Opera truck to visit XU

By: Max Bruns ~Advertising Manager~

Cincinnati Opera, the 97-year old opera company, recently created a new and accessible way to experience opera: an 18-wheeler truck called The Opera Express. From noon until 3 p.m. on April 10, The Opera Express is rolling into Xavier.

“We’re trying to revive interest in opera at Xavier,” said Thom Dreeze, faculty for Xavier music who teaches the Xavier Opera Workshop with his colleague, Matthew Umphreys.

The Opera Express will be parked on the road leading up to Bellarmine Chapel as close to the Gallagher Student Center as possible. It will consist of four 15 -minute performances spanning three hours, with breaks in between for the performers to rest and set new scenes.

Dreeze has taken up the Opera Workshop class and is helping to coordinate the arrival of The Opera Express with Opera Outbound Manager for the Cincinnati Opera company, Kemper Florin.

“We thought it would be a really fun innovative way to tackle the challenges of opera for the audience,” Florin said.

Florin credited Chris Milligan, who is the managing director for Cincinnati Opera Company, with the idea.

“One major challenge of opera is accessibility,” Florin said. “If you say, ‘I can’t go to it,’ well now it comes to you. Another might be that you can’t afford opera. Well, The Opera Express is free. This is Chris’ brainchild.”

She adds that The Opera Express is an easy way for students with busy schedules to squeeze the opera experience into their day.

“We’ve created a 15-minute program that gives a behind the scenes look at how opera is made, with three singers to take you on the journey of opera,” Florin said. “We give people the opportunity to explore opera without some of the challenges that opera presents such as cost or accessibility or length of time.”

Xavier is not the first place that The Opera Express has performed. In December of 2015, it stopped at Whole Foods in Rookwood Commons and got an audience of more than 150 in two nights. This will be, however, the first time it comes to a university. “We are so excited to try it out on a college campus,” Florin said.

“We hope the students will be walking along through their day and go, ‘Oh, I get to see an opera too!”

In addition to watching The Opera Express on April 10 between noon and 3, students should look for an announcement concerning Thom Dreeze and Matthew Umphrey’s opera workshop class.