Opera on the Mall

Last night on Independence Mall, Opera Philadelphia showed an HD broadcast of their current production of La Traviata. Here is the online program.

Here is their “preview” video.

To be perfectly honest, ordinarily I would have passed on attending yet another performance of La Traviata. But there is something fun about hearing/watching all’aperto while eating a hoagie (Amato Bros. makes the best in the region)  with thousands of your best friends in front of Independence Hall. Yes, I said thousands. The lawn in front of the hall was packed and there was also a huge crowd across Market St next to the visitor center where they also set up HD screens. BTW., It was great planning to have the visitor center open past its regular closing time. Portable toilets are universally loathed.

One of the reasons to see a repertory opera – besides the great music – is to hear different singers tackle the roles. I was unfamiliar with the soprano in the title role. Her name is Lisette Oropesa (@Lisette_Oropesa on twitter).

I was half expecting some Pat Racette style sloppy woofing; many singers don’t take Philadelphia seriously. Happily, I was completely wrong. Oropesa was terrific. This was no Can Belto performance. She superbly conveyed the range of emotions and moods that Violetta progresses through. Her technique is nuanced and subtle, but above all, enjoyable to listen to. I’d go out of my way to hear her again.

This event was originally scheduled for October 3, but a hurricane decided that was not to be. That was unfortunate. Instead of functioning as a preview – and an incentive to buy tickets! – it was now a postscript. And in those few weeks it’s become a bit cooler. Also, it was moved from a Saturday performance to Friday night, which was convenient for many people, but for me, there was battling the traffic to get home before hopping onto the train which was late. My agita left once the performance began.

This “tradition” is now 5 years old – and I hope it continues.