Q&A with the Cosmic Opera Crew: Act II Promises Time Machines, Kinetic Sculptures and Claws

by Natalie Raben
04.04.2012

Cosmic Opera round two and we’re dying to know: what can we expect? Clubplanet caught up with the Cosmic Opera Crew and they had many disco beans to spill about plans for their second edition. We chatted with creator Justin Cohen and his colleagues who are all identified below. So what exactly are we in store for?

CP: This is the second edition of Cosmic Opera, got any surprises?

Guy Smith, Visual Director: There are plenty. Inside of the 40-ft chandelier, we have a massive fully articulating claw that will hang over the middle of the dance floor, which will be attached to a 'time machine' operated by the DJs.

CP: For real??? We didn’t realize DJ DeLoreon was spinning...

Guy Smith: The time machine/DJ booth itself will be studded with antique scientific equipment which will react to and analyze the music while it is actually playing.  We went way outside of the box, and are employing new and old tricks to create a unique environment.

CP: What makes this second edition different than the first? More Cosmic? More Opera?

John Finen, Production Director: Just more of everything.  We took what we learned from Cosmic Opera Act I and built on that.  With the 'Imbroglio' theme we are able to go a bit darker and more dramatic than Act I, which was 'Exposition'.

CP: How did you come up with the name 'Cosmic Opera'?

Justin Cohen, Creator: It was the opera that actually inspired this new EDM event brand, but when coming up with the name – I was quite lost. My friend Zach Fagenson actually put the “Opera” with “Cosmic,” which made sense since we were throwing the events in Hammerstein.

CP: Explain this. This is ClubPlanet, not OperaPlanet.

Justin Cohen: Hammerstein is actually an inspirational opera house from 1904, and anyone who’s been there knows that it has these “operatic” and “theatrical” elements. “Cosmic Opera” works well because while most EDM events are very “futuristic,” Cosmic Opera differentiates itself by being a complement to the past.

CP: How do you decide the line-ups?

Adam Gelman, Partner & Director of Event Strategy: We pursue DJs that we feel align well with the progression of Acts. Since Act II, "Imbroglio," is a more intensified and charged theme, we decided to go with performers that are harder and edgier.

CP: Make our hard and edgy day! No really, who’s playing?

Adam Gelman: Fedde Le Grand is headlining along with Zedd, Funakagenda, Felix Cartal, David Berrie and Matt Goldman. Act II offers a nice blend, with a variety of DJ's across different platforms of electronic music.

CP: A nice blend, like a DJ protein shake. Okay so tell us, how did you decide to throw one so quickly after the last one? On purpose? Or was it a theatrical coincidence of the cosmos?

Justin Cohen: The intention was always to bill Cosmic Opera as an “event series.” It’’s not a one-off, it’s like an Opera where there will be multiple “Acts” for the audience to follow.

CP: So cultural! Any plans for expanding outside of New York?

Adam Gelman: Cosmic Opera is initially a three-part series, and after Act III, anything can happen. Maybe we will come back to New York, possibly move to another city, or completely disappear.

CP: It’s time for a fun fact. Give it to us.

Guy Smith: Did you know that the first light show, where light changed color in time to music, was for an opera in 1913?  The colors were actually written into the score.  

CP: Total ‘score’! So let’s be honest, do you get Jamiroquai on the DJs, instructing them to turn the audience into Cosmic Girls?

John Finen, Production Director & Melanie Armer, Theatrical Director: We spend a lot of time pitching some of our crazy ideas to see which ones resonate with the DJs.  We try to take what they are bringing and kick up the drama and theatrical elements without taking away the DJs’ ability to respond spontaneously to what they are feeling from the crowd.  

CP: Final thoughts?

John Finen & Melanie Armer: No two shows will ever be the same.

Don’t be the last to know what takes place during Act II of Cosmic Opera. After all, this time machine won’t be around forever. Oh wait...
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