Great ideas: Portland Opera à la Cart Photo:

Great ideas: Portland Opera à la Cart

Jenna Simeonov

Portland Opera’s new “opera cart” has us excited about how audiences can get their fix of live music and theatre.

The à-la-carte method is fun, simple, and it caters to some realistic expectations for just how much opera the average listener wants to ingest at a time.

Portland Opera’s cart travels to select sites this summer, and they offer a menu of scenes and arias from which listeners can place an order. The cart comes stocked with a cast of singers, set pieces, and a fold-out stage, making their opera deliveries easy to transport.

It’s an idea that’s reminiscent of two Toronto-based opera companies who are getting innovative about how they present their work. The Bicycle Opera Project are masters of transportable opera; living up to their name, the cast and creative team travels from show to show by bike, bringing sets and costumes along with them.

Perhaps less mobile, but similar to the Opera à la Cart’s bite-size pieces, Opera Peep Show made a splash earlier this year, with their inaugural production at Campbell House Museum. In various rooms, Opera Peep Show hosted four ongoing scenes presented by four different Canadian companies; audience members could choose to hear individual scenes, or go for the all-access pass and catch the whole collection.

A Portland Opera-style cart is a brilliant way of showcasing opera presented by one or several companies; in the same way that a picture is worth a thousand words, offering up short bites of opera to listeners is the perfect marketing campaign to lure audiences to future full-length productions.

Indie Opera T.O., we’re looking at you.

Find out more about Portland Opera à la Cart and their performance schedule right here. Plus, you can watch a clip of the cart in action:

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