No big wigs in Brooklyn’s LoftOpera, and that’s the point

Opera doesn’t have to be a very expensive nap.

In fact, it doesn’t have to be expensive at all.

LoftOpera, is quintessentially Brooklyn: young, inexpensive, with the gritty aesthetic that’s become associated with the borough’s art scene. Founder Daniel Ellis -Ferris told Grey Magazine it’s a “start-up opera company.”

It offers a much more intimate experience with the performers, while eschewing all of the trappings that make opera riveting, but also expensive to stage: costumes, wigs, elaborate sets, full orchestras, and massive casts. General admission tickets are $20, while patron-level seats are $50. Typical opera tickets to a show at the Met or the Kennedy Center can run anywhere from $30-$500, depending on where you sit.

LoftOpera’s last production was Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème,” an ambitious undertaking even for experienced opera singers. Puccini’s soaring works – think “Un bel di vedremo” from “Madama Butterfly,” “Nessun Dorma” from “Turandot,” or Vissi d’arte from “Tosca” – aren’t known for being facile. LoftOpera’s previous two productions were Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “The Marriage of Figaro,” both fun, and more forgiving.

LoftOpera may not be able to fill the void of the New York City Opera, which was forced to close after 70 years, but it’s a start. It grew from a group of students, most of whom attended the New School, hosting underground shows in Bushwick. The New York City Opera filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last year after it was unable to raise $7 million to pay for the rest of its season. The New York City Opera, nicknamed the “People’s Opera,” was widely considered the more affordable alternative to the city’s Metropolitan Opera, which stages the big productions people typically expect. In fact, the Met is doing “La Bohème” beginning March 19.

H/t Hyperallergic.

Soraya Nadia McDonald covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post with a focus on race and gender issues.
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