Early first adopters of the Second Saturday Art Walk who complain about the "CocoWalk-ification" of the narrow NW Second Ave corridor will have to complain a little louder this Saturday. Otherwise, their voices could be lost beneath the impressive vocals of Florida Grand Opera.
Following its stints at Wynwood art havens such as Dorsch Gallery, FGO will return to the neighborhood's Hangar Gallery this Saturday with an opera preview that promises to inject some added culture (with a capital C) into the art walk.
So you've never heard of Robert Xaver Rodriguez's Tango or Astor Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aries? Fret not. Rest assured, this isn't your grandparents' favorite traveling Pirates of Penzance production, and you won't have to catch the show from a fourth-tier balcony while wearing a suffocating cummerbund.
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Expect to inhale a seductive 20-something performer's perfume as she belts out a sultry tango-laced aria several inches in front of your face. In short, this production will be anything but stuffy. The show takes advantage of the local bar scene and its standing-room format to put audience members in the middle of the action as brief tales of lust, romance, and tango unravel around them.
"Since the crowd will be young, hip art lovers, we couldn't think of a more fitting selection than a Tango double bill. Tango is appealing because it's sexy and provocative. And when in Miami...," says Roberto Berrocal, head coach of the Young Artists Studio of Florida Grand Opera.
The Young Artists Studio is the final step that voice students at FGO take before gaining their stripes as professional opera singers, and they will certainly have their work cut out for them Saturday night in front of a discerning crowd and surrounded by the art installations at the Hangar Gallery. Expect rowdy guests -- a round of complimentary vodka shots will be available for attendees.
"The music calls for an unconventional setting that mimics the bars and nightclubs of Buenos Aires, where the story takes place and tango itself was born," says Maestro Ramon Tebar, FGO's music director and the production's conductor.
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Keep in mind that if you like what you hear, you can buy tickets to the full staged production of these operas just a few blocks away at the Stage, a local music venue.
So now you hoity-toities can find a little respite in the middle of NW Second Avenue after all. The Florida Grand Opera preview takes place Saturday, March 9, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Hangar Gallery, 2235 NW Second Ave., Miami. The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-854-1643, ext. 1211.
-- Leah Stern