About 25 people watched Michael Borosky, a nondescript 26-year-old opera singer, belt out about seven numbers from various operas Wednesday as part of the first in a series of Opera Mash-Up events at Area 7. He was lit from above by a disco ball, and surrounded on all sides by a bunch of decapitated animal-costume heads -- a wide-eyed cartoonesque squirrel sat on an amp, while a creepy pig and bear stared out side by side at those sitting on the side of the bar. Borosky, who studied vocal performance at Palm Beach Atlantic University, effortlessly transitioned from Italian to French to German.
After a quick monologue by James A. Roberson, experimental-noise engineer "Famous Billy" and jazz musicians Greg LeBlanc (guitar), Brian Collins (Drums), Dominick Pfefferkorn (bass), and Stefanie "Scratch" Osorio (violin) took over. This was the first time any of the musicians had played together, and initially it was obvious as they tried to improv over Borosky's opera. Couple that with Billy suffering laptop difficulties, and after Borosky left the stage, it looked as if the music would degenerate into an uncohesive series of sounds and feedback.
However as the night progressed, Billy, who sat on the floor of the stage, toyed with the opera recordings, fading them into the background and incorporating weird, spacy whale-like sounds. This approach worked well for the guitarist, drummer, and bassist, who all looked a bit puzzled at first. Billy's "noise" then transitioned to a low, droning static that added a highly enjoyable avant-garde quality to the jazz without sounding cacophonic -- though I'm not sure if that's a compliment or dis to experimental-noise fans.
The next Opera Mash-Up will be Wednesday May 27 and will again feature opera, noise, and jazz. Starting in June, the series will move to Tuesday and feature bluegrass musicians. Area 7 is located at 3908 Powerline Road, Fort Lauderdale.