Alexandra Palace to host world’s first drive-in opera performances

Series of accessible opera works will begin in September 2020, and will play to audiences of 300 vehicles

Louis Chilton
Friday 24 April 2020 10:01
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Chilean woman applauded by neighbours after breaking cerfew to sing opera song

English National Opera (ENO) has announced plans to stage a series of drive-in opera performances at Alexandra Palace, in what is thought to be a world first.

This September, the north London venue will host accessible, shortened productions of works including Puccini’s La bohème​ and Mozart‘s The Magic Flute.

The audience will be able to watch the live performances from their cars, while the musicians and singers are safely spaced out on stage to comply with social distancing measures.

Stuart Murphy, the chief executive of ENO, told The Guardian that it is “a bit of an experiment and if it works it might be a way of bringing the artform to people in a totally different and authentic way​”.

“I miss seeing my brother and sister, seeing my mates close up, and I miss seeing something live. It is human nature to yearn for that. Hopefully we can offer that universal, collective experience in a safe environment.”

Roughly 300 cars can attend the events, with larger vehicles positioned at the back. Audience members on motorbikes and pedal cycles will also be allowed.

“Instead of clapping or shouting ‘bravo’, it might be that people flash their lights or honk their horn. As long as it’s authentic, we’re not going to force it,” Murphy said.

If the events are a success, ENO will try to replicate them across the UK.

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