Actors Jennifer Harpel and Kasey Nahvrosky get into character for their roles in Emerald City Opera's Speed Dating event which will take place on Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. at the Depot Art Center.

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Actors Jennifer Harpel and Kasey Nahvrosky get into character for their roles in Emerald City Opera's Speed Dating event which will take place on Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. at the Depot Art Center.

Emerald City Opera presents new kind of performance

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— There may be a few surprises, it may be a little awkward and there are sure to be a few laughs thrown into the mix.

“Speed Dating Tonight,” presented by the Emerald City Opera, takes unexpected turns while placing a comedic spin on the concept of speed dating.

With showings at 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Depot Art Center, this new type of opera experience features Front Range actors portraying characters encountered through a typical speed date.

Emerald City Opera presents: "Speed Dating Tonight"

If You Go

What: Emerald City Opera Presents “Speed Dating Tonight”

When: 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20

Where: Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.

Tickets: $35 available at All That or online

“The essence of speed dating is that you get a short time to best express who you are, and each character has a story to tell,” said Andres Cladera, artistic director for Emerald City Opera. “You won’t know who is a performer or audience member.”

Based on the contemporary comic opera by Michael Ching, “Speed Dating Tonight” will feature performers blended into the crowd, sitting side-by-side with audience members. At any moment, they could stand and begin singing or interacting with the audience members sitting nearby.

“I love this, because it brings a fresh new note within the opera world and a new perspective,” Cladera said. “This immediate involvement and proximity of being that close to the performers makes it more engaging rather than being half asleep in a large concert hall watching an opera. You will have people singing right at you.”

Jack Dysart, chairman/CEO on the Board of Trustees for Emerald City Opera, said the performance will offer high-quality music in English, along with a concept that’s a little unconventional compared to typical assumptions about opera. He said he hopes such performances will expand the range of audiences that attend operatic performances.

“There is a trend now in opera that includes this more contemporary style of music,” Dysart said. “More and more, people like to have an experience as opposed to just sitting at a concert. This is a stimulating event (presented) in a humorous way.”

“This is something people can relate to,” Cladera added. “Many operas are written about love stories or potential love stories, and this brings a fresh new note in the opera world with a new perspective.”

Kicking off the 2016 Emerald City Opera season, Cladera said "Speed Dating Tonight" is in line with his vision for this year’s programing.

“It’s interesting to start a season with something that’s fresh, updated and engaging,” he said. “It shows what’s to come in future years — more things like this, as well as presenting traditional operas for this summer. There’s a balance present of having something that is both innovative and traditional.”

Tickets are $35 and available at All That or online.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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