Many seniors find a night of performances in Washington too expensive and the traffic and parking obstacles too difficult. For this underserved audience, an Arlington church and a local arts nonprofit are teaming up to provide them with afternoon concerts largely featuring opera music.
Their next effort will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, when Opera NOVA presents its August Opera Spectacular at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 825 South Taylor St.
“All people are valued and loved, and we want to make sure every generation and age group knows that, including our seniors,” said the Rev. Wayne Fredericksen, pastor of the church. Adds Opera Nova president Miriam Miller, “Together we can reach an untapped and largely invisible audience of seniors — employed, retired, in assisted living, home alone, single or married — who wish to experience and enjoy the beauty of classical opera. We are unaware of any community that offers seniors personal enjoyment at a mature intellectual level which great music and opera provide.”
This will be the fourth collaboration between the church and Opera NOVA, an Arlington-based nonprofit, which also provides abbreviated operas to schoolchildren every spring. The church also serves seniors through its Prime Time program, and through concerts it has held, such as an organ recital and Armonia Nova, a medieval madrigal group. The seniors have enjoyed entertainment put on by children who attend Our Savior Lutheran School.
Featured Aug. 13 will be baritone Jose Sacin, soprano Biljana Soldo, soprano Jocelyn Hunt and mezzo-soprano Elise Jenkins. Also on the program are two student opera singers, mezzo-soprano Alex Thackray and soprano Azia Bennett. Broadway music will be mixed in with opera.
Says Opera NOVA fan Barbara Abbey, “People used to be afraid to go to opera. You had to put on high heels, it was uncomfortable, you didn’t know the words. But this is so down to earth, you can chat with the people at intermission. They aren’t Kennedy-Center types. It is reachable and affordable and fun. And look at the voices we have.”
Tickets can be purchased at the church for $5, $7, $10 “or pay what you will,” said Miller. Reservations are encouraged at 703-536-7557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Besides seniors, a special invitation is extended to Girl Scout leaders and Girl Scouts to come in uniform (if possible) to hear the concert for free.