Tobias Picker

Tobias Picker

Tulsa Opera opens its 2020-21 season at ONEOK Field, 201 N. Elgin Ave., at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 9. This will be the opera’s first performance since the COVID-19 outbreak and the first opera company in the U.S. to perform an opera again since all opera companies were shut down this past spring.  

Artistic Director Tobias Picker decided to stick with the opera originally planned as the season opener — “Rigoletto” — and reimagine it as a baseball-themed production to fit the new venue. 

“Performing classical music in baseball stadiums is like trying to fit a square peg into a diamond-shaped hole, so to speak,” Picker says. “What was originally the duke’s royal court is now the duke’s baseball team. The politics of the royal court are replaced by the business aspects of baseball. Rigoletto, originally conceived by Verdi as the duke’s court jester, is now the team mascot … Necessity is the mother of invention. Since we must social distance people singing much more than people talking, every base becomes an individual stage for traditional operatic characters who are now players in a game all Americans know and love.”

The Opera decided to use ONEOK Field’s 2,700 socially distanced seats to welcome an even larger audience to the performance than they would have had at the traditional venue, Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Masks are required. 

“‘Rigoletto’ has been heard by countless millions of people for nearly two centuries. All people who love music and who haven’t experienced ‘Rigoletto’ live now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the enormous pleasure ‘Rigoletto’ gives us, right here in Tulsa,” Picker says.

Tickets vary from $15-$50 and can be purchased at tulsaopera.com

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