Headshot of La Cieca

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Writers’ block

©ALESSANDRO SIMONETTI courtesy LoftOpera and media partner Grey Magazine“The last place you’d expect to find opera at all, let alone good, exciting opera, is in still-scrappy Bushwick, Brooklyn. But that’s where a new and vital company called LoftOpera has popped up for a two-weekend run of Puccini’s La Bohème in a performance that is as true and moving as any I can remember in 40 years of opera-going.” [New York Observer]

75 comments

  • bluecabochon says:

    This has been a fascinating thread with lovely, informative comments. Thank you to all involved. :)

  • Camille says:

    This is very, very encouraging to hear, i.e., the young outfit in Brooklyn.

    If they are dressed as hipsters, well then the hipsters won’t be alienated by them and will be drawn in, at least a percentage of them. If I had the time and inclination to hop on the Q or N or something train, I would, but I don’t.

    In any case, good luck to Loft Opera and Camille will be visiting you someday in the future.

    • skoc211 says:

      I attended the performance tonight and it was nothing short of magical.

      Bushwick definitely has some cool up and coming spots, but this particular warehouse was very much in the middle of no where. If I hadn’t seen a queue of people outside the venue I might have missed it entirely. It was very much a no frills affair -- the only bathrooms were two outdoor porta-pottys -- and the large (and loud) heater that warmed the room was turned off during the performance giving some unexpected authenticity. Wine and Brooklyn Brewery beer abounded.

      The performance space was small and the only defining feature a faux brick wall the displayed super-titles, such that the seating, made up of three sections of bare white benches gave the whole thing an air of theatre in the round. The rest of the set was made up of various tables and chairs.

      JJ is spot on about the singing -- there was not a single weak link. I’ve never attended a student or amateur performance of an opera before and I was thrilled by the robust singing from the entire cast. Rodolfo, in particular, stood out. He was fearless and powerful with his high notes, yet he still sang sensitively and was deeply moving in his acting. Their Musetta was perhaps the feistiest I’ve seen -- smashing plates to get Marcello’s attention and waving to the audience as she was carried off on his shoulders at the end of Act II. Speaking of Marcello, his voice was as handsome as he was! Mimi took some time warming up in the acting department, but the voice was warm and lovely and filled the warehouse. Her “Sono andati” was particularly moving.

      It was also surreal to watch my peers (I don’t know the casts’ ages, but I’m 26 and they all looked my age) perform in an opera I’m so used to seeing older (and sometimes much older) artists sing. It felt incredibly authentic to Puccini in its own way -- even the occasional clinking a beer bottle being knocked over in the audience fit in.

      As for the aforementioned hipsters, yes, they dominated the audience. I’m not sure if I was being made fun of or sincerely complimented by a bearded flannel wearing fellow who said he like my golden pocket square. There were a handful of elderly people who were either regular opera goers that braved the journey to Brooklyn or had family in the cast. Regardless, everyone seemed moved and I could hear more than a few sniffles at the end. Bravos and rousing ovations concluded the night. I look forward to seeing more from LoftOpera.

      PS: Here are a few pictures I snapped during the course of the evening…..

      http://imgur.com/a/X0zyS