Laura Sage recently moved back to Chattanooga with a vision.
For 12 years, she ran the Lyric Opera of Los Angeles with a mission to bring lesser-known operatic works that deserve to be heard to the public.
Although she’s an accomplished professional violinist and soprano herself, it’s the behind-the-scenes operations where her passion is focused.
She hopes to bring that same mission and passion to her new venture-Scenic City Opera-in 2015.
Different from Artisti Affamati, which Sage participated in and which focuses on modern works and unusual venues, Scenic City Opera will dip into operatic works from the 18th through 20th centuries, but with a twist.
The first production-tentatively scheduled for June-will be Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio,” but performed as an episode of “Star Trek.” The performance will feature Klingons, the Vulcan and more. No, really.
“It’s just going to be the most wonderful reimagining of the opera,” Shaw said. “I felt like this show was a great way to introduce the company and get people interested.”
The production will feature a new English translation from director Josh Shaw.
Another performance in 2015 will be Heinrich Marschner’s “Der Vampyr” in October, which Sage calls a “fantastic, campy, romantic vampire romp.”
The goal for the company is to produce two to three shows per season.
Sage said the idea of a “lesser work” doesn’t mean the quality of the music is subpar, but rather that the material has been performed less.
“I don’t choose things just because they are unknown,” she said. “If there’s something that’s intriguing me just by the synopsis, I try to find a recording and see what it’s like. I don’t want to present something where the music is crappy. If it’s unknown because it’s crappy, then I don’t want to do it.”
Auditions for both “Abduction from the Seraglio” and “Der Vampyr” will be held Jan. 10. A venue for auditions is expected to be announced soon.
Roles will be open to singers within driving distance of Chattanooga. Sage also said she is seeking board members for the company.
“I’m aiming to have the company be semi-pro, where at least the principals are paid a small stipend,” she said. “Beyond that, we need to find ways to do some fundraising [and] gain board members. Then, we’ll be applying for our nonprofit status.”
More information on the company is available at their website.