Imagine sitting dead center before a stage of opera singers as they are in their highest moment. You feel the chill of the auditorium go down your spine and become enveloped by the orchestra. You are taken aback by the crippling look on the main character’s face as they fall sick before you as silence and darkness fall after a curtain call.
Now imagine that at a supermarket.
Con Vivo and Art House Productions have partnered together to bring an amazing-all-day-free-music event to Jersey City and everyone is invited!
On September 19th starting at 11:00AM, Perfect Lives will be performed in seven 30-minute episodes at seven Jersey City venues throughout one day. Each episode will be accompanied by a recap at the following venue and all spectators will be encouraged to visit the All About Downtown Street Fair.
According to a press release from Con Vivo, Perfect Lives was “Originally released in the 1980s as episodes of a music-based BBC television show, Perfect Lives is Robert Ashley’s quirky, energetic, and philosophical modern opera, adapted anew by Varispeed and narrated by the band and guest musicians. Its seven episodes weave the intersecting stories of people in the American Midwest, centered around a mysterious crime, an elopement, and the mischief of two itinerant musicians.”
During a phone interview with Saxophonist, six year Jersey City Resident, and Artistic Director of Con Vivo, Zach Herchen explained the excitement leading up to the big event. “I like the idea of having a bigger project for Con Vivo. This is our first big event and we want to expand our audience and think bigger.”
When asked about what role he would be taking part in Perfect Lives the horn plays clear, “I am the producer for Perfect Lives and I will also be setting up the mics and other equipment. I will be performing on my saxophone during the supermarket episode.”
Unlike previous presentations of Perfect Lives, Perfect Lives in Jersey City will be drastically different. Con Vivo and Varispeed have joined together to really make this an opera that people will be talking about until another is made in a similar fashion. Varispeed has chosen to customize the music during each episode to give the audience a bit more excitement when they step foot into the next venue.
What truly sets Perfect Lives in Jersey City apart from the many performances prior are the number of contributors that will be present for Saturday’s daylong event. Joining together is a very versatile group of skilled musicians who will be performing three and a half hours of music.
Herchen explained that in an actual operatic setting e.g. The MET would stage over 100 people and have a full orchestra stationed below them. The comparison is drastic, Perfect Live in Jersey City will host a set of seven or eight vocalists and six musicians to help make the performance more engaging on a personal level.
“I like it. Having to know that we will travel between episodes and engaging with people on a personal level is exciting. We will invite our audience to travel with us from place to place,” he said.
The event has helped Herchen learn a lot about covering new things that were out of his comfort zone. He explained that he eventually wants Con Vivo to have an annual event on a grand scale with a conductorless orchestra.
Perfect Lives in Jersey City will surely knock your socks off and with a traveling orchestra you’ll be sure to engage with the quirky, eclectic string quartet that might just be in the adjoining isle of your local Key Food.
For details on the event click here.
Check out some awesome rehearsal!