VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Opera shifted its course this season as COVID-19 continues to force the arts to think outside the box. An unconventional venue made it all possible.
“I’m in shock,” said Peggy Khira Dye, Virginia Opera general director and CEO. “I cannot tell you how amazing it is to get back to performing.”
After canceling their 2020-2021 season due to safety concerns, the Opera returned Sunday night.
The un-fore-gettable venue? Top Golf in Virginia Beach.
“If there was one silver lining to the ‘new normal’ COVID placed upon us, it motivated us to create new, and often surprisingly wonderful, ways to approach everything—including this unique venture,” said Adam Turner, Artistic Director of Virginia Opera. “I’m so pleased we are able to once again share the magic of music with our devoted audiences in a safe, comfortable, and unparalleled fashion.”
Parties were able to stay socially distanced by staying in separate bays and enjoy the opera outside.
“We didn’t know going into the opera season what kind of restrictions there would be, what kind of comfort level,” explained Dye. “Top Golf erased a lot of those worries for us.”
Their new show is the first installment of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold and features gods, dwarves, giants, and the iconic castle Valhalla under the direction of Mary Birnbaum.
“It was the perfect outdoor venue choice—covered from the elements, comfortable seating, easy parking, accessible…In so many ways it resembles the classic amphitheaters where many performing arts found their start,” said Peggy Kriha Dye, General Director and CEO of Virginia Opera.
Organizers were able to play into the TopGolf theme by adding several props, including a scoreboard and sporting equipment.
Hundreds of people were in attendance for the two shows, one at 4:30 p.m. and another at 8 p.m.