“I wanted the students to get a little more involved in the idea of design and storytelling for design," Callahan said. “I really wanted them to have ownership of what they’re putting on stage.”
Callahan said he urges non-opera lovers to come to the dress rehearsals because an opportunity like this allows the audience to see what happens behind the scenes and how we actually get to the opera.
“I hope (the audience) feels like they can get a little closer to opera,” Callahan said.
The event will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of an opera coupled with the experience to give direct feedback to performers, making it a rare and exciting opportunity, said Allison Lathrop, the head of public programs at the Ackland.
The production being put on by Callahan is not a typical opera. His production aims to mix classical Mozart with an outer space dream experience.
“This idea of space travel and the future was really interesting to me,” Callahan said. “I thought this was kind of the perfect time to bring all that together in one show, one design concept.”
While the score of the production is consistent with Mozart’s original, it is the visuals that set the opera apart from the standard, Allmendinger said.
When brainstorming ideas for the production, the team was looking at how Mozart and classical music from his opera can line up and tell stories in a similar way to how music videos can tell stories visually, Lathrop said.
“I have a feeling that those who come to the opera will actually see a design concept that looks a little bit more like a Katy Perry or an Ariana Grande video,” Callahan said.
This Saturday will be the second open rehearsal at the Ackland, and the previous session was exciting and beneficial to both the audience and performers, Allmendinger said.
“The students and professors did such a beautiful job with the music and the singing," Allmendinger said. “Another really wonderful element of it was the effort they made to get audience feedback."
The futuristic theme, coupled with classical music, makes it a must-see event, Lathrop said.
“It gives a new twist on some of the older musical contributions from Mozart. It will feel very fresh and new,” Lathrop said.