One of the struggles classical music faces in contemporary times is the fact that we’ve ritualized and professionalized our craft to the extent that many, many people think of it as something covered in otherness. It’s foreign, it’s weird, and at it’s worst, it’s boring or just something they’d never take part in themselves.
Many organizations are tackling these misconceptions in various ways, from Opera on Tap and Classical Revolution LA to Opera at the Cathedral to Vox Femina‘s super-fun community concerts to The Industry‘s infectious innovation and dozens of creative auxiliary events, adding food and fun to any event possible. Our own summer series (plug!), unSUNg: Songs Uncommon and New has elements of this, as we try to make the events fun and casual, even when set in a gorgeous, traditional stone church. But just about every event can incorporate elements that broaden the experience and the appeal. It’s more fun for the performers and presenters, too, as watching people marvel at the things they’ve never seen and heard before reminds us why we do this.
Watching SoCal presenters experiment with this has been fascinating and inspiring. After all, we’re the people, too, and finding ways to re-establish the connection between great art music and mainstream audiences is unfathomably rewarding. Here are a few projects that hammer at the wall between “us” and “them”. They focus on the inclusive, and are not just noteworthy — they deserve a celebration of their own:
This weekend’s Opera in the Neighborhood is one part of this fledgling company’s ongoing mission to perform live opera anywhere they can. Their mission includes a commitment to “leave no stone unturned” in their search for new listeners, and we’re looking forward to hearing what they’re doing next. “Opera is bursting with relatable human emotion and conflict relevant to modern society.” Now that’s what we’re talkin’ about. Calendar
Celebrating the big guy’s birthday all over the world and in a lot of unlikely places, this international project is a big hit, and often with tongue firmly in cheek. You’ll never find more ways to enjoy and experience Bach’s music in one city. See those excited faces in the picture at the top of this article? That’s what Bach can do at Union Station… Calendar