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April 16, 2007

Brooklyn Bar Serves Opera On Tap

Weekend All Things Considered
By Robert Smith

Freddy's Bar & Backroom, slated to be seized by NY State and demolished by Forest City Ratner, has been a counter-cultural hotspot since its days as a speakeasy.

Freddy's is also the birthplace of Opera on Tap, which returns the artform to its more proletarian roots, with performances in the intimate surroundings of a dive bar:

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Just off Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, a dive bar has become the local watering hole for murderers and tyrants, adulters and virgins, Don Juans and divas. In fact, all of the great characters of grand opera have found a second home in the backroom of Freddy's Bar, where the company Opera on Tap serves up a monthly recital for the kind of audiences that might get kicked out of the Met.

"The stigma of opera is that it's pretentious and inaccessible," Opera on Tap's founder, Anne Ricci, says. "We give people the ability to hear a variety of the classic repertoire in a place where they are comfortable."

And if that means the dim, beer-stained space next to the bathroom in Freddy's Bar, so be it. T-shirts? No problem. Drinking? Encouraged.
...
After two hours of opera and drinking though, the whole night take on an epic quality of its own. The story of young singers struggling to get noticed in a cruel artistic world. Even the bar itself is a tragic figure: Freddy's is slated for demolition under a plan to build a new basketball arena on the site.

Operas don't always have a happy ending. But as long as there is beer and a stage somewhere, the members of Opera on Tap say they'll find another place to sing.

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NoLandGrab: Freddy's manager Donald O'Finn is a party to the federal eminent domain lawsuit.

The next performance of Opera on Tap at Freddy's is Thursday, May 10.

Posted by lumi at April 16, 2007 9:16 AM