Sunday, May 13, 2012

SUBVERSIVE ART: A Video Preview of Baltimore Rock Opera Society's VALHELLA // PLUS: Charles Village Street Murals


Maryland Juice spent Saturday night checking out 21st century populist art in Baltimore's Charles Village neighborhood. My friend's brother is part of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society (aka BROS), and he invited me to check out their latest production Valhella (dates: 5/13, 5/18, 5/19, 5/20 - Autograph Playhouse, Baltimore - tickets).

Maryland Juice brought a camera to the show, and so I made a short video to give readers a taste of the rock musical (see below). But first, let me provide you a bit of background about BROS, because I think their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit reflect our generation's ethos. Their website states:
Baltimore Rock Opera Society (BROS) is the next evolutionary leap in Baltimore’s musical theatre scene–a highly energetic troupe of actors, writers, musicians, and artists founded in 2007 with the sole mission of producing original, live rock operas in Baltimore....

Essentially plays interspersed with rock songs, Baltimore Rock Opera Society performances maximize production value within a “do-it-yourself” budget. Homemade set pieces and costumes create an awe-inspiring visual context in which actors and musicians tell the story. Each song in a BROS rock opera drives the plot while drawing viewers in through interaction with performers....

 The Baltimore Brew blog had a preview of the show a few weeks ago:
BALTIMORE BREW: On Friday May 11, the Baltimore Rock Opera Society will premier its latest original production, Valhella: The Ragnarokkoperetta, another of the group’s torrid tales of superhuman heroism and suffering. The show is loosely adapted from Norse mythology and executed in pursuit of what composer Richard Wagner, the misty godfather of the BROS’ artistic vision, called gesamtkunstwerk – that mashup of spectacle, ritual, dance, music, theater and other artsy stuff that is opera at its most extreme....

Earlier this week, a few dozen of BROS’ mostly twenty-something cast and crew gathered at the Autograph Playhouse on west North Avenue, a former 285-seat neighborhood movie house transformed by a new stage and lots of red paint on the walls, for what theater professionals call a “stumble through” of Valhella....

While BROS is still in engaged in its own epic struggle for immortality, it has been producing its stupendous productions on the cheap, budgeted at just $10,000 apiece, which is about what they earn in ticket sales.

VALHELLA VIDEO PREVIEW: If you want to see what the Baltimore Rock Opera Society is able to do with $10,000 and a lot of volunteer effort, check out Maryland Juice's Valhella video preview:

On my way to see Valhella, I stumbled upon a series of street murals in Charles Village, including one work in progress. The artist allowed me to photograph him at work (see below):


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