Open Mic Night oozes talent

The Saturday night before break may have been bitterly cold and unpleasant, but Opera Viva, the University’s own student-run opera company, gave students a chance to warm themselves up with music, tea and cookies at a free open-mic event in Maury Hall.

Although the group’s focus is obviously opera music, they welcomed performers from every genre. General Director and President Emmett Crawford, a fourth-year College student, said that the group wanted the event to be all-inclusive, and for artistic details to be “left totally up to performers.”

“We didn’t want to limit the artists,” Crawford said.

The group was certainly successful in that goal. Song selections ranged from the beloved classic, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to Old Crow Medicine Show’s country hit, “Wagon Wheel.” Other performances included “Falling Slowly” from the film “Once” and “Ashokan Farewell,” a folksy waltz famously featured in the PBS series “The Civil War.” The evening ended with a strong rendition of a comedic number from the musical “Oklahoma,” truly encapsulating Opera Viva’s mission to “make opera accessible”.

Audience turnout was small, but it lent a personal, intimate aspect to the event. Performers were not shy about introducing their pieces casually and a natural rapport developed quickly between the musicians and the audience members. Though Maury Hall was not the group’s first choice of venue — like other performing arts groups, Opera Viva experienced difficulties reserving performance and rehearsal space this semester — it provided a large stage and tiered seating that ensured that the performance was enjoyable from anywhere in the room.

Opera Viva puts on approximately one show per semester. Past productions include “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Elixir of Love,” and this season, the organization will be producing “Mikado.”

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