Friday, 10 April 2015

Grindr: The Opera

In the Playbill for Nico Muhly and Craig Lucas’s 2013 Metropolitan Opera production of Two Boys, Muhly explained why internet chatrooms worked for them as an operatic concept. “We don’t live in a place where there are masked balls any more. So I thought the internet – where you can really pretend to be another person – would actually be quite a traditional frame for an opera.”

That idea, of online dating as a masquerade ball for the modern age, has not gone unnoticed by others. A new rehearsed reading in New York this week moves their focus off the computer monitor and tackles the world of phone apps. After all, what’s more fitting for the world of illusion than Grindr: an app with a mask for a logo? Grindr the Opera may not be playing at Lincoln Center yet, but the team behind this new show believe this is more than just a gimmick: it’s an idea with legs, and a topic worth parsing.

It started when composer and librettist Erik Ransom sent a script to friend and director Rachel Klein: she loved it, and he said that was good, because Ransom wanted her to direct it. They then staged a concert of the project in London, bringing in Ransom’s previous collaborator Charles Czarnecki as arranger and eventual musical director. The show began as a project looking at Manhunt.net, an online predecessor to apps like Grindr.

“I went on to see what it was about, and I saw some of the profiles, some of which were very bleak and desperate. And I just thought, “there’s something very operatic about this,” said Ransom.

The show evolved when Ransom saw the change in gay culture around him. “It was just a few years ago I was cruising bars, but people are now on their phones at the bar, so they can see if you’re on Grindr and message you on there. The rejection is softer than if people just turn their head away.” ...


The Guardian.

Or, if you fancy a laugh, there's 9/11 The Opera.

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