by Steven Pisano
Opera Oggi NY is one of many community opera companies in NYC that perform in churches, basements, parks, and even living rooms. In lieu of placing an announcement in the Times, performance bills are posted on bulletin boards in laundromats and corner coffee shops, or duct-taped on streetlamps.
These pint-sized troupes serve as vital career springboards for newly-graduated vocal students, semi-professionals, and singers in town for auditions at better known companies. They also offer affordable opera performances to local neighborhoods, and sometimes perform non-standard operas that the bigger companies rarely, if at all, perform.
Last weekend, Opera Oggi presented a charming production of Englebert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel at the Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn. While this holiday favorite is hardly obscure - the Met production of this holiday classic is currently delighting audiences with its opulent scenery, magical costumes, and peerless orchestra - the opportunity to see this opera in an intimate setting was something special.