.

I didn't need to arrive as early as I had, but the crowd filled out the raised amphitheater  seating and had overflowed into the grass. Outdoor opera veterans were prepared with seating pads for the stone amphitheater seats and folding chairs and blankets for the grass.

It was a great show, this team knows how to put together a lunchtime opera concert. I can't wait to see the rest of the performances this August. Speaking of...

August 14: Mozart, The Magic Flute
Ausust 21: Puccini, La Rondine
August 28: Rossini, Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville)
All shows at 1 p.m.

More information on each show can be found at the Dublin City Council announcement here. Hope to see you at the opera!

Let's leave with the classic shaving scene from The Rabbit of Seville. Take it away, Bugs!

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