Why opera needs to start walking around!

Why opera needs to start walking around!

Why opera needs to start walking around!

by Anna Bernreitner, OPER-rund-um

If we aim to bring opera to new audiences and further develop the format of opera, we may step out of the established context. For me the question was: “Is it really necessary for opera to start walking around?” As the initiator of OPER-rund-um (“Opera all-around”), I of course have to say “YES!”

The project OPER-rund-um has set itself the target of bringing opera to the people instead of waiting for people to come and pay a visit to the opera house.

So far, our different projects have brought classical pieces like Hänsel&Gretel or La Bohème, which were composed hundreds of years ago, to places like the forest, a market garden, a pharmacy or even a public open-air swimming pool. Sometimes the opera popped up out of nowhere to the surprise of passers-by; sometimes singers were singing and floating by on boats; sometimes the actors took you by the hand to lead you through the forest (and saved you from the evil witch).

So of course, I have to say “Yes, let’s spread opera all over the public space!”

Oper-Rund-Um at Karlsplatz Wien. Image by: Wir Sind Wien Festival.

Oper-Rund-Um at Karlsplatz Wien. Image by: Wir Sind Wien Festival.

Oper-Rund-Um at Karlsplatz Wien. Image by: Wir Sind Wien Festival.

Still you could ask me the question: “But why is it necessary?” And I would answer: “Simply because it is much more fun!”

And then I would start a passionate speech about all the experiences I have made so far that confirm my opinion. People who told me that they had never been to an opera house before but after watching one of our public rehearsals at the market place or somewhere else, realised excitedly that they first of all understood the singers and the story and, even more importantly, laughed and were under the spell of the story.

So they lost some of their prejudices (about opera) and watched a whole show, which they enjoyed very much. Not to mention the children coming by every day to the operas that we staged at the swimming pool sitting next to us and watching the rehearsals.

Oper-Rund-Um rehearsal at Museumsquartier Wien. Image by: Oper-Rund-Um

Oper-Rund-Um rehearsal at Museumsquartier Wien. Image by: Oper-Rund-Um

So on the one hand people, find their own personal access to classical music, right on their doorstep, and on the other hand, public space gets filled with violin sounds, soprano high C’s, crazy stories and people who come to watch. As some of the projects take place at more than one location per show, we start walking around and people follow us.

So the opera journey starts to find its way through the city (or forest, or market garden).

 

Author: asked and answered by myself, Anna Katharina Bernreitner, founder of OPER-rund-um

www.oper-rund-um.at

Anna Bernreitner has won a Walking Visionyry Award with the project “LA BOHÈME – Pop-Up-Opera“.