Festival Opera en la Calle 2015: 5 Reasons It Was Fantastic!!
This year I was asked to sing as a representative of San Diego Opera at “Opera en la Calle”, La Opera de Tijuana’s annual street festival. It was an honor and I was excited to participate in the festival for my 3rd time. Every year I come back I fall in love with the festival more and more… here are 5 reasons this year was exceptional!
1) The SINGING: Wow! The singing this year was damn good. I heard everything from Puccini, to Mozart, to Verdi, to Wagner, to Massenet… you get the idea, the list goes on and on. All of the repertoire was well sung, by singers mostly from Tijuana and Ensenada. I was impressed- I felt fortunate to be folded into such a talented group.
(The polished singers of “Opera Ambulante” singing as the sun sets, Opera en la Calle 2015.)
2) The AUDIENCE: The die hard opera loving audience of this festival should really get their own standing ovation this year. Not only didHurricane Dolores drop a ton of rain, lightening and thunder on the region that day… but the heat and humidity swelled as soon as she was done. By 4pm the skies cleared, and the temperature started to soar. At 6:30pm when I arrived, the thermometer in my car read 85 degrees… not to mention the humidity. As the sun set it was still warm- and despite all that,12,000 people attended this year’s event. Incredible, bravi tutti!!
(Click here for a guided video tour through the crowd at the festival while
Opera Ambulante performed.)
3) “¡Cerveza! ¡Juguetes!”… Street Vendors: After I finished up singing, I went to join my family and friends in the audience. What a fantastic scene! I grabbed a camping chair, sat and enjoyed the night sky. It was still warm and just as I thought, “hmmm, a beer would be great right now”- boom! I heard the cry, “¡Cerveza!” over the dulcet tones of Madama Butterfly’s Humming Chorus. YES please. The contradiction made my heart go pitter-patter, this art form doesn’t have to be relegated to fancy concert halls to be enjoyed. I can be sitting out enjoying the gorgeous summer evening with a cold beer listening to opera- and the experience is still “grand”. If I had wanted a light stick that twirled to show my enthusiasm for the performers on stage I could have purchased one of those too…
(Just imagine a cold Tecate while listening to the San Diego and Tijuana divas of “Voce di Donne” battling it out on stage!)
4) The FOOD: As #thesingingchefsd I have a certain amount of responsibility to explore the food options at any given event. I can report back with all certainty that tacos and flautas go really well with opera. As do churros, ceviche and cheese plates. All of these items were available at Opera en la Calle, and after singing through Amelia’s “Ecco l’orrido campo”aria from Un ballo in maschera I had worked up quite the appetite. I had a “when in Rome” moment and ordered the flautas. Delicious. Fried to perfection with crispy lettuce, crema and a tasty spicy salsa on top.
5) The Camaraderie Amongst the Musicians and Crew: If it takes a village to raise a child, what about a music festival? The answer is a village and then some! This is a huge operation, and requires vast amounts of coordination. The spirit of “let’s figure it out and press on” is strong. Rain? No problem. Thunder and lightning? Nope, not canceling the event. This meant long delays and lots of re-shuffling for all the musicians involved. Were there any temper tantrums or outbursts back stage? None that I experienced. Instead there was a mix of organized chaos and high spirits. The roars of applause and enthusiasm from the audience were what made all the heat, stress and hard work well worth it.
(Backstage shenanigans at Festival Opera en la Calle 2015.)
Keep reading and listening,
Anishka (aka Nishi la Tremenda)