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Quotes and Reviews

What People Are Saying

  • New York Times, Jan. 24, 2003

    • “The size of the company doesn’t reflect the size of the dreams – whether you’ve been at it three years, like Mr. Meetze or almost 30.”

  • New York Times, August 11, 2003

    • On Saturday the cast offered much to enjoy.”

  • New York Post, August 12, 2003

    • “This ‘Flute’, with minimum trappings and a futuristic setting suggested by slide projections, was a game and often witty theatrical effort, occasionally over the top, but endearing for its shoestring effort. Some good voices were on display.”

  • American Record Guide Magazine, November 2003

    • “A small opera-training company in Brooklyn stepped on a giant’s toe in mid-August and has lived to tell the tale.” “This was a new experience, and I’m glad I had it.”

  • Francesca Zambello, August 5, 2003

    • “I support and applaud the OCB efforts and am grateful you are there making a small dent in creating a thirst for an audience of now and the future.”

  • The New York Times

    • …the cast offered much to enjoy…lushly rendered…drolly acted…finely sung

    • …this technology has ample benefits for singers and audiences

    • …the RealTime accompaniment…let one focus on the singing and still enjoy a night out at the opera.

  • The Wall Street Journal:

    • Front-page news

    • “More Mozart for Less.”

  • New York Post

    • …witty theatrical effort…endearing…good voices…powerful…vibrant

    • The Virtual Orchestra…behaved well… it never overpowered the singers and they appeared comfortable with their hi-tech partner.

  • Opera News

    • …entertaining…winningly sung and acted by a talented, intrepid young cast.

    • …the technology is undeniably impressive.


American Record Guide – November/December 2003

The Virtual Orchestra: Technology: here to stay? By Shirley Fleming

  • This was a new experience. I’m glad I had it.

  • A small opera-training company in Brooklyn stepped on a giant’s toe in mid-August and has lived to tell the tale.

  • …Janinah Burnett, fresh from a stint in Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème on Broadway and at 23 singing her first Pamina (and doing it with great charm).

  • The Virtual Orchestra, it must be said, did its job remarkably well.[…] Surprisingly, a certain amount of flexibility is possible… tempo can shift with the wishes of the singer, and expressive  pauses can be accommodated.

  • At the well-rehearsed Magic Flute, singers, conductor, and keyboard operator meshed smoothly

  • The musicians union, doesn’t entirely rule out the use of virtual orchestras under certain circumstances.

  • “You can’t just say no to technology–it always wins and you have to learn to live with it.”  “The technology can’t replace live musicians, it’s a different experience,” says Bill Moriarity, former president of the New York’s Local 802, “but in cities where instrumentalists aren’t available, the virtual orchestra has a practical use.

  • “A small opera-training company I Brooklyn stepped on a giant’s toe in mid-August and has lived to tell the tale.”

Opera News, November 2003, By Joshua Rosenblum

Two things must be said here: first, the technology is undeniably impressive. The computer program that runs the virtual orchestra contains digital samples of every orchestral instrument, with a variety of choices for articulation, dynamics and phrasing. In performance, the operator taps one key on a small keyboard in time to the conductor’s beat, triggering changes in tempo and advancing from one pre-selected sound bank to the next in sequence. For this production, twenty-eight speakers were strewn across the otherwise spare, platformed stage, each dedicated to a single virtual “instrument,”in an effort to reproduce the physical soundscape of a real orchestra. Obviously, a huge amount of effort goes into the preparation.

Overlooked in the advance furor over real-versus-fake were the other unconventional elements of this Zauberflöte. The director, Enrique Abdala, in a good-natured effort to elucidate confusing plot elements, gave the opera a spoofy, futuristic setting. The Queen of the Night murdered her husband during the overture, and Monostatos (now Chief of Security for planet Earth) and the Queen were presented as nefarious collaborators from the beginning. The rewritten scenes (spoken in English) contained such lines as “We must subject him to the cybernetic chambers of Isis and Osiris and alter his genetic makeup.” Ridiculous, yes, yet entertaining. In such a context, with sci-fi projections, silly space guns, day-glo wigs and three masked androids ambling jerkily around like female C-3POs, why not have computerized music? (The performance, by the way, was mostly well sung and winningly acted by a talented, intrepid young cast.) Still, the question remains: is a virtual orchestra a valid option for a small, cash-strapped opera company that wants options beyond four-handed piano arrangements? Opera Company of Brooklyn may have gotten away with it for this cyber-Flöte…

The Wall Street Journal, November 7 2003, p. A1

Behind Surging Productivity: The Service Sector Delivers Firms Once Thought Immune To Boosting Worker Output Are Now Big Part of Trend, By Jon E. Hilsenrath

For more than 200 years, “The Marriage of Figaro” has been performed with a full orchestra. But when the Opera Company of Brooklyn stages the Mozart opera in January, the pit will be occupied by only 12 musicians — and one technician overseeing a computer program that plays all the other parts.

As the U.S. enjoys explosive growth in productivity, with an 8.1% third-quarter gain reported Thursday, the effects are reaching into far corners of the economy. The low-budget opera company in Brooklyn saves enough money on musician salaries with its high-tech orchestra that it can offer more performances per season.[…]

Jay Meetze, director of the Opera Company of Brooklyn, says using virtual players reduces his cost of hiring musicians to a little bit more than $5,000 for each performance, compared with a typical rate of $15,000. The savings will allow him to begin a 24-performance tour of another Mozart piece, “The Magic Flute,” in April.

 

The New York Post, August 12, 2003, p. 36

A Synthesizer Plays in Brooklyn, By Shirley Fleming

…conductor (and company founder) Jay D. Meetze’s computerized “Flute” came off without a hitch. The cast sang its heart out, and the Virtual Orchestra, developed by Realtime Music Solutions which donated the hall and its services, behaved well. It allowed for pauses and shifts in tempo, thanks to the real-time control of an assistant at the synthesizer, and its surround loudspeakers (nearly 30 of them) created a sense of space. It…never overpowered the singers and they appeared comfortable with their high-tech partner.

This “Flute,” with minimum trappings and a futuristic setting suggested by slide projections, was a game and often witty theatrical effort, occasionally over the top but endearing for its shoestring effort. Some good voices were on display: Kenneth Overton’s powerful Papageno stole the show, and Janinah Burnett’s vibrant Pamina clearly could fill a much larger house. David Chase was the capable Tamino.

 

The New York Times, August 11, 2003, p. E3

A ‘Magic Flute’ on the Stage With Invisible Instruments in the Orchestra, By Jeremy Eichler

The big question of course is how it sounded, and to these ears the answer is, better than expected.[…]  Mr. Smith and his partners have achieved some impressive results. The most noteworthy aspect of the system is the way that the programmed elements of pitch and rhythm can be substantially manipulated in live performance to accommodate the demands of phrasing and rubato. The orchestra, in other words, appeared to follow Mr. Meetze’s lead quite aptly.[…]  this technology has ample benefits for singers and audiences […]  the RealTime accompaniment was unobtrusive enough to let one focus on the singing and still enjoy a night at the opera.

On Saturday the cast offered much to enjoy. The leads were generally solid, but two singers stood out: Janinah Burnett, with her lushly rendered Pamina, and Kenneth Overton, with a drolly acted and finely sung Papageno. The production by Enrique Abdala was entertainingly if nonsensically futuristic, complete with androids and laser guns.

 

City Tech News & Events, October 1, 2003

‘Missing Flutes’ Spark Controversy Over ‘Magic Flute’ Production Mounted at City Tech

The Opera Company of Brooklyn founder and principal conductor Jay D. Meetze’s fantastical adaptation of Magic Flute, which he set in a future time, both played to a capacity audience and was, itself, nothing short of magical.

At the end of the performance, the audience was mainly all smiles and the reaction to the production was a highly favorable one. “At first, I could tell a difference in the quality of the sound,” one patron said, “but then, as time went by, I was so caught up in the overall excellence of the production that I completely forgot that virtual music had replaced real musicians.”

The singers — mainly younger, rising operatic talent — were outstanding in both voice and action. The costuming was exquisitely expressive and a giant rear-view projection screen at the back of the stage provided all the visuals needed to effectively set the scene and mood.

In what amounts to very good news for The Opera Company of Brooklyn and the future of opera in the borough, a majority of the audience seemed made up of opera fans under 30. And when all was sang and done, their response suggested that it had been a wonderful night at the opera.

Opera Jamboree, December 1, 2000

Inaugural Production: Opera Company of Brooklyn — A Triumph! By Howard Levin

“Jay Meetze has put together an exciting group of young professionals who promise to become major presences in the world of opera as their careers progress. “

 

3) What people are saying

francesca-zambelloFrancesca Zambello, August 5, 2003
“In the age of the union strangle hold on the arts, the shrinking economy and the ever difficult search for the wealthy patron, how refreshing to discover that something like OCB exists. Please know I support and applaud the OCB efforts and am grateful you are their making a small dent in creating a thirst for an audience of now and the future.”

NY Times, Jan. 24, 2003
“For most people who found small opera companies, the company turns out to be an end in itself.  But the size of the company doesn’t reflect the size of the dreams – whether you’ve been at it three years, like Mr. Meetze or almost 30….”

New York Times, August 11, 2003
On Saturday the cast offered much to enjoy.  The leads were generally solid, but two singers stood out: Janiniah Burnett, with her lushly rendered Pamina, and Kenneth Overton, with a drolly acted and finely sung Papageno.  The production by Enrique Abdala was entertainingly if nonsensically futuristic, complete with androids and laser guns.”

New York Post, August 12, 2003
“This ‘Flute’, with minimum trappings and a futuristic setting suggested by slide projections, was a game and often witty theatrical effort, occasionally over the top, but endearing for its shoestring effort.  Some good voices were on display: Kenneth Overton’s powerful Papageno stole the show, and Janinah Burnett’s vibrant Pamina clearly could fill a much larger house.”

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

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