Mercury Opera’s 104 Underground (an operascape)

104 undergroundMercury Opera took over the Bay/Enterprise Square LRT Station tonight to stage an operascape featuring the talents of Alicia Woynarski, Lauren Woods, Jill Hoogewoonink, and Nevada Collins. They were accompanied by the Vif String Quartet and wore costumes by local fashion designer Natasha Lazarovic.

Mercury Opera’s presentation features an all-Canadian cast of rising operatic talent singing the sensual Mon coeur s’ouvre from Camille Saint Saens’ Samson et Dalila, The Queen of the Night’s Vengeance Aria, Mozart’s dazzler from The Magic Flute, and the exquisitely sublime Flower Duet from Lakme by Delibes. The performance culminates in a  special rendition of one of opera’s favorite chart toppers,Puccini’s Nessun Dorma sung as a quartet.

The event got underway at 6pm with four businesses on 104 Street taking part. Ticket holders were invited to enjoy light refreshments at Coup, 29 Armstrong, deVine Wines & Spirits, and the Eyecare Group. Sharon and I walked over just after 7pm to find Coup full of people! We made our way from one venue to the next before heading down to the LRT station platform for the performance.

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground
Coup filling up!

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground
Ed pouring wine at deVine Wines

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground
The food mostly consisted of cheese and meat platters

At around 8pm, everyone started moving underground. It was quite a sight with the LRT station platform so full of people! There were dozens of cameras, and not only from patrons hoping to capture the performance – OMNI had a bunch of cameras present to film a documentary about the event.

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground 
One of the OMNI cameras

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground
Waiting for the performance to get underway

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground
The setup for Vif

To ensure the LRT could still operate, volunteers used police tape to separate the event from transit riders getting on and off the trains. ETS officers also helped to keep traffic flowing smoothly.

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground 
Transit riders on the left, event attendees on the right

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground
The performers arrived on the LRT!

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground
They used the raised, circular benches as stages

There were big cheers when the train carrying the performers arrived. They wasted no time and started right away, eventually making their way to the circular benches in the centre of the platform. At the end of the show, the four performers came together to receive flowers and to perform an encore. The left the same way they came – on the train.

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground
Two performers were on the east end of the platform and two were on the west end

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground
Enjoying the show!

Mercury Opera's 104 Underground
The four performers at the end of the show

It was particularly cool for a transit geek like me to see the trains coming and going in the background as the performance continued. And what a performance it was! The sound quality in the station was much better than I anticipated, and the lighting and reflective surfaces of the station walls and ceiling made for a very unique look. I think everyone really enjoyed it!

Tonight’s operascape is precisely the kind of event that I’d like to see more of in Edmonton. Congratulations to Darcia Parada and her team – I think its safe to say tonight was a big success! It’s so great to have people like Darcia – she had a vision, and she made it happen. Bravo!

You can see the rest of my photos here. Be sure to read Gig City’s preview as well.