Progressive hard-rock musicians borrow liberally from opera, incorporating vibrato vocals and symphonic strings into dramatic multi-part suites. Impressive as such efforts can be, they dont inspire much consumer crossover experimentation. Classical purists might be too intimidated by, say, Cradle of Filths volume and demonic trappings to appreciate its arias, while metalheads might be unsure where to start within the unfamiliar opera genre. The East Village Opera Company appeals to both camps by covering works from Mozarts Le Nozze di Figaro and Bizets Carmen, providing an authoritative introduction for the opera-curious and adrenaline-pumped fare for connoisseurs.
Composed of a five-piece rock band, a string quartet and two classically trained singers, EVOC injects electric guitars, atmospheric keyboards and arena-strength percussion into centuries-old compositions. On the ensembles self-titled 2005 debut, romantic serenades become power ballads, moody laments metamorphose into soft-industrial dance numbers, and a Mozart overture mashes with the Whos Wont Get Fooled Again. Tonight at 8, expect equal parts bravo calls and lofted lighters when EVOC plays the Lyric Theatre (1029 Central, 816-471-7344). Tickets are $25.
For opera enthusiasts looking for a more traditional alternative, this weekend offers an intriguing double bill. The Civic Opera presents the world premiere of local composer John Mueters The Everlasting Universe, followed by Gian Carlo Menottis opera noir The Medium. Mueters work follows writers Lord Byron (described by lover Lady Caroline Lamb as mad, bad and dangerous to know) and Percy Shelley in 1816 Switzerland. Menotti, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, died on February 1, 2007, and the Civic Opera is staging this dark, descent-into-madness tale as a tribute. Universe/Medium debuts tonight at 8 at the Folly Theater (300 West 12th Street, 816-474-4444), with an encore performance at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $12 to $16.
East Village Opera CompanyLyric TheatreCivic Opera