‘Animated Arias’ is a love letter to art and music


Photo by Melvin Mikolon

An animation featured in the show titled, “Non So Piu Cosa Son” which depicted the life of a mayfly

Written By Ash Harter, For The Globe

The blending of animation and opera may seem to be a star-crossed combination. But, Animated Arias solidifies the relationship between opera and animation, minus the romantic Shakespearean tragedy. This musical menagerie does not require familiarity with opera to enjoy.

The second year showing took place on October 14, at the PNC theater, at 7:30 PM.

Animated Arias went beyond a viewing experience. It successfully piques a new interest in the operatic art form and persuades its viewers to see opera through a new, animated lens. This “odd couple” style of an event felt as though achieved what several family reunions could never do: it bridged the gap between young and old. The host, alike the weird uncle showing up, attempted to convince the audience to see the Pittsburgh Opera’s showing of the Marriage Of Figaro.

The Arias set the stage with Black-Clad singers, who greeted the audiences with emotional, enchanting soliloquies before the animation was shown, followed by a question and answer session with the animators. The last part of the program featured the animation paired with each singer. The experienced was reminiscent of the transition between silent films to the emergence of “Talkies.”

Each animated aria could make even the most emotionally stoic father’s heart well up with emotion.

Non So Piu Cosa Son, One of the shorts animated by Melvin Mikolon followed the short-lived life of a mayfly. This cyclical piece pulls at the heartstrings.

Jonathan Trueblood taught the Digi 350 class for Junior Animation Majors at Point Park University.

“I love the process of animation. I love seeing what the students come up with and how they take their ideas all the way to execution,” said Trueblood.

The crowd seemed to have a life of its own. It consisted of people in the upper age range, who one might assume are more well-versed in opera. There were little to no children in the audience. Opera is not only for old-timers and animation is not just for little kids. There are so many layers to each art form that the Animated Arias managed to demonstrate in just over an hour.

“I think this is an unfortunate symptom of the cultural view of animation as purely for children in western society. I think that likely stems from the fact most people in older generations have only ever seen animation catered to children, whereas art forms like Opera are catered primarily toward adults,” said Mikolon

“Animation is also viewed frequently as a genre rather than a medium, which only serves to further separate it from being recognized as a versatile tool to tell stories of all kinds, even ones for adults,” said Mikolon

The program also showcased animations from last year’s production. This captivating creation of the old mixed with the new created an air of nostalgia. Animated Arias also included returning student guests.

“I loved the event. Seeing the new projects was refreshing for me. I’d seen the old countless times, but it was the first time I got to witness these. I’m definitely proud of their work,” Holder said.

The marriage of animation and opera sang a sweet harmony that makes the audience contemplate how much they know about art. Opera and animation may be strange bedfellows,

but the production is worth attending. Animated Arias was beautiful matrimony that is sure to last for several years to come.