Opera for the People
The Power of Many
During the summer of 2006, a small group of graduate students headed by Laura Virella and Miriam Browning-Nance, having found themselves without the economic possibilities to accept young artist engagements across the Atlantic, decided to bring the shows here rather than follow them there. The task seemed almost laughable at the time, but coópera opened that season, two months after its conception, with a fully orchestrated concert run of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and a full production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro.
From the beginning, coópera established itself as one of the best hidden jewels in the New York City operatic scene. Running on an incredibly low budget but packed with the desire to create and the ambition to persist, it found exceptional young artists and brought them together to create a full orchestra, full production team and full cast for every single production. Constant in its goal to bring opera to the people, coópera presented Mozart's Die Zauberflöte in the heart of El Barrio, showing traditional opera in that area for the first time in history. It then found a home at The Players and presented Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges, Mascagni's Zanetto, and an array of recitals and cabaret performances.
coópera stood apart from all other companies of comparable size for three main reasons: it was run by and comprised of professional young performers who were in it to make it, and were trained to be great; it was true to the operatic art form as a combination of theatre and orchestrated music, telling a story, not just sing it, always alongside the rich sound of an orchestra; and it was a company dedicated to returning full operatic productions to the masses, making them accessible, entertaining, engaging and affordable, without losing any of opera's innate elements.
After a hiatus prompted by the successful professional development of its original group of artists, a new and relevant mission has evolved: to re-purpose our cooperative nature through our current professional ranking, donating our craft to aid in the humanitarian and social efforts needed in the world around us. coópera now brings operatic artists and communities together, providing music that can heal and raising funds to tend to the causes that these communities and artists hold closest to their hearts, working at a small-scale level, wherever we can, whenever we can and however we can, as we would do as individuals to prepare our own homes or assist our own families. Helping one person at a time through the power of many.
Our latest project has provided emergency solar generators for electro-dependent families in the town of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, where people have been without power for almost six months after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Support our efforts through Fractured Atlas.