A recent article in Insider Magazine stated that attendance of nightclubs and bars have been on a steady decline for the past several years.  Millennials (those born between 1977-1995) are losing interest in expensive cover charges, overly-priced drinks and long lines outside of the clubs (most of the time for no reason other than to give the appearance the club is popular).

Instead millennials are opting for memorable life experiences including hanging with friends, drinking wine and going to concerts. Enter Opera Carolina.

Opera Carolina opened its MainStage season at Belk Theatre this weekend with Ludwig Van Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, which continues October 22 and 25.  The two-act opera tells how one of the main characters, Leonore, disguised as a prison guard named Fidelio, rescues her husband from death in a Stasi prison. It’s a story of personal sacrifice, heroism and triumph. Musical highlights include the “Prisoners’ Chorus,” a hymn to freedom. Fidelio, the only opera Beethoven ever wrote, will be sung in German (but don’t worry, there are English titles, displayed at the top of the stage – quite helpful, unless you speak fluent German).

We’re excited to present Fidelio as our season opener and especially excited about  the creative approach to this universal story of liberation from political  oppression,” said James Meena, Opera Carolina’s general director & principal conductor.

Though the opera would probably be a new experience for most millennials it’s a bucket list item that’s definitely worth trying at least once.

Here is an an example night out at the Opera: dinner with friends at your favorite local restaurant, then over to the opera for live music and wine. Not to mention the opera still remains classic when it comes to fashion – it’s the one place you can wear that gown you have been dying to put on and not feel overdressed. One dress in particular will make a stunning statement. Opera Carolina commissioned Garbage Gone Glam to create a one-of-a-kind gown from actual programs and posters from their 2015/16 productions. Kristen Alyce, CEO and designer of Garbage Gone Glam,  designed a handmade couture gown made entirely of recycled materials is as much a fashion statement as it is environmental statement.  She used packing tape, 150 Opera Carolina posters and 20 Target plastic bags to create the stunning dress. Bubble wrap forms the massive crinoline.

  The dress represents Opera Carolina’s new OPERA RECYCLYES program that will promote sustainability and recycling initiatives. “We will be partnering with local young artists to create reusable pieces of jewelry, music bags and accessories from our past season materials to reduce our carbon footprint,” Miller said.

Perhaps more than any other art form, opera invites patrons to glam it up,” said Megan Miller, Opera Carolina’s marketing director. “Although you’ll see every kind of dress when you come to the opera, many patrons wear stunning fashions and accessories – particularly on opening night. So, we wanted to shine a spotlight on their creative couture.

The gown debut on the red carpet, which will be part of every opening night during the 2015/16 season.

If you’re new to the opera start with a classic. Opera Carolina’s season continues with the classic tragic love story: Romeo & Juliet on Jan. 24, 28 and 30. Charles-Francois Gounod’s composition of Shakespeare’s tragedy commemorates the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. The season closes with an exciting U.S. premiere: Aleko, Rachmaninoff’s first opera. Alekowill be presented with Pagliacci by Leoncavallo on April 10, 14 and 16. Each opera is just one hour, but both are filled with jealousy, revenge and – of course – bloodshed.  Sounds like some of our favorite television shows.

What else are millennials doing these days? Binge watching a new series on Netflix of course, but that’s another event for another weekend.

Read the full article with photos here