Morningside Opera is fast becoming NYC’s most innovative company for the interpretation of Baroque vocal music (see my review of their Handel concert earlier this year). I recently caught them in the act at a sold-out show at Jimmy’s No. 43, an East Village bar/venue. The work was The Judgment of Paris–check out Steve Smith‘s excellent overview of the piece in his New York Times review of this performance–in which Paris holds a pageant to determine whether Athena, Juno, or Venus is most deserving of the top prize, in this case a gilded banana. The company took Paris’ line “When each is undress’d I’ll judge of the best, for ’tis not a face that will carry the prize” and ran with it: about halfway through the show each of the goddesses stripped down to lingerie and attempted to seduce a befuddled and excited Paris.

As always with MO, the singing, acting, and staging were superb, all of which are crucial when performing in spaces that don’t typically host operatic events and are therefore lean on extravagant sets.  Throughout the concert I felt like I was experiencing this particular opera in the perfect setting, where the humor and innuendo could be uninhibitedly appreciated.

And you’re in luck! Morningside Opera will be giving a special repeat performance of Judgment at Jimmy’s No. 43 on Tuesday, October 11, at 7:30 p.m. This will be followed by their second “Diva Search” in which attendees can sing their favorite arias karaoke-style.

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