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Charlottesville Opera prepares for return to stage with historic performance

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 10:46 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - For the first time ever, an opera is coming to Charlottesville’s Ting Pavilion and for many performers, it’s the first time they’ve been on stage in front of a crowd in over a year.

Charlottesville Opera is turning the page from pandemic to performance.

“Just enjoying making art again has meant so much to us,” said Stephanie Havey, the director.

In front of a small ‘rehearsal’ audience on Wednesday, the Opera prepared for its first showing of La Bohème on Thursday, which will be performed in front of a larger crowd at the Ting Pavilion.

“That vibrancy of having an audience and understanding that shared experience is unlike anything else,” said Jessica E. Jones, who plays the role of Musetta.

The audience on Thursday, and for the second show on Saturday, will be watching these opera singers in the pavilion’s first-ever theatrical performance.

“There’s just that added energy,” said Charlottesville Opera General Director Christina DeMarea. “There would already be energy in such a cool space and being outdoors, but it’s just heightened up that much more.”

The opera is set in Paris just before the 1968 protests. Havey says the similarities between the show and our current world make this performance really timely.

“This is a joyful story that centers on a love story, but it’s also within the context of unrest in the world,” she said. “We hope that audiences will be able to connect directly into the story that we’re telling.”

That story is soon to be shared together with an audience after over a year of separation.

“Being able to connect to people, and to be able to hopefully change their lives in some small way for a minute, for a night, for a moment, maybe for a longer time than that, and to create a little beauty in their lives,” Jones said.

Charlottesville Opera says it has used the new technology, like the pavilion’s LED screens, to create an atmosphere and setting that connects Paris in the ‘60s to our current world.

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