Arizona Opera has this cool concept of a monthly brown bag lunch recital. On the third Thursday of the month, you’re invited to pack a lunch and see a free concert in the atrium of Arizona Opera Center near McDowell and Central (basically across the street from the Phoenix Art Museum).
We decided to give it a try this month, and I picked up Phillip on his lunch hour.
It was absolutely captivating. While there are no costumes or props, the simplicity of the setup allows you to focus on the music. Even at this recital, the soloists didn’t hold back, launching full throttle into the performance, pouring the emotion of each song out through their posture, expressions, and voices.
Things to know about Arizona Opera’s Brown Bag Recitals:
- The soloists are extremely talented.
- The place was packed and parking was gone. Cars were even parked along curbs, and we double-parked next to one of them. You may be able to sneak a spot at the Phoenix Art Museum. (No guarantees on availability or legality, though.)
- There’s a light rail stop nearby at McDowell.
- Being late is awkward. If people are rushing over during their lunch hour, there are bound to be late arrivals, and the parking lot entrance opens right in the front of the room. (Hi, everyone.) I believe there is another entrance on the street side of the building.
- You’re encouraged to bring your lunch, but no one was eating.
- Definitely worth going, if you have a flexible enough schedule to get there early or work in the Arts District/Downtown. (Phillip works in east Phoenix, and even that was cutting it too close.)
Phillip and I tested out the being late theory for you. (Yes, it is awkward.) (You’re welcome.) We crept to the back, scanning the room in vain for open seats. We were standing there listening to a song introduction, when a man appeared from a back room to offer to get us chairs, reemerged to set two up, then silently disappeared again, as if riding off into the sunset.
After a duet from Hansel and Gretel, the recital ended with “I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady. There was enthusiastic applause, and then the pianist and soloists remained in the atrium, as the audience spilled out into the parking lot.
The next Arizona Opera performance will be a world premiere adaptation of a Zane Grey novel! (A couple photos from the program are above.)
- Feb 25, 26: Tucson Music Hall. Tickets $25-120.
- Mar 3, 4, 5: Phoenix Symphony Hall. Tickets $25-155.