Friday, November 12, 2010

Laser Opera: Bad is Good!

Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin...and Mozart? Yes, last night was the sixth annual Laser Opera event hosted by Seattle Opera's BRAVO! Club, and this clash-of-worlds event saw another year of success with an all-ages crowd of opera lovers and first-timers alike.

This year's theme was "Bad is Good," and the playlist was a journey to discover the best of the worst - in other words, the best of the evil we see on stage - in the current opera season. Prepared by new Education Director Sue Elliott, the arias presented not only highlighted this year's opera lineup, but showcased the power of opera as exemplified by its use in movies, cartoons, and other means of popular culture.
"Why is evil so interesting?" Elliott writes in her narrative script accompanying each track, "Perhaps one reason is that by its very nature evil is seductive." She goes on to introduce the famous "Catologue Aria" from Don Giovanni, to be performed by our Young Artists this spring. Leporello boasts that the Don has seduced thousands of women around the world, proving that evil, indeed, is seductive.
The show went on to explore how other composers treated the seduction of evil in their work, from Rossini's The Barber of Seville, when Don Basilio sings how to start a rumor in order to help Bartolo win Rosina's heart, to Mozart's The Magic Flute, where amid the Queen of the Night's famous acrobatic aria, she attemps to persuade Pamina to murder Sarastro.
We couldn't feature a playlist where "Bad is Good" without including the Lucia mad scene; however, Elliott cleverly allowed the Laser Opera attendees to experience a different version than what we saw on stage last month: the Fifth Element Remix. In the movie, the aria is sung by a blue alien diva and begins just as creepily as Donizetti's standard arrangement, but the aria progresses and evolves into a techno remix that complements the movie's events - and our laser artwork - in its own eerily beautiful (beautifully eerie?!) way.

Thank you to Sue Elliott for her fabulous playlist and insightful and accessible narrative script that accompanied each track, and thank you to Pacific Science Center and the laser artists who practiced the show for four weeks before presenting their laser art live alongside the music. They even ended the show with a special surprise for us all:
What will we come up with for next year's Laser Opera?! You'll all have to join us to find out! Until then!!

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