“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.