“Vivente” means “alive” or “animated.” And this now-teenage company definitely lives up to its name and slogan—“intimate, innovative, in English: opera you can get into”—in a decidedly unstuffy manner. Thus a recent Facebook entry noted, “Opera Vivente is translating its ass off. Yes, opera companies have asses. They’re just normally referred to as directors. Just kidding.” It’s hard to imagine the Met saying anything like that for public consumption.
The company isn’t afraid to take risks during its three-opera season, staged primarily at Baltimore’s Emmanuel Church. It updated Handel’s Alcina to the 1960s and included a chorus of hippies. It also produced the North American premiere of Jonathon Dove’s Tobias and the Angel.
Opera Vivente often plays up its “Bawlmer” roots. A production of Magic Flute, for example, made Papageno into an Orioles fan peddling team trinkets. Pre-performance Q&A sessions with cast members offer insights into the show patrons are about to see and about opera in general.
Club OV provides seasonal cabaret-style programming at specific venues plus a touring show. Opera Vivente Academy offers six-week intensive summer courses for singers, piano accompanists and budding technical personnel. The program concludes with a scenes presentation at Baltimore’s Artscape Festival.
Opera Vivente Information
- Public Transportation: Very good (the 3 and 11 buses at Cathedral St. and Read St. are right across the street; the light rail at Howard St. and MLK Blvd. is a 5 minute walk)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Approximately 12 per season
- Ticket Prices: $33–$75.