Is Nothing Sacred? Opera Written About Internet Addiction

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"The Lonely Hours" is taking place at Lincoln Center

John W. Ferguson/Getty Images

Mozart, Verdi and Puccini would have deleted their Facebook and Twitter accounts in disgust if they were still with us you know.

Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall — with the New York Opera Society — is getting set Friday to stage “The Empty Hours” (Las Horas Vacías), an opera by Ricardo Llorca about Internet addiction. It’s a one-act story of a lonely woman caught up in a fantasy world and obsessed with being online.

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Llorca is a Spanish-American composer and the inspiration came from his living in New York’s West Village in the 90’s: each week a particular neighbor would have a guest over for dinner and an argument would always ensue. But it turned out — after the police were called in due to complaints from residents — that the woman, “was completely by herself, and completely drunk.” And thus “The Empty Hours” was born. Indeed, its main character has an imaginary online lover with this weekly date turning out much like the reality that Llorca and his neighbors used to put up with on a Friday night. Just now with arias and traditional Spanish dances attached.

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If this sounds like a tough sell to you, the counter-argument runs that only in New York could this possibly work in the first place. Jennifer Cho, executive director of the New York Opera Society, believes the plot is on the money. “I think that New Yorkers will instantly recognize this piece,” she said. “I almost blushed when I first heard it. It’s completely relevant.” In other words, we’ll have moved from “The Marriage of Figaro” to “The Marriage of the Figment of My Imagination” in one easy step. (via WSJ)