Mixed Precipitation takes opera, presents it in a community garden or other green outdoor space, and serves it along with some tasty food. If there was ever a way to make opera more popular with the masses, this is it.
Their latest show is a doo-wopified version of Mozart's opera "The Return of King Idomeneo" in which young love, sacrifice, and the God Neptune all have a role to play. It's also infused with 50s doo-wop and 60s girl-groups.
Reviewers find this summer's production sweet on the ear and the tongue...
Peter Hogan as Neptune and Jim Ahrens as King Idomeneo
PHOTO: Travis Chantar
The mixture of light and dark can be troublesome in a show if the right balance is not struck. Reynolds and the company of talented performers bring it off. It helps that ancient Greek characters wear their emotions close to the surface, whether they are lovesick, joyful, or heartbroken. That makes the story good fodder for opera, where emotions are often outsized, and ripe for a bit of parody.
Performed in community gardens around the Twin Cities (and as far away as Northfield) with its dynamic cast and donation-based ticketing system, Idomeneo is nothing if not accessible. What is so refreshing about Mixed Precipitation's theatrical philosophy is that it completely throws away everything that people find unpleasant about opera (the length, the expense, the stuffy atmosphere) and keeps all of the entertaining parts.
If you're an opera buff, you'll get a big kick out of it; if you know nothing about opera, you'll get a big kick out of it--a smattering of rolling subtitles will keep you on track. But it's not a spoof, you understand...This is like being in a musical, rather than watching it on a screen; you'll miss some things, but the experience will be memorable.The cast dashes from one end of the garden to the other, bearing set pieces and props, and dodging the onions, taking us from shipwreck to city, to the sewers and the seashore, all the while projecting over the neighborhood's ambient sounds and keeping us firmly attached to the story--loose though the story may be.
This is a production in which the performance is even more delicious than the food. So much affection and energy is thrown into both Mozart's music and the street-corner serenades of the Jive Five and the Magnificent 4 that the blend is as smooth as the cast's impressive harmonies.
You can find the times and locations of Mixed Precipitation's performances here.
Have you seen "The Return of King Idomeneo?" If so, what's your review?