On Wednesday night, fifty music lovers packed the cabaret of Dupont Circle’s Black Fox Lounge for DC’s first ever Opera on Tap. The buzz around the event created a sellout-standing-room-only situation with the doors opening at 7pm. Featuring three sets of performances by five talented local opera singers: Melissa Chavez, Brody DelBeccaro, Elisa Jablow Ben Pattison, Kristina Riegle, and pianist Dana Scott, the inaugural Opera on Tap was a hit.
For the first hour, guests mingled over wine, beer, cocktails, and light bar fare from the lounge’s kitchen, then the entertainment began at 8pm, with a set of songs on the theme “Falling in Love.” This set mixed musical theater standards with powerhouse opera classics from Puccini, Mozart, and Verdi. The opera singers started off singing on the cabaret stage, but didn’t stay put for long. As soon as Kristina Riegle (also a co-founder of Opera on Tap) launched into Cole Porter’s “The Physician,” she found a handsome man in the audience and walked up to him singing, “Do you love me/ Or do you merely love your work?”
After a break for drinks and chatting, Eric Tipler, president of the Washington Bravo! Club, talked up the Washington National Opera’s exciting spring lineup: the new American opera Moby-Dick (February 22 – March 8), and the classics The Elixir of Love (March 20-29), and The Magic Flute (May 3 – 18).
The concert continued with two more sets: “Trouble in Love” and “Happily Ever After.” Throughout the evening, the talented singers moved fluently between opera, musical theater, and even a little bit of Gilbert and Sullivan (a duet from Pirates of Penzance).
Not satisfied with a one-way performance, they glided throughout the room and flirted with the audience, making for an unusually fun and interactive performance.
The evening concluded with a sing-a-long chorus from Verdi’s La Traviata – the singers passed out words and music to the crowd and everyone joined in. While some of the audience members had trouble singing at first (perhaps because they’d just heard such incredible solo singing), by the third time around everyone seemed to get the melody, and a loud chorus of voices filled the room. The concert ended just after 9:30, and guests remained drinking and chatting until late into the night.
Note: This was the first of many Opera on Tap events – Opera on Tap DC Metro plans to hold more concerts at bars and pubs in the DC Metro area this year. The event was co- presented by Opera on Tap DC Metro and the Washington National Opera Bravo! Club.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.