Bellini's La Sonnambula will be sung in Italian with English subtitles, accompanied by a small moving chamber orchestra. It will take place at Auspicious Phoenix Productions, an open format artist space and gallery, not in an opera house. We chose this space specifically because it allows us to make unexpected decisions about the audience’s relationship to the performers. In our immersive production, the audience will be moved between two different performance spaces and asked to interact with the performers by taking part in a wedding ceremony, wearing costumes, and being literally immersed (surrounded) in and amongst our singing actors. We have found that modern audiences can be unaccustomed to the pacing of Bel Canto music and plot, and struggle with social dynamics from other times. La Sonnambula is an opera full of absolutely beautiful Bel canto music, but the story itself is pretty creepy, so we decided to lean in to that strange aesthetic and set the opera in a cult, instead of a quaint Swiss Village (as was originally intended). Our director, Dan Rogers, has drawn inspiration from Heaven's Gate and other similar groups to inform our characters’ movements, interactions, and rituals. We invite new audiences to engage with this music and these challenging themes by leaning into the “group think” reflected by the chorus and their treatment of the girl at the center of a controversy. We have turned the full chorus into a small ensemble, which actually personalizes their decisions and treatment of the heroine. By asking the audience to literally become part of the cult, rather than holding themselves separate, we offer them an opportunity to fully experience this story.
Tickets are available on a sliding scale from $20 to $80.
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Auspicious Phoenix Productions
64 Joy Street, Somerville