What happens when you mix electronica, beer and opera? I found out last night when I attended the opening night of the Opera di Peroni, the Italian beer brand’s latest cultural project.
Taking place inside a specially constructed festival-style marquee off the Euston Road in London, the event hopes to put a modern spin on the al fresco tradition of Italian opera. Production company GO OPERA teamed up with Director James Hurley and chose two songs from classic operas La Boheme and La Traviata as the starting point for their urban tale. They also roped in Warp Records’ electronic producer Kwes to reimagine an aria from Puccini’s La Rondine for the third and final scene.
Having never been to a regular opera, let alone a modern interpretation of the genre, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Opera di Peroni, but it was actually a great night out. Adding an experiential element to proceedings, the cast mingled with the audience as we stood around the central circular bar that divvied out endless bottles of, you guessed it, Peroni beer. Platters of tasty Italian canapes kept on appearing too, then all of a sudden the singers sprang into action as the venue became the stage. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away but it’s a tale of infatuation, jealousy and lost love – with plenty of beer-swigging thrown in. Don’t worry if your Italian doesn’t stretch further than ‘una birra per favore‘ either because English subtitles are projected onto the ceiling of the tent, against the backdrop of a starlit sky.
Want to experience Opera di Peroni yourself? Londoners you’ll have to be quick because there are only tickets left for Saturday 7th July. After that the production goes on tour to Birmingtham (11 – 12th July), Manchester (18-19th July), Liverpool (15-16th August) and Glasgow (22-23rd August). Tickets are available via the Opera di Peroni Facebook page.