Tulsa Opera Is Popping Up In The Oddest Places

Wednesday, October 6th 2010, 6:40 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Attracting new audiences to something very traditional like opera requires innovation, imagination.

Maybe taking opera outside the opera house would do the trick.

This season, Tulsa Opera is popping up in the oddest places – like the grocery store.

"Opera's gonna pop up in some unlikely locations around town," said Maria Gaw of the Tulsa Opera.

The new pop-up opera strategy continued Wednesday at Whole Foods. She says they've had opera singers hanging out in the deli section waiting to break into song.

So where are they? No big, puffy costumes. It's hard to tell the singers from the shoppers.

James Callon is one of four young performers with Tulsa Opera who popped up in the deli section, and the executive director of Tulsa Opera is sure of the response.

When suddenly you hear a performance of really great music sung by talented artists in an unexpected location, it's a pretty attractive and captivating thing," called John Peter Jeffries, executive director of the Tulsa Opera.

Captivation is it exactly. People couldn't take their eyes or ears off the singing. A couple of weeks ago, the performers showed up at the Cherry Street Farmer's Market.

James Callon, Joanna Ruszala, Sara Louis Petrocelli, and Jesse Enderle are singing Libiamo, one of the more familiar songs from Verde's La Traviata. La Traviata opens Tulsa Opera's season.

Based on the reception so far, don't be surprised if you hear more opera in unexpected places

"If you're in a public place in Tulsa, you might just walk into an opera performance," said Tulsa Opera Executive Director John Peter Jeffries.

La Traviata opens the season this weekend at the Performing Arts Center. For tickets or other information call Tulsa Opera at 918-587-4811.