Meeting point for opera lovers

Meeting point for opera lovers

Hobby Club

Meeting point for opera lovers

A group of opera lovers have formed a club in Bangalore and providing an opportunity to both newbies and afficionados to enjoy a wide range of operas that they regularly screen in a relaxed and accessible way.

Started by Alan Nazareth, a retired diplomat, the club has around 40 members who meet at convenient locations in the City to revel in the costume, culture and sound of opera — a theatrical form dating back to 16th century Italy. While group members readily admit it is an acquired taste, they also say it is highly addictive.

“My addiction for opera was acquired during my Indian Foreign Service years in London and New York, when my wife and I were often invited by Zubin Mehta to the operas he conducted.

On my retirement, I decided to utilise my extensive collection of opera DVDs to spread my addiction to fellow Bangaloreans,” says Alan.  He first touched base with Aruna Sunderlal, a trained operatic singer and the Bangalore School of Music members. He then invited a few opera lovers he had discovered into his home. The first opera screened was Puccini's Tosca, which was an instant success.

Thereafter, he presented an ‘Introduction to opera’ evening for International Music and Arts Society members at Smriti Nandan Cultural Centre. He  screened excerpts from Verdi's Rigoletto and Othello and Saints Saens Samson & Dalila.

He made the point that opera is a theatre as well a vocal and musical spectacle. The point was well taken and the opera club was formed. Operas subsequently screened were Turandot at Time and Space Gallery and Gounod's Romeo & Juliet at Smriti Nandan.

Pronab Dasgupta, director, Bangalore International Centre agreed to present Puccini's Madame Butterfly drawing an unprecedented audience including music lovers, students and members of the Japanese community. “In June this year, we screened Samson & Dalilah at Alliance Francaise, as the opening event of Fete de La France and I was invited to introduce it. It was the crowning success of many years of my effort to promote opera in Bangalore. My greater joy, however, is that the cradle in which the Bangalore Opera Club' was born was the sitting room of my modest apartment on Ware Road in Fraser Town!” he smiles, adding, “our goal is to form a sociable, down-to-earth group that values great art without snobbery or elitism. Join us and experience the riches of music as theatre, learn, share and enjoy.”