Pensacola Opera, Seville Quarter host evening of ‘casual opera’ By Payne Ray Staff writer The Pensacola Opera Chorus performed at Seville Quarter Thursday night in the fourth installment of “Opera on Tap.” Seville Quarter provided the venue for what Buck Mitchell, an event planner for Seville Quarter, described as a casual event where patrons could enjoy a relaxed atmosphere while engaging with an artform most would think of as inaccessible.

source url “The opera came to me a few years ago and came up with this idea for a little casual setting, and listening to some operas, a little like ‘Mozart and Margaritas,’” Mitchell said. The casual theme was true to the setting, as performers stepped down from the stage and found their places in in the center of the room, singing from among the patrons.

go The Opera also brought with it four featured artists from its Artists in Residence program, all of whom will be starring in their next production, “Man of La Mancha.”

This year’s event poster, courtesy of the Pensacola Opera.

The night’s performance showcased these artists’ talents to the public as they switched between songs from the upcoming show and the crowd-pleasers for which the event is known.

The “Opera on Tap” performance serves the Pensacola Opera as a way of generating interest in its upcoming shows as well as giving the performers an opportunity to interact with the wider community.

The Opera has put on a performance of “Opera on Tap” for each major production it hosted for the past few years, and migrated to Thursday nights from Sunday nights last year.

Mercedes Simpson, the Director of Special Events for the Pensacola Opera, expressed a positive outlook for the change.

Simpson speculated that Thursday night brought in much larger crowds, especially as part of Seville Quarter’s weekly College Night.

“No matter what room you walk into you’re going to bypass it,” Simpson said.

She also mentioned that the event’s popularity was assisted by a background knowledge of opera that most people don’t know they have.

“A lot of arias, people don’t realize they’re operas, and they’re, like, ‘I know that,’” Simpson said.

The songs performed that night, mostly arias and some crowd favorites, included works from popular musicals like “Rent” and “Oklahoma!” as well as the upcoming opera, “Man of La Mancha,” which the Pensacola Opera plans to perform in March.

Opera performers George Phillips and Ashly Faircloth said it was their first “Opera on Tap.”

“It’s been fun, and it’s been a good experience,” Faircloth said.

The Pensacola Opera Chorus took the stage to sing to a packed room at Seville Quarter. (Photo by Payne Ray)

Similar community events are not rare for the Pensacola Opera, which hosts many smaller pop-up events at restaurants and other public space all over Pensacola.

The Opera also hosts other events throughout the year with goals of fundraising and recruitment.

These would include their “Jukebox Gala” events or their upcoming “Tapas and Tastings” at V. Paul’s.

Some events, like the “Opera on Tap” and the smaller pop-up operas, are free to the public, but others are ticketed events at a wide range of prices.

The Pensacola Opera’s next event will be “Tapas and Tastings” on Feb. 28 and its next major production is “Man of La Mancha, which opens on Mar. 16.