My passion is opera, and I am encouraged when I attend the Atlanta Opera to see that there are not only long time patrons, but also families and young professionals attending who share my fervor. When the Patch newspapers said they were looking for new bloggers, I went to their mix and mingle at Manuel’s Tavern, thought why not, and a new blogger was born as Operaddict.
I am going to use this forum to share the story of Peach State Opera based at Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston. I plan to inspire 350 readers to pack the PAC ( performing arts center) of the Cole Auditorium on September 14 at 8pm and Sept. 16 at 3pm for Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. This fairly new opera company will be overwhelmed with sold-out performances.
Why would a good ole Georgia girl like me be drawn to opera and not Elvis? In the days of yore, the 1950‘s urban consumers shopped not at Target or Costco but at the local shopping center’s five and dime. Friday nights were prime time for a ten year old with money to burn. While perusing the vinyl LP’s marked seventy seven cents, I couldn’t decide between Montovani, Andre Kosteslanetz, or the World’s Favorite Operatic Arias. Drawn to the ballroom-gowned woman on the cover of the arias album, I bought it. From the moment I lowered the needle onto Sempre Libera from Verdi‘s La Traviata, my fate was sealed. With every graceful sweep and descent of the soprano’s voice, my spirit soared and to this day has never ceased to find the same thrill when hearing a beautifully executed aria.
For a time after my graduation from high school in 1962, I was a vocal performance major at Georgia State where season tickets to the touring company of the Metropolitan Opera were available for $5. We would crowd the balcony of the Fox and revel in the performances of our favorite singers. My friend and accompanist managed to wrangle her mother’s mink stole for me to wear to one performance, and I felt red carpet glam before I knew of such phenomena. I still remember the long standing ovation Joan Sutherland received after Lucia di Lammermoor. It could rival any pop icon today in its manic intensity.
So here I am trying to raise awareness about a new opera company working to grow its audience. In the following weeks you’ll get a behind the scenes view of how an opera is rehearsed, staged, and promoted. You’ll get to know some of the singers, directors, musicians, and technicians. My goal is to make this the hottest ticket in town, and for all my readers to save the date and not miss the performance. Addiction may have a negative connotation, but I want you to be needing an immediate hit and eventually a support group for opera fanatics when I finish with you.