Bottles roll down the aisles in brave New York opera venue

Bottles roll down the aisles in brave New York opera venue


norman lebrecht

March 21, 2016

From our Manhattan operavores, Elizabeth Frayer & Shawn E Milnes:

Loft Opera knows their hip audience—they’ve partnered with Brooklyn Brewery for beer and also had Archer Roose wine—serving boxed wine and beer to operagoers.  While the bottles and cups later proved a slight distraction—yet maybe added to the vibe (I’m still deciding)—when tipping over and clanging on the cement floor during the opera, I think allowing drinks during the opera is a smart move…

opera graffiti

Might it work at the Met?

Read full review here.


  • RW2013 says:

    Not even curious enough to read which opera was performed, although that’s probably incidental.

    • John Borstlap says:

      But most opera IS about drinks: the party scene in La Traviata, the banquet scene in Don Giovanni, the potion in Tristan and Götterdämmerung, the pub scene in Wozzeck, the orgy in Moses und Aaron, and the desperate gulp by the prompter in Die Soldaten. Drinks in the auditorium may ease stage fright of the singers – audiences being distracted and their perception somewhat blurred – and they could join-in as well.

  • Eddie Mars says:

    The link to the ‘full review’ appears to be broken.

    Not that there is likely to be much to read. Still, those who don’t like opera in theatres will probably be happier to hear a few warhorse arias round the joanna in the boozer. So much more pleasant than seeing it staged.

    Opera Lite served with Bud Lite.

  • Brian Carter says:

    The kind of pretension in the previous comments is exactly why classical audiences are dwindling. I run a Classical Revolution chamber music series at a brewery. We consistently draw larger, more divers audiences than any of the mainstay “traditional” offerings in town. Young people are interested in the art form, but not in the pomp & circumstance typically associated with classical performances.

    Also, I know a few of the orchestra musicians who were involved in this particular opera performance (it was Tosca, by the way), and they all reported that it was a fantastic musical experience.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Any production type which respects the work and achieves audience interest, is not only to be ‘tolerated’ but to actively supported and applauded…. Opera is not about the wrapping paper but about content. The same goes for concert venues for classical music. If unusual venues attract audiences, so be it; inventive thinking will save classical music from its ignorant critics.

      • V.Lind says:

        But were you not lately arguing against some interpretations by artists regarding the ROH Lucia?

        So inventive venues — fine; interpretative staging that fails your moral censor, not.


        • John Borstlap says:

          My ‘censor’ is not morally instructed but musically and aesthetically and with some common sense…………. It’s about content and meaning, not superfluous unnecessary frills. No contradiction there.

  • MarieTherese says:

    The Harris Theater in Chicago allows drinks in its venue- in fact, vendors make the rounds selling splits of wine and champagne as well as bottled water before the shows begin and during intermission. The audience handles it well, and while the lines at the restrooms do seem to be longer, those are the bars in the lobby areas are much more manageable !

    • William Safford says:

      I’d never heard of Loft Opera until now. I may have to visit it one of these days.

      As for beverages, here’s another example: Francesca Zambello introduced special wine glasses for use in the theater at Glimmerglass Opera last summer. The audience seemed to like it. They’re plastic, so they should make less noise and shouldn’t break if knocked or tipped over. Their design makes them less likely to spill than a standard glass.

  • Naama Zahavi-Ely says:

    LoftOpera is not about drinks, it is about an excellent performance musically and dramatically in unusual settings.


    I’ve been producing and starring in “Carmen on Tap” (Bizet’s Carmen as dinner theatre) for years now with an all-star cast in Canada.