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Drink And Be Merry – Diva Search Hit The High Notes

Drink And Be Merry – Diva Search Hit The High Notes

by Karen Tortora-Lee on December 7, 2010 · 0 comments

in Event, Music

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*All photos in this article courtesy of Stevyn Llewellyn.

What do you get when you mix up a bunch of people who can sing karaoke better than the average bar crowd, background tracks that runs the gamut from Bizet’s Carmen to Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, with a smattering of Rogers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin and Handel thrown in, and a gorgeous gal who strips down to her pasties?  Not to mention – well, actually – do you need more than that?

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This was the atmosphere last week at Royal Oak when I went to see what Morningside Opera‘s First Annual Opera Karaoke Party and Diva Search would unearth.  And let me just state for the record – it’s nights like last Thursday that make me 100% positive that I will NEVER leave New York City because if you think there are other places in this world where polished opera singers are sitting around, tossing back cocktails in between rousing choruses of Edelweiss before then cheering on a burlesque dancer – think again.  Of course, if this is not your scene, then you’re welcome to stay in Random Boring Town, Iowa and spend your evenings baking cookies with the kids before getting in your jammies at 7:00pm and settling in to watch PG rated “comedies” starring Ben Someone.  Just means more stripteases for me.

But I’ll be honest, while charming Medianoche was everything a burlesque dancer should be – alluring, inviting, smoldering and tempting, it was the actual opera karaoke that thrilled me the most. For the first time ever this beautiful music that I’ve loved since I was a child was taken down from the austere setting of the Metropolitan Opera House and placed snugly in a corner bar in Brooklyn where it became approachable, intimate, and much more enjoyable than promised.  To see people in their street clothes take one last swig of beer, rise from a corner booth and then allow their voice to effortlessly trill, leap and divinely swell through passages of amazing beauty was not only fabulous but kinda fish-outta-water fun.

While I definitely had my favorites among the performers everyone really held their own, and when an impromptu group singalong was suggested I felt like I was back in the Duplex.  With opera singers!  I hadn’t been this well backed up (read – drowned out) since attending The annual Messiah Sing-In (in which the audience is the chorus for Handel’s Messiah) at Avery Fisher Hall.

There may (and should) be more of these – so check back to hear when you can catch the next one.  Because if I have anything to say about it- in a few months, all of New York will be doing this wherever there’s a microphone, a karaoke track, and the scrolling words to Nessun Dorma.   And just in case you’d like to get a jump start . . .

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