New York Opera Festival 2019: Divaria Productions Showcases ‘La Voix Humaine’

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.

Divaria Productions is a unique opera company in New York that puts on a number of the great works of the standard repertory. Since its inception in 2011, the company has engaged with “Don Giovanni,” “Così Fan Tutte,” “Don Pasquale,” “La Traviata,” and “L’Elisir d’Amore.”

Now it will revive a production “La Voix Humaine” at Baza Studios in New York. The work will be presented in a Spanish production on June 25 and 27.  The production’s stage director Antón Armendariz Diaz answered OperaWire’s questions for this piece.

Tell us why you’re excited to participate in this year’s New York Opera Festival.

Working in NYC is a dream for any European artist. , and being able to be part of New York Opera Festival is an incredible honor since it is in this city where the best performing arts of the world are presented.

What themes and/or issues are addressed in your production, and how are they relevant to your company and its mission? 

One of our missions is “to create one of a kind quality experiences in intimate settings that make opera easy to digest for a modern audience”. To this end, we will be performing this opera in a site-specific space. The audience will be in the character Elle’s apartment and be able to observe her suffering firsthand. We also hope, in line with part of our mission, “to make opera approachable and accessible” by having cheaper ticket prices and by blending opera with theatre so that those with no exposure to it will be be interested in attending.

What is something special or unique about your production that NYC audiences can look forward to?

The originality of this production is the presentation of the female character, the merging of the opera and the theatrical work, which gives us the possibility of playing with different points of view, even when we are dealing with the same character, the same text and the same situation. We have opened up a window of possibilities for interpretation. The questions that remains is: Is she him? Is he her? No. Both are the same person, whether male or female: they are just living emotions.

 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 believe that art must be independent, it is the only way to be able to speak freely, and to be critical, in spite of the great economic problems (from the Spanish point of view) this implies”. From the company: I think “indie opera” is incredibly important for both NYC and for the future of opera as a whole. Indie opera helps expose opera to those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it, oftentimes by offering cheaper and more affordable ticket prices and intimate venues. Furthermore, in a era when many companies are sadly failing because of the economy and decreased government support, indie opera is a bright light and hope for our future, enabling opera to be produced by focusing on the quality of the performers and the concept, even when large budgets for performance spaces, costumes, production are not available.