Opera on the Rocks
Composer: David Ogborn
Librettists: Leanna Brodie, Dave Carley, Lisa Codrington, Krista Dalby
This site-specific opera at the venerable Paupers Pub was a sold-out critical hit of the Toronto Fringe Festival. The concept is simple: the audience filter into a real bar, take their seats, order their drinks and snacks, and suddenly find themselves in the midst of the action – and of the music. Opera on the Rocks tells a collection of raucous Saturday night tales: star-crossed passions, hockey loyalties, karaoke dreams... and the epic closing-time quest for one more beer. Combining live electronics with guitar, Ogborn's innovative score is performed by an orchestra of one... who also becomes part of the story.
"The simple but elegant composition by Ogborn and the hilarious words by Brodie et al., brought to life by the talented performances by Aronoff, Bickersteth, Klassen, and Lloyd... all this over two pints of Guinness has reaffirmed my belief that opera is still very much alive!"
– Mondo Magazine
"Clever writing by librettists Leanna Brodie, Dave Carley, Lisa Codrington and Krista Dalby kept the action moving, set to live music by composer David Ogborn that included a guitar played with, among other implements, a set of kitchen knives."
– NOW Magazine
Keith Klassen as Randy, surrounded by the audience in Paupers Pub.
Composer David Ogborn
The librettists. L-R: Dave Carley, Lisa Codrington, Krista Dalby, Leanna Brodie.
Opera on the Rocks was produced at the Toronto Fringe Festival by the Ambient Opera Society. The director was Liza Balkan, and the singers were Neil Aronoff, Neema Bickersteth, Keith Klassen, and Jessica Lloyd. An earlier, workshop run at Paupers Pub featured Alex Dobson and Carla Huhtanen. Music was played live by the composer, David Ogborn.