Next Thursday, some of opera’s greatest voices will stream out of SOhO Restaurant & Music Club’s windows, but you won’t find any Pavarottis or Sutherlands within. Instead you’ll encounter some of Santa Barbara’s gutsiest laypeople and finest homegrown comedic talents syncing their lips with recorded arias or duets of their choice. The reason: Opera Santa Barbara’s first-ever Opera Lip Sync Competition.
Anyone can register to compete, and performers will be judged based on their lip-syncing accuracy, costumes and props, overall performance skills, and interpretive originality.
Need greater incentive to sign on? The victorious syncer takes home a cash prize of $1,000. And if you crave an evening of fine music, big personalities, and the drama of competition, you’ll want to drop by SOhO to witness these silent songsters mock-trill and emote to the death. The contest takes place on Thursday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m. To register, contact Opera Santa Barbara at (805) 898-3890 and be ready to identify a performance piece by June 1. For tickets, call (805) 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com. Below, we break down just a few reasons to check it out.
1. The Accessibility: “I’m always looking for accessible, new, fresh ways to introduce people to opera,” said Steven Sharpe, general director of Opera Santa Barbara. Whether you’re a prospective performer or supporter, the Opera Lip Sync Competition offers an easy entry point into the opera world or, at least, a fun way to dabble for just one day.
2. The Arias: Contestants select the arias to which they will lip sync, and they are required to perform those arias in their original languages. Expect diversity of tongues and tunes.
3. The Divas: Opera Santa Barbara advertises the competition as an opportunity “to embrace the diva within.” If you are itching to unleash your latent prima donna power, seize the chance to compete. Otherwise, you won’t want to miss watching what Sharpe calls the “mixed bag” of contenders, including at least one very young diva, in their most garish character-driven garb. (Here’s hoping for a horned helmet or two.)
4. The Vote: Audience members will play an active role in settling the night’s results. The winner will be determined by four votes: one each from three judges and one from the audience as a single unit. Be there to make the deciding difference! —Cameron Platt