Florida Grand Opera Gets Sexy and Sweaty at The Stage
Sexy. Seductive. Sweaty. These are three S's not typically associated with opera, the favorite pastime of the monied elderly. But times have changed, and this ain't your grandma's opera anymore.
Photo by Alejandra Serna for FGO Catalina Cuervo and Jeremias Masseda - Maria de Buenos Aires
On second thought, judging by the audience at last night's Tango double-bill at The Stage, maybe it still is your grandma's opera -- but that's only because the younger generations haven't caught on yet. They will. Especially if the Florida Grand Opera (FGO) keeps bringing sexy back like they did with last night's performance.
As part of its Unexpected Operas in Unexpected Places series, the FGO is performing a double bill at the popular local venue all weekend. Last night, audiences were treated to Robert Xavier Rodriguez's Tango and Ástor Piazzolla's María de Buenos Aires, under the stage direction of Jose Maria Condemi.
Despite the unusual locale, the crowd was still traditionally opera-esque, favoring the older set. But there was a healthy mix of young and hip scattered throughout -- and undoubtedly, more and more will make their way to shows like these when they discover the epic experience they're missing.
The night kicked off with a pre-show, where a couple of heavily made-up crooners with flowers in their hair and sexy satin dresses belted out impressive vocals from a back corner.
First on the bill, Tango, a mesmerizing ode to the famous Latin dance. It featured a narrator reading real-life headlines from the early 20th century in impressively convincing accents (Matthew Newlin); a crucifiction (so to speak) of a Catholic Cardinal; and some fancy footwork by a pair of awe-inspiring Argentinian tango experts (Jeremias Massera and Mariela Barufaldi). It was energetic, amusing and basically skewered the Catholic church.
The venue itself was set up as a theater in the round, meaning, performances happened all over the place. Sometimes, that made it hard to see what was transpiring in one corner or another, but at others, it meant the action was happening just inches from your face. Part of the magic of theaters in the round is that it's impossible to see everything, so some of the naunces and sub-plots can be saved for a second viewing.
Photo by Alejandra Serna for FGO Matthew Newlin - Tango
In the audience was Xavier Rodriguez himself, who took a bow during the credits and appeared rightfully proud of the FGO's rendition of his work.