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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

San Diego Opera holds drive-through performances of the Italian opera, 'La Bohème'

The company has performed the opera on many occasions, but during these strange times, the show will take place in a parking lot for a drive-through experience.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego Opera's live and in-person performances of Puccini's opera "La Boheme in the Pechanga Arena San Diego parking lot start Saturday. The four performances will be held Oct. 24, 27, 30, and Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Any type of live opera is music to the ears of David Bennett. Even if it’s being sung in a parking lot behind a rec center.

“To hear this is amazing, this is what we do we are an opera company,” said Bennett, the General Director of the San Diego Opera. “To be actually able to hire and engage people who haven’t worked since the pandemic is wonderful.”

For the first time this year, the San Diego Opera is holding a performance - the Italian opera, “La Bohème.” The company has performed the opera on many occasions, but during these strange times, the show will take place in the Pechanga Arena parking lot for a drive-through experience.

“We can accommodate 850 cars and we have built a very large stage,” says Bennett “The audience drives in and listens through their cars on FM radio.”

According to Bennett, this would be the first time a traditional opera company in the US puts on a performance like this. Mainly because experts believe that loud singing can easily spread COVID-19. This is why the stage director has had to make changes to the set and performance to protect the wellbeing of the actors.

“One of the things we have to take into consideration is the safety of these singers,” says Bennett “The singers each have 120 square feet of their own space that other singers can’t encroach.”

There will be four performances of “La Bohème” starting on October 24th and tickets start at $200 a car. Though it might not be a typical opera experience, Bennett is nonetheless excited to share this socially-distanced Opera with San Diego.

“I’m very excited about having this opportunity for our community to come together,” he said. “Separated in cars but still having that experience in front of live performers.”