Review: Sacramento Opera – Opera in the Cathedral
By Chantel Elder
Last night Sacramento Opera held Opera in the Cathedral at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, downtown on 11th and K.
With the exception of photographing a few performances with my partner that I wasn’t really able to watch, my previous opera experience is pretty much limited to a scene in the movie Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts. My visual is of Julia Roberts watching Pirates of Penzance wearing a gorgous red evening gown adorned in jewels, that Richard Gere took out on loan from a bank for her to wear to the performance. Growing up I considered the opera to be for the fancy and sophisticated or ….to be blunt, for the old. My husband acquired two tickets to the show last night and asked me if I would like to attend, and while I didn’t have a red velvet dress or diamonds that a bank was kind enough to loan me, I did think it would be fun to put on some heels and “get fancy” on a Thursday evening.
I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience! The place was packed. When the pews filled up they started grabbing more chairs for additional seating. Some people were dressed up and you could tell had really made a night of it, others were much more casual. A third of the performance I was indifferent on, the rest was either moving, recognizable or just plain entertaining. I loved Carrie Hennessey, and agreed with the ladies behind me when they commented that she was “just plain adorable” in her performance. I am not ready to run out and become a subscriber but I found the whole experience very enjoyable and it made me feel disheartened at the idea of not having an opera company in our city to enjoy.
There was a sincere buzz in the audience and the gorgeous location set the stage perfectly to get everyone excited about the upcoming season. I was impressed when I found out that the ticket takers at the door were board members. The whole organization seems to be running on passion and a love for this art form. As the Executive Director genuinely thanked everyone for coming, and then went on to explain how they had to close their season last year due to funding problems.
It got me thinking…it is no secret that many of our non-profit performing arts programs in Sacramento have been hurting. Aside from a bad economy in general, another reason that these organizations are struggling is the lack of interest in younger audiences. There were 4 children (I counted) that were among the 800+ people in attendance and I was definitely considered “young” at 29. How do you get a younger audience involved in these classic art forms?
The performance didn’t go off perfectly but then the slip ups aren’t worth mentioning given that the atmosphere isn’t traditionally used as a performance stage. My overall experience for doing something different aside from the same old dinner and drinks was an 8…plus it made me feel fancy supporting the art of voice in our little city.