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"Cosmic Opera" Opens in New York

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As a Kabuki-dressed opera singer was convoyed atop a platform through the crowd wailing in an ear-piercing pitch, a packed Hammerstein Ballroom wrestled in anticipation. The mezzo-soprano’s Italian lyrics serenaded the audience over an original Stephan Moore composition before slipping into a familiar tune.

In my mind, in my head, this is where we all came from
The dreams we had, the love we shared, this is what we’re waiting for

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With that, the electronic music phenom known as Axwell (one-third of the Grammy-nominated trio Swedish House Mafia) stepped into his DJ booth resembling a giant organ and took the reins, launching into his harmonic new track “In My Mind.” An onslaught of green and blue lasers shot across the room and the massive three-tiered chandelier hanging from the ceiling began shimmering a blazing red. Axwell had the packed tri-level venue hanging on his every move as he bounced in flawless rhythm to the core-pounding bass.

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Welcome to the Cosmic Opera, an “extrasensory” fusion between dance music and acrobatics with strings of operatic tones and themes interwoven throughout it.  The Cirque-du-Soleil-esque performance is the brainchild of 25-year-old Long Islander Justin Cohen. It kicked off its three-act show last week at the early-1900’s opera house in New York, with the subsequent acts set to follow in April and May.

With Axwell as its conductor, the Cosmic Opera was indeed a unique night at the theater. For most of the evening dancers filtered through the mob dressed in masquerade,interacting with the energy-injected crowd. Contortionists performed on giant sheets dangling from the roof. The sense-assualting lightshow was relentless; the work of an accomplished technician who has previously worked with Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga. The swinging aerialists and explosive theatrics captured a younger generation’s novel take on an age-old art form. Somewhere Gioachino Rossini was rolling in his grave.

For ticket information on acts two and three click here.

Nate Storey is a Research Assistant for Travel + Leisure.

Images courtesy of Max Levine.

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