The Orange Team from 2015 performs. Photo: Jeff Rothman
Members of 2015’s Orange Team, winners of the Audience Choice Award, do their thing. Photo: Jeff Rothman


Up for a little bit of opera insanity? If so, this is your weekend.

24hour-logoThat’s when The Atlanta Opera holds its sixth annual 24-Hour Opera Project, in which semi-spontaneity rules and composers, lyricists, stage directors, accompanists and singers from Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and New York convene to turn a single idea into a complete mini-opera within 24 hours.

It works like this: At 9 a.m. Friday (April 1) five teams of composers and lyricists get 12 hours to write an opera, based on a theme they’ll learn for the first time then. Opera spokespeople are saying only that it will recognize the opera’s upcoming production of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet (May 7-15) and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. It will be a single, randomly drawn line from one of the Bard’s plays or poems.

Twelve hours later, the mini-operas go to stage directors, who have 12 hours to draft singers, rehearse and uncloak their operas at a showcase that’s often standing-room-only.

“It’s grueling,” says frequent participant Vynnie Meli, an Atlanta-based playwright, lyricist and librettist, who participated in the project with the award-winning team behind Krispy Kremes and Butter Queens, “but 24 hours later, you have an opera.”

Krispy Kremes and Butter Queens has gone on to productions in Cincinnati, Detroit, New Orleans and Hartford, Conn., and Meli has been on 24-Hour Opera teams that created Mother Nature, Sister Sludge; The Lifespan of a Fly; The Puddle of Youth; and Scrub a Dub Raw: The Cops Opera.

Two events this weekend are open to the public:

  • Friday’s kickoff event (9 a.m.) at the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, 1328 Peachtree St. N.E., near the Woodruff Arts Center. It’s free.
  • Saturday’s performance (7:30 p.m.) at SCADShow (formerly the 14th Street Playhouse), 173 14th St. N.E. (at Juniper Street). Tickets are $10 HERE or at 404.881.8885.

A panel of judges chooses the winner, and the audience will vote on an Audience Choice Award winner.

At intermission ImprOper, an Atlanta group that marries improv comedy with opera, will perform. The group comprises members from The Atlanta Opera and Dad’s Garage Theatre Company.