We knew going in that starting an opera company would be a huge challenge, requiring lots of time and resources. I wish someone could have reaffirmed for us from the beginning that we really would be okay to simply trust in strong material, talented performers, and that audiences are smart and curious.
Maureen Batt and Erin Bardua are the co-artistic directors of Essential Opera, almost a guerrilla operation. With limited resources, they draw on their experiences in language studies and theatre production to create an experience that speaks to the seasoned opera-goer without alienating a general audience. They translate much of the dialogue into english themselves to convey the story, and create their own english subtitles when they sing in other languages. There are no fancy sets, which offers a creative challenge for an art form that is known for being over-the-top.
Essential Opera offers a very immediate and intimate way to experience an operatic repertoire that is well loved by singers but rarely performed to the public. They are perfect for this budding opera company that does not seem to be daunted by obvious challenge of being both the producers and the performers of their own shows.
Their 5th production next Friday, aptly titled “Two Weddings and a Funeral” featuring two one-act comic operas by Puccini and Donizetti. Check out the trailer to their show at the end of this post. We’ll be running a contest to give away two tickets to their show on Monday, so stay tuned for details!