April 12, By Hannah Wulkan
A new Queens-based opera company will launch its first performance this weekend.
Queens Opera Theatre, the borough’s only opera company, will stage a free preview performance on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Flushing Town Hall at 135-37 Northern Boulevard to introduce the company to the public.
The performance will feature highlights from various operas including Bizet’s “Carmen,” Korngold’s “Die tote Stadt,” Puccini’s “Turandot” and Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” among others. The showcase will kick off the company’s first season, which was founded in an effort to make opera more accessible.
“We feel it is just as important to engage the current opera-loving community but also introduce and foster new audiences,” said Executive Director Brian Gill.
“So many think that art form is elitist, but we want to bring opera back to the people where it belongs,” added Artistic Director Maestro Andy Anderson.
The two men, who have known each other and worked together for years, came up with the idea to launch an opera company in Queens in 2015. They realized that Queens was the only borough without its own opera company, and decided to start one to make high quality performances accessible to everyone.
In its first season, the company will stage a holiday production, and will also put on a full production sometime in the spring at the Flushing Town Hall, Gill said.
Moving forward, Gill and Anderson hope to also incorporate educational programming in to the company. Gill said that he hopes to potentially bring a rapper or poet to a class to do an impression of a classic aria, and then deconstruct it with children looking at various musical forms and using it to dive deeper into character development in the opera.
The performance this weekend is a chance to launch the company, and audience feedback will help shape its development moving forward.
“It’s really a chance to introduce ourselves and the company to the community,” Anderson said. “It’s really more of a town hall than a performance, because we want to start getting feedback and get people excited so they know we are here.”