How do you bring something new to an art form like opera, which has been around for hundreds of years?
Move it – not just off the stage, but off of any single stage. This was the idea behind Hopscotch Opera, a mobile opera for 24 cars.
It played in Los Angeles in 2015, and utilized more than 125 professional performers, six composers and six librettists (writers) to produce. There were three distinct routes: green, for wild and transcendent music; red, for nostalgic and introspective music; and yellow, for spacial and surreal music. Animated pieces were provided in between some segments to build narrative structure and audiences were required to change cars throughout the day, to allow them to experience the complete opera. Everyone came together at the end of the day for the group finale.
It was inspired when the creator was driving through Los Angeles, listening to some of the music that his opera company had produced. He mused that it was like he, and the others on the streets, were living in their own private world… and from that seed, the ideas began to take form.
As the audience changed cars, they would find themselves sharing space with musicians and singers, who would perform on their way to the next destination. The styles of composition were designed to be different, and to juxtapose against the locales of the city through which the cars were driving.
If you’re curious, here’s a contemporaneous piece by the Los Angeles public television station, KCET.
Question of the night: what is something you love about your city or hometown?