On Site Opera Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Birthday Bash Fundraiser

By Logan Martell

On June 14, 2022, On Site Opera celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a fundraising concert held at Ellington in the Park.

The event paid tribute to the company’s history and mission of performing in unconventional venues with a riverside concert in the style of a birthday party. The program was comprised of selections which played upon relevant themes, such as drinking songs, clowns, candy, and more. The artists for the evening were a mix of performers both new and familiar to the company, featuring soprano Cree Carrico, and tenors Lindell Carter and Dylan Morrongiello, being accompanied by pianist Candace Chien.

“Ten years ago, on a June day much like today, On Site Opera was born,” said Artistic Director Eric Einhorn in his opening remarks. “Our first production was ‘The Tale of the Silly Baby Mouse,’ a kids’ opera by Shostokovich, which we performed at the Bronx Zoo using large scale animal puppets for audiences of all ages – and species. It was a test case to see if this crazy concept of site-specific opera had legs. And it sure did! We learned a lot from that inaugural performance. We learned that putting opera singers just a few feet from the audience creates a powerful connection that cannot be replicated in a theater. We learned that staging an opera in a space that evokes the story’s themes or setting helps audiences connect even more to that space – and to the opera. We learned that the sound of a piccolo can be disturbing to newborn camels. Most importantly, we learned that there was a hunger from audiences and artists alike to experience opera in a new way. ‘Baby Mouse’ turned out to be the start of a journey that has lasted for a decade so far, and we are immensely grateful to all of you, who have joined us along this journey, supported us, performed with us, cheered us on. We are now here celebrating ten years of pushing the boundaries of opera and exploring this city through site-specific performances. And so it seemed fitting to mark the occasion with a birthday party true to our age as a company.”

“This event was our first time in more than two years that we have been able to reunite our community for a social occasion, and it was magical!” reflects OO Executive Director Piper Gunnarson. “The laughter and cheers throughout the evening were contagious and really reminded us that the performing arts are such a balm for the spirit.”