During our visit to the opera at Soestdijk Palace, where the performance took place on (and often in) the lake, discussion turned to staging shows in unusual venues.
There are a couple of wonderful videos of impromptu opera performances on YouTube. Thanks, Duncan, for directing me to this one in Cafe Iruna in Pamplona, Spain. I feel particularly warm towards it, having enjoyed a good meal here in May.
I’m not the first to discover the YouTube clip – five million people have already watched it, and so should everybody else.
The Spaniards seem to go in for this sort of thing. There’s another excellent ‘pop up and sing’ event in a market in Valencia.
There are a number of similar surprise opera events on YouTube, though perhaps a little more contrived and awkwardly staged.
We’d love to see these performances happening more often, preferably somewhere we can see them live. That wouldn’t work of course. If they ever advertised in advance or became as commonplace as living statues we wouldn’t be nearly as impressed.
It also creates goodwill when they’re done to attract interest in opera, rather than to earn money directly. As a former street performer myself, I have no objection to people busking for money, and cheerfully reach for loose change when someone in the street entertains me.
Unfortunately few street performers reach the level of skill that these people show, and few draw such a warm response from the audience lucky enough to have been in the right place at the right time.