Opera Columbus to return to reimagined performance space

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — For the first time in over a year, Opera Columbus will be performing in front of a live audience in a reimagined performance space. The singers and musicians will present Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” inside a gallery at the Center for Science and Industry (COSI).

“So. that felt very important for us that we didn’t do another zoom performance, but actually did it live in person,” said Julia Noulin-Mérat, General Director & CEO of Opera Columbus.

Opera Columbus had to quickly pivot and reimagine how they would safely stage Mozart’s masterpiece in front of a live audience.

“Each individual singer is in a vinyl tower, and it’s important that it’s vinyl because it still needs to vibrate to the music. The tops of the boxes are actually open, so we have negative airflow,” said Noulin-Mérat.

The newly constructed boxes allow the performers to sing without a mask.

“It was a lot of touch and go and making sure they were comfortable in them…ha-ha, I’m sure this is the smallest space they’ve ever performed in,” Noulin-Mérat added with a smile.

The boxes make up the stage inside Gallery 2 at COSI.

“They’ve been incredibly welcoming and kind of helped us brainstorm in terms of the process and things like that,” said Noulin-Mérat.

COSI will officially reopen to the public in June, so Opera Columbus felt the gallery was perfect to allow for social distancing and air circulation.

“And we’re also staggering our patrons so they’re not all arriving at the same time,” said Noulin-Mérat.

Patrons are required to wear masks, temperatures will be taken at the door, the show is 90-minutes with no intermission, digital programs are available, and only 140 guests will be in attendance. The singers also quarantined when they arrived in Columbus.

“We’ve had people come from all over the country and join us, and a lot of them, this is their first performance in 15 months…I literally just got goosebumps I’m so excited for them,” said Noulin-Mérat.

They hope to bring that same feeling to the audience at each performance.

“It’s a message of hope, it’s also a love letter to our city, Columbus because you know, we’ve missed being together,” said Noulin-Mérat.

For more information about attending the performance, visit: https://www.operacolumbus.org/

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