Urban Arias Brings 'Blind Dates' To Iota, Beer To Opera

Opera Based On Craigslist Personals Ads

We spend a lot of time perusing event calendars. Finding the five best events on a daily basis means that we check about 20 venue websites each day. When the Urban Arias event entitled "Blind Dates" showed up on the IOTA site, our interest was piqued.

We hadn't contemplated improv opera before.

For two years now, Urban Arias has been bringing its shows to non-traditional venues like Artisphere. The company, which stages productions that have been written in the last 40 years, is reaching out to a newer, younger generation of art appreciators.

"We want people to be able to have a beer with their opera. We want to demonstrate that opera is for the people," Robert Wood, Urban Arias' founder, executive and artistic director, told The Huffington Post. "If we take away barriers of length and language, more people will come to the opera."

Though the events aren't staged in grand theaters, the performances aren't low rent. Singers that have performed at the Baltimore Lyric Opera, the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall will participate in Sunday's show.

The company usually produces 60-to-90-minute operas. "Blind Dates" will feature four shorter operas ranging from six to 12 minutes. The name of the show comes from the theme of the evening: blind dates. One original work, "Craigslistlieder," is comprised of eight Craigslist ads.

Between the scripted works, audience members will suggest premises and -- similar to "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" -- the classically trained singers will do something most classically trained singers aren't trained to do: improvise.

Will it work? As with all blind dates, you'll have to go and see.

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