What’s next for opera? The question was blowing in the wind long before the pandemic, but pressure-cooker self-help in lockdown has expanded the creative menu quite a bit. Who’s to say which options are here to stay now that we’re bursting our Covid bubbles to zoom (not Zoom) into actual theaters (remember theaters?)? One thing’s for sure. The C-change, however it plays out, is here to stay.
On Site Opera, dedicated to “the immersive and site-specific experience,” closes out a year of some of the more radical pandemic experiments with The Road We Came: Three Musical Walking Tours Exploring African Americans and Black Music History in New York City. The app-based itineraries take in Lower Manhattan (including the African Burial Ground National Monument), Midtown (from Hell’s Kitchen to the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall), and Harlem (cradle of that creative explosion known as a renaissance). Pop in your earbuds and let the map guide you from landmark to landmark for nutshell commentaries and interludes of song. The playlist, perhaps two dozen songs in all, ranges from art songs and spirituals to show tunes and pop.