Jacobs School, IU Athletics team up for 'Opera in the End Zone' simulcast

  • Oct. 17, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In the world of opera, everything appears larger than life. It is a world of tremendous voices, extravagant costumes, elaborate sets and overblown emotions.

Football has a drama all its own. Giant players make big plays on a vast playing field before a crowd of thousands.

On Friday, Oct. 24, those two worlds will team up in a big way with "Opera in the End Zone" at Indiana University's Memorial Stadium. Don't expect divas to don shoulder pads. And unlike the TV series "Glee," the home team isn't about to break out in song.

Beginning at 8 p.m., the opera "La Bohème" will be live-streamed on the stadium's Jumbotron, at the same time it is performed on stage at the Musical Arts Center.

In an IU Opera and Ballet Theater season dubbed "Go Boldly," this experimental partnership between athletics and music seems somehow fitting.

"We are thrilled to partner with the world-renowned Jacobs School of Music to present 'Opera in the End Zone,'" said Jeremy Gray, associate athletic director at Indiana University. "It will be a unique and extraordinary event that integrates two proud IU traditions: the Jacobs School of Music and IU Athletics."

The timeless appeal of "La Bohème"

It's not every day that people have the chance to watch an opera simulcast beneath the stars -- much less at a football stadium.

"We're grateful to IU Athletics for making this unique setting available for this first-of-its-kind event in the university's history," said Gwyn Richards, dean of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. "We hope that people of all ages will join us for 'Opera in the End Zone.'"

"La Bohème" seems the perfect production for such an unusual presentation. The Puccini opera is a perennial favorite with audiences -- so much so that it has been staged 14 times at Indiana University since its first appearance with IU Opera in 1950.

"'La Bohème' is widely considered to be the most popular opera of all time, and this event creates the perfect introduction to the art form for those who have never attended before," Richards said.

Set in 19th-century Paris, "La Bohème" is a story of love and cafe life that unfolds during the Christmas holiday season.

The 2014 production at the Jacobs School of Music features guest conductor Paul Nadler, who has led the Metropolitan Opera company in more than 60 performances, and visiting stage director Jeffrey Buchman. The intricate sets and lavish costumes were designed by retired professor C. David Higgins. And, of course, the production draws upon the school's rich pool of student talent for its cast.

"Opera in the End Zone" playbook

"Opera in the End Zone" will be presented weather permitting. Check the Jacobs School’s home page at noon or later Oct. 24 to be advised of the status.

Entrance will be through the southeast gate of the stadium, which opens at 7:30 p.m. that day. No tickets are required for this free, first-time event. Parking is free.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair and select a spot at the south end of the field with a good view of the big screen. Or, simply take a seat in the stands. To protect the field's playing surface, four-legged folding chairs will not be permitted. Lawn chairs with horizontal bars as their base will be allowed, however. No alcohol or glass is permitted. Food and drinks are welcome at the event, as long as they are consumed in the stands or on blankets, rather than directly on the turf.

The performance will begin at 8 p.m. Supertitles on the screen will explain the drama as it unfolds.

"Opera in the End Zone" is sponsored in part by Smithville Communications and IU Athletics.

IU Opera Theater "La Boheme" 2014

IU Opera Theater's production of "La Boheme" will be displayed on a big screen at Memorial Stadium during "Opera in the End Zone" on Oct. 24.

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IU Opera Theater "La Boheme" 2014

A scene from IU Opera Theater's production of "La Boheme."

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Media Contacts

Linda Cajigas

  • IU Jacobs School of Music
  • Office 812-856-3882
  • lcajigas@indiana.edu