The Picnic Operetta = must-see show

Heavy Table has a nice writeup on Orpheus and Eurydice: A Picnic Operetta, a decidedly unstuffy opera being performed in several metro community gardens over the next month. I caught the first of 10 performances last weekend and have three words to add: Go see it!

The opera is based on the love story of Orpheus and Eurydice, played by Roland Hawkins II and Meredith Cain-Nielsen (pictured), but don't expect any viking hats or powdered wigs--instead, the singers and musicians (including an accordionist!) don garden trowel headbands and flowered swim caps. Director Scotty Reynolds, music director Erik Pearson, and choreographer Taja Will have made the operetta highly accessible: there's plenty of humor, and some of the tunes sound more Motown than Mozart.

Adding to the intrigue, garden-fresh snacks prepared by my pal Nick Schneider of the Seward co-op are passed through the audience during the performance to enhance certain plot points. When Orpheus morphed into a bumblebee, for example, we were served honey-lavender biscotti, which I struggled to keep away from some actual garden bees. (Gardens of Eagan donated much of the all-local produce.)

All in all, the PIcnic Operetta is great for those seeking an easy-to-swallow entree into the world of opera and those with a healthy artistic appetite.

Call ahead to reserve a spot, as tickets are limited, 612.619.2112. A $10-$20 donation is suggested, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds. For more information, go to

Sat. August 29th 4:00 at the Birchwood Community Garden (2544 Hwy 100 South in St. Louis Park, behind Reformation Lutheran Church) ***audio description provided at this performance

Sunday August 30th at the JD River's Children's Garden (Glenwood and Washburn Ave in Theodore Wirth Park, Mpls)

Saturday September 5th on Nicollet Island (Maple Place and Nicollet Street)

Saturday September 12th 4:00 at the Columbus Community Garden (33rd and Columbus Ave, Minneapolis)

Sunday September 13th 4:00 at Celeste's Dream Community Garden (1880 Randolph Ave, outside the Sister of St. Joseph Carondelet, St. Paul)

Saturday September 19th 4:00 at Urban Farm, North Minneapolis (12th Street and Morgan Avenue North, Minneapolis)

Saturday September 26th 4:00 at the Augsburg Community Garden (20th Avenue and 6th Street, Mpls)

Sunday September 27th 4:00 at the Midway Green Spirit Community Garden (at the intersection of Taylor and Hamline Avenue and Pierce Butler)

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