Next Friday, Palm Beach Opera is going to the movies.
The venerable institution doesn’t open its next season until December, but on July 27, it will present the first of three Summer Opera Nights—a new, low-cost program aimed at fostering new audiences while delighting regular subscribers. The first presentation, “Opera at the Movies,” will feature live performances of compositions popularized in movies, including from “La Traviata,” which was featured in “Pretty Woman,” and “Tosca,” shown in “Quantum of Solace.”
Neil Nelson, a bass baritone who has appeared in previous Palm Beach Opera productions, will perform three sets throughout the evening, which runs from 6 to 10 p.m. at Elizabeth Avenue Station, in West Palm Beach’s hip Warehouse District. The night will also include opera trivia, complete with prizes, children’s activities, a food truck and beverages both alcoholic and non-, all for $10 for adults and $5 for students.
According to Natalie Parker, Palm Beach Opera’s individual and planned giving manager, the idea for Summer Opera Nights sprang from a pair of loyal patrons/underwriters, former snowbirds now living full-time in West Palm Beach. “They wanted us to have an opportunity to do some audience development,” Parker says. “They thought it would be great to have a fun, casual, non-intimidating event that would showcase some opera and teach the community about Palm Beach Opera.”
To that end, on Aug. 24, Summer Opera Nights’ theme will be Behind the Scenes at the Opera, exploring the costuming and design elements that bring operatic masterpieces to life onstage. The final program, on Sept. 28, is titled “Cocktails and Cuisine at the Opera.” “A lot of operas focus on drinking and eating, so we’ll pull that all in and share some of the songs and have a little bit more food and beverage options at that event,” Parker says.
Nelson will perform at all three events. “He is very charismatic and an excellent singer and a phenomenal performer,” Parker adds. “What he’ll bring is a really high-energy performance. We do have performances scheduled throughout the evening, but he has been known to do a pop-up song, if he’s among a great group of people who are really excited about him and about the opera. Sometimes he’ll just burst into song.”
Meanwhile, the resident artisans and entrepreneurs of Elizabeth Avenue Station will stay open for the night—so it’s a great time to pick up some one-of-a-kind home goods and attire along with some culture.
Elizabeth Avenue Station is at 1500-C Elizabeth Ave., West Palm Beach, and the first event runs from 6 to 10 p.m. July 27. For more on Summer Opera Nights, call the Palm Beach Opera box office at 561/833-7888 or visit pbopera.org. While you’re there, pick up a season pass or two: Palm Beach Opera’s 2018-2019 season at the Kravis features “La Traviata,” “Don Giovanni” and “Die Fledermaus.”