Theatre Preview: Opera’s 2013 “Opera in the Park”
Close out Richmond’s 57th Festival of the Arts with The Virginia Opera’s live “Opera in the Park” this Saturday, August 31st at 7:30 p.m. at Dogwood Dell in Byrd Park. Paired with the Richmond Symphony, The Virginia Opera hopes to bring Opera tunes to the public.
Opera, an art that dates back to the 16th century, embodies every art form and tells timeless stories about human emotion. Russell P. Allen, the President and CEO of The Virginia Opera, is more than excited to be apart of the City’s 57th Festival of the Arts.
“Opera is an art form that encompasses music, dance, singing, choral, set design and visual arts. It’s the one art form that has everything in it,” said Russell. “So anytime we get an opportunity to be a part of a celebration of the arts, we’re going to be there.”
This Saturday’s performance is an overview of what the Virginia Opera has in store for the rest of the season. Every opera piece that is chosen for The Virginia Opera’s “Opera in the Park” is more accessible, so most people will recognize much of the performance immediately.
Both parts of the Opera (roughly 40 minutes long) are filled with upbeat songs that have stories that range from the lives of gypsies to forbidden love. However, a huge challenge of Opera is making it appealing to younger generations who are less familiar with this art form.
“I think it’s making sure that people really understand that Opera really does deal with real life situations and understanding the story is an important component for appreciating Opera,” said Russell. “Opera is more than just people on stage singing: there’s drama, there’s theatre, there’s design.”
Understanding Opera may be difficult when many of the songs are sung in languages such as Italian, French, and German. In order to help close the gap built by language barriers dancing, costume and set design and other visual arts help the audience to understand the depth of the story being told through the songs. All of these art forms work together to create a universal emotion that even though unspoken, can be felt regardless of language.
“The stories of Opera themselves are timeless. These stories deal with basic human situations and emotions and the realities of life,” said Russell. “These are the stories that tie Opera from one generation to the next. The stories that are being told and conveyed are stories that will never be dated or not felt. Every story told can be related to across cultures.”
“This Saturday is going to be outdoors at Dogwood Dell and it’ll be opera singers, a full orchestra and it’ll be a lot of fun. It’s free and open to the public. It’s a great exposure to a lot of well-known Opera tunes,” said Allen. “In Opera, there is something for everybody.”
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