Chelsie Pall, founder of GP Opera, stops for a photo outside of the Muskoseepi Park amphitheatre in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Thursday, May 2, 2024. GP opera is offering a double feature called Double the Opera later this month. (Photo by Jesse Boily)Jesse Boily

Chocolate cake, laughs and the opera is what you can expect from Grande Prairie Opera’s Double the Opera performances later this month. 

Double the Opera will have two short operas, Bon Apetit and The Telephone, on May 24 and 25 in Grande Prairie. 

“We’re doing something a little bit different,” said Chelsie Pall, founder of GP Opera and soprano singer. 

“I want to make opera more approachable so that when people go to the opera, they can see something that is fun and enjoyable, but also an art form that expresses human experiences that are common to all of us.”

Double the Opera’s performance will be about an hour long, rather than the usual two-hour operas that veterans of the art form may be used to.

Both are comedies that are sung in English.

Bon Appetit follows Julia Child, sung by Tina Alexander-Luna, as she bakes a chocolate cake in her studio kitchen. 

“I think it’ll be lots of fun for audiences to see how she goes about doing that. She gets a little bit competitive, hand-mixing egg whites against the Mixmaster machine, so we’ll see who wins out in the end,” said Pall.

“What I like about Julia Child is it’s not about perfection necessarily; she sometimes makes a mistake or whatever she just kind of rolls with it. 

“She is very easygoing, and I feel like she’s relatable.”

The second portion of the night will be The Telephone, which takes place in the 1960s.

“It is about Lucy, who is just obsessed with the telephone and throughout the day, her boyfriend is trying to propose marriage to her but he can’t seem to get the proposal in because she’s always on the telephone,” said Pall.

She notes it can be seen as a commentary on how connected people are to their phones today.

Pall will sing Lucy and Mark Guerrero will perform as the boyfriend.

When GP Opera started in 2016, Pall had two goals: making opera more accessible and relatable to audiences and giving young artists an opportunity to perform. 

“Opera is a very competitive field of performance, so it’s hard to get roles and experience performing.

“It was really important that I pay the singers because a lot of times opera singers end up singing and not getting paid for their work.”

She said productions are back on track after the pandemic shut things down.

Pall recalls her first time going to an opera in Calgary and “ just being mesmerized the whole entire first act, and at intermission, I turned to my mom, and I said to her that is what I want to do with my life.

“I wanted to express emotion in that way, through that art form, and share that with an audience.” 

She said the impact of the performance changed her life.

The GP Opera will perform Double the Opera on May 24 and 25 at the Christian Fellowship Assembly Church. Tickets are available through the Grande Prairie Live Theatre or gplt.ca.

Double the Opera will also perform in Fairview at the Community Theatre on May 23 and 26, with tickets available through Eventbrite. 

Those who pre-purchase tickets will receive a slice of chocolate cake during the performance’s intermission.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 09, 2024 at 11:58

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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