The soaring voice of Lauren Edwards, the Pacific Opera Project's Resina in their upcoming production of The Barber of Seville, could be heard emanating from the Highland Park Ebell Club on Monday afternoon.
It was only Edwards and company's first day of rehearsal for a production that opens in less than a week.
"I had a little more than a month to prepare before rehearsal to make sure I'm as ready as I can be," Edwards said as she walked across the Ebell Club's stage. "It's exhilarating."
That exhilaration is the key to every Pacific Opera Project performance, which strives to bring audiences an affordable and organic opera experience.
POP was formed by Highland Park resident Josh Shaw and musical director Stephen Karr, who told Patch in October that their mission was to provide both performers and audiences an alternative to L.A.'s big-budget opera circuit.
"People talk about music being able to express things that you can't with the spoken word. So, we're just trying to integrate it all and rather than having just a great musical product or a great theatrical product, we're trying to integrate and make sure it is an honest expression of emotion," Shaw told Patch in Ocotober while preparing for a production of La Boheme at the Highland Park Ebell Club. "Whatever the emotion is--whether its rage like in Sweeney Todd, or heartbreak--the guiding principal for us as theatrical artists is to make people feel stuff."
Like La Boheme, Shaw and Karr have adapted The Barber of Seville as a Los Angeles story, with characters living in modern Hollywood. Also like La Boheme, Shaw and Karr are pulling together the entire production in an extremely truncated period of time.
"We have a couple of out-of-town performers, so we try to swing it as quickly as possible for their sake, because they are away from home," Shaw said. "We just try to be prepared. Our Figaro has done this part in several different productions."
Shaw said POP's production of The Barber of Seville will bring pure comedy and lots of volume to the cozy confines of the Ebell Club.
"It's really great to sing in here," Shaw said. "When all 11 members of the production are singing at the end of the second act, it's going to get loud."
The Pacific Opera Project will present The Barber of Seville at the Highland Park Ebell Club on the following dates:
- Saturday, March 9 – 8:00 pm
- Sunday, March 10 – 7:00 pm
- Friday, March 15 – 8:00 pm
- Saturday, March 16 – 8:00 pm
- Sunday, March 17 – 7:00 pm
Tickets are $20 for general admission, $60 for a table of two and $100 for a table of four.
Update: The original version of this story reported that POP presented Sweeney Todd at the Ebell Club in November. They actually performed La Boheme. Sweeney Todd was performed at the Porticoes Theatre in Pasadena in October.