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Handel: ORLANDO | the Baroque opera performed in a New York City community garden

Produced by Opera Praktikos, H. Paul Moon, and Opera Essentia, Handel: Orlando | the Baroque opera performed in New York City community garden was selected as a finalist in the category of Artistic Creation in the 2023 Awards for Digital Excellence.

Watch the video and learn more about the work and its producers below. Video available to stream free for a limited time through March 4, 2024.

This Baroque opera by G.F. Handel was set in a community garden on the Lower East Side of Manhattan to maintain responsible performing practices during the three-year wave of the global pandemic. It was an idea both historic and innovative while the opera world responded to the great shifts occurring in society. Looking centuries back, referencing historic ways of presenting opera to the public, Orlando became an organic experience that felt simultaneously old and new — captured on film in a deeply immersive way as if the viewer is an embedded member of the audience. Setting this work in a community garden allowed adaptable seating for ease of mobility and now, with a filmed version readily available, the Orlando experience can be accessed around the world for free, just like the free opera in the garden was offered in New York City.



The creative team of Opera Praktikos, Opera Essentia, and H Paul Moon films met in a moment of celestial alignment — right time, right place, and right people. OPrak and Opera Essentia collaborated on the creation of the staged production, and Paul Moon, initially an intrigued audience member on opening night, added next-level accessibility by interweaving the mediums of opera and film at an early point of integration of these two previously unlinked mediums in the opera ecosystem. Opera and film are now inextricably linked.

Opera Praktikos (OPrak) is NYC's first disability-affirmative opera company. We are committed to presenting opera in newly accessible formats and venues, presenting site-specific opera that champions stories of people with disabilities by people with disabilities and their support system. Empowering disability creativity is a core principle of our work.

The mission of Opera Essentia is to curate one of history’s most transfixing art forms for a new and wider audience, performing in gardens, parks, and other accessible centers of community. We distill the largely unknown works of Baroque master George Frideric Handel, arguably the most important composer for the voice, into approachable discoveries.

H Paul Moon is a filmmaker whose work concentrates on the performing arts with a focus on music and the nexus between live performance and film. He has been featured and awarded at over 200 in-person film festival screenings worldwide and continues the work to expand the nexus of music, drama, and the art of filmmaking.

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Explore more 2023 Awards for Digital Excellence productions by clicking the button below. 

The Awards for Digital Excellence in Opera are supported by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.