The Big City

”The more susbtantial an individual’s aesthetic experience is, the sounder his taste, the sharper his moral focus, the freer—though not necessarily the happier—he is.."

What’s the opposite of collateral damage? One of the weird products of halls shutting down and people shutting themselves in is that there are performance experiences (albeit streaming) that would otherwise be totally unavailable. Case in point: new/avant-garde operas have a small draw to begin with, and once a production has come and gone it’s unlikely to appear again. Ever.

The New York Opera Alliance was set to put up a series of productions this month and next, and they’ve done their best to switch to the virtual realm with live and archived performances. Two of the latter are absolute do-no-pass-go-do-not-miss-these: Michael Gordon’s Acquanetta and Paul Pinto’s Thomas Paine in Violence.

Acquanetta is streaming at the Beth Morrison productions site, right now through April 8 (each Thursday they put up a new video). This is a heavy metal flavored opera about the obscure B-horror movie actress Acquanetta, set in one of her movie productions, and shown entirely through a movie screen. This is a fantastic opera and an equally fantastic production, one of the few that thinks about opera in terms of the movies. Do. Not. Miss.

HERE Arts is hosting viewing parties at their Facebook page, every Wednesday at 7pm. April 8, the selection is Thomas Pain in Violence, one of the few truly experimental operas I’ve seen and a brilliant one. I’m not going to bother with the plot but give you the essence, which is the possibilities of revolution and what has so far been one of its failings, and the consequences of same. This is abstract yet also full of things like doo-wop and Thomas Paine’s call for universal income (read about it as part of this article here). Again, you now have the chance to experience this, don’t pass it up.

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