New York comes to life in the summer, when the world is truly a New Yorker’s stage and the streets often become alive with performance and energy. If you’ve been lucky enough to scope out or stumble upon a performance by The Opera Next Store, an opera company created in summer 2020 to help bring live performance back to New York, you know that this immersive live music is what makes the heat of the city worth staying in.
And while air-conditioned theaters are back up and running with some safety precautions, The Opera Next Door is continuing its outdoor performance legacy with a Summer Stoop Concert Series, free for all to enjoy.
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“To honor our beginnings, we created the Summer Stoop Concert Series, a space which brings opera to the masses in working-class neighborhoods and where we collaborate with artists of different musical genres to explore the possibilities of creating a place for opera in this new day and age,” says Opera Next Door founder and artistic director Sasha Gutiérrez. “We are overwhelmed by the positive response from our audiences! Most of the people that have seen our concerts are new to the genre of opera and we love sharing it with new audiences because we love this art form deeply. However, we understand that it has always been considered a ‘high art’ and we are working hard in blurring the lines when it comes to the type of people that can enjoy this art form. We are sure that if the general public are able to feel invited, they too can fall in love with opera.”
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To enjoy the performance, neighbors bring blankets and chairs, plus picnics if they desire, filling the public space with an attentive audience eager to listen to the free music. Those who want to contribute financially can all share donations, which help make future performances possible.
Next up, there’s a concert on Saturday, July 23, at 6pm at 559 Marlborough Rd. in Ditmas Park, in which singers will perform a series of opera arias, opera scenes and share the stoop stage with the La Manga, an all-female group that focuses on performing music from the Caribbean and Afro-Colombian diaspora. Gutiérrez also hints at a musical crossover of the two groups and their genres.
Follow @theoperanextdoor on Instagram for performance updates and clips of the spectacular city acoustics.