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Stateside Podcast: Detroit Opera is not what you'd expect

From commercials to cartoons, there are a few stereotypical images often used to represent "the opera". There's the big lady with the horned Viking hat. How about the Soprano breaking a crystal glass with her powerful high note. Then there's the sad clown Pagliacci, frowning in his pointy hat.

Detroit Opera's Yuval Sharon is changing minds and preconceived ideas about what opera is and can be. And that goes for opera aficionados to those who are new to the theater.

Nearly two and a half years into his tenure as Detroit Opera's artistic director, Sharon has pulled off astonishing feats of performance again and again. Today's episode features the first part of our conversation with him.

Sharon made his Detroit debut with Twilight: Gods, a drive-through performance staged in the opera's parking garage during the height of COVID spread. Each scene of the show took place on a different level of the garage while audience members listened through their cars' FM radios. Since then, Sharon has led the production of Bliss, a 12-hour walk-through performance in the decaying Michigan Building Theater, and a reverse-chronology version of La bohème, to begin with death and end with love. His most recent production, The Valkyries, featured 3D computer graphics from video game design software, a 20-foot immersive green screen, robotic cameras, and a live film that coalesced with the performance.

Join us on Stateside as we talk about putting on performances in a pandemic, coordinating shows in decomposing buildings and virtual reality, and crafting opera specially for Detroit.


  • Yuval Sharon, artistic director at Detroit Opera

Looking for more conversations from Stateside? Right this way.

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Music in this episode byBlue Dot Sessions.

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