I find it somewhat ironic that while “traditionalists” want to return to the opera house experience of the 1950s, there are younger, more radical, groups that look more to the opera audience experience of the 1750s. The argument goes “Young people don’t come to the opera house because of the experience. It’s a stuffy crowd. You have to sit still and quiet for hours in the hushed, darkened auditorium. You can’t get trashed, just maybe a glass of wine at the interval if you are lucky”. Thank you Mahler and Wagner with your Holy Temple of the Arts! Whatever happened to going to the opera house to hang out with your friends, play cards and bonk that rather cute countess in the discretely dark recesses of her box?
So Peepshow, a creation of Liederwölfe, a transplanted Montreal group, aims to get back closer to that experience (albeit minus the cute countess). The show will play at Campbell House on April 28th, 29th and 30th. The concept is that there’s a central space with bar where people can hang out and four performance spaces; each with a different opera themed performance going on. For $15 patrons can buy a key which temporarily unlocks one of the rooms for whoever wants to drop in. One can stay as long as one feels like and move between bar and performances as the spirit or spirits) move.
The four “shows” will be:
- Liederwölfe presenting Opera, undressed; an assortment of some of the most beautiful music and celebrated scenes in the operatic tradition.
- Essential Opera with She’s The One; a collage of contemporary opera, celebrating and exploring women’s lives through Canadian and American contemporary opera.
- re:Naissance presenting Shakespeare re:Imagined; three dramatic scenes that combine texts by William Shakespeare with historical ballads and the music of John Dowland and his contemporaries to conjure the spirits of: Ophelia, Juliet and Lady Macbeth in their darkest and most intimate moments.
- Urbanvessel with Boots. Boots is an interactive performance installation, starring singer Christine Duncan and a cast of over thirty pairs of boots. Boots explores Christine’s relationship to her footwear through voice, text and found sounds.
Liederwölfe have someting of a track record of new, different and controversial shows in Montreal. They do seem to have been able to get through to the non-opera crowd so I’ll be interested to see how it goes down in Toronto.
There’s more information here.