New York Opera Fest 2019 Preview: Opera On Tap Heads To Bars & Playgrounds Near You

By David Salazar
The New York Opera Fest 2019 kicked off on Monday, April 29 and for the next several weeks, New Yorkers will get ample opportunity to enjoy opera in a variety of unique ways. As has been OperaWire’s tradition over the years, we have reached out to a number of the companies participating in the festival and have asked them a series of questions that will allow our readers to get to know them a bit.
Opera on Tap will be showcasing a number of different events this year, including its The Playground Opera production on June 13 as well as additional performances at Freddy’s Bar and Barbès on May 9 and June 7, respectively.
Tell us why you’re excited to participate in this year’s New York Opera Festival.
May and June are always very active months for our company, and this year is no different. We are presenting The Playground Opera production of “The Magic Flute” this year at PS 129 in June and have begun a new partnership with Language Exchange NYC to bring our signature bar events to several midtown NYC bars beginning in June. Additionally we’ll be at our regular residencies at Freddys Bar and Barbes respectively in May and June.
What themes and/or issues are addressed in your production, and how are they relevant to your company and its mission?
Through all of our programs, Opera on Tap is all about engaging our communities through opera and The Playground Operas is perhaps one of the most compelling and impactful programs we have going on this year. We are expanding the reach of the program at PS 129 to include 5th grade classes in addition to 3rd and 4th grade classes and are slated to expand the program to another NYC public school in 2020. Our new partnership with Language Exchange NYC allows us to reach a broad network of people passionate about learning languages in a bar setting, and we suspect that there will be some crossover of people who love to learn languages at a bar through conversation and people who love opera spanning a variety of languages in an intimate bar setting.
As always, our shows at Freddys and Barbes will deliver inspired programming and enthusiastic performances! Plus pints and a generally joyous and warm environment for audiences and performers to engage with each other.
What is something special or unique about your production that NYC audiences can look forward to?
Our programming in May and June-across all of it- invites our audiences into compelling, intimate and fun experiences with the art form. So come expecting to be entertained and moved in casual social settings.
What role do you think “indie opera” plays in a city like NYC and for the future of the art form as a whole?
I think indie opera allows for incubation of new ideas for opera- and in many cases the work and ideas of small companies are increasingly being picked up by larger companies across the globe. I think too, that the genre benefits from diversification of style- going beyond ‘grand’ creates opportunities for artists/performers who might not fit the mold of grand but having something really important to offer audiences. Indie opera allows for us to envision an opera ‘eco-system’ where opportunities abound for artists interested in exploring the genre, which I think is very healthy and exciting.