The Long Center has been home to many types of events in Austin. Many of you may have visited for a live music show, play or even stand-up comedy.
The largest auditorium at The Long Center, the Michael and Susan Dell Hall, also hosts performances by Austin Lyric Opera.
Earlier this month, Austin Lyric Opera put on Gaetano Donizetti’s romantic comedy, Elixir of Love. It’s a story about a simple peasant, Nemorino, who tries to win the affection of the beautiful Adina by drinking the “elixir of love.” In actuality, this elixir is a cheap wine Nemorino purchased from a fake, traveling doctor. This hilarious comedy starred Austin Lyric Opera’s Sara Gartland, Rene Barbera, and Kelly Markgraf.
The costumes and set pieces were pretty awesome. With superb stage lighting, you could tell precisely what time of day the story was taking place. The costumes themselves were beautiful and extremely detailed, as was the set, which resembled an old Italian village. Because Elixer of Love is a romantic comedy, it was a easier to artistically digest, given its lighthearted nature and lack of tragedy, compared to the stereotype of most opera.
For those unfamiliar with the organization, Austin Lyric Opera is Austin’s first professional opera company. They strive to bring operatic productions with the highest artistic standard to Austin, while making the art form intellectually and financially attainable to the most diverse types of audiences.
For those unfamiliar with (and perhaps intimidated by) opera, Austin Lyric Opera makes a point of creating a casual atmosphere. With no dress code enforced, you are welcome to wear your favorite pair of jeans, a sport coat, or go all out in your nicest suit. Personally, I get so few opportunities to dress up, that I jumped at the opportunity to wear one of my suits.
Elixir of Love, like most operas, is sung in its original language – in this case, Italian. “But, Robert, I don’t know Italian!” It’s cool, reader. Neither do I. Fortunately, the English subtitles for every lyric were projected above the stage. Programs were also handed to each patron as they walked in. They contained not only cast and crew information, but also a synopsis of each act. Subtitles and detailed programs are two more ways Austin Lyric Opera makes opera accessible to the masses.
Though Elixir of Love performances have ended, hopefully this insight inspires you to see the quality of an upcoming Austin Lyric Opera show. Whether you want to experience an older art form of storytelling or take a date out to a glamorous event, Austin Lyric Opera offers the perfect experience for a fun and fancy night out in downtown Austin.
For more information about Austin Lyric Opera, including upcoming shows and ticket sales, visit AustinLyricOpera.org.
Have you ever been to an opera performance in Austin?