Soapstone is a rock found in only a few places on earth – in Alaska, Brazil, Finland and Central Virginia. Over the years, industry took 600,000 tons of it from quarries in Nelson County. Now, two of those quarries have been turned into a garden of native plants, and this summer that garden will host a surprising performance.
On July 24th, a French horn will solo in the Quarry Gardens of Schuyler. Also on the program, an accordion, percussion and two singers from the Metropolitan Opera who are known for their ability to project.
“We do not like to use microphones in our work,” says Brenda Patterson, co-founder of Charlottesville’s Victory Hall Opera. During the pandemic the company was confined to performances online, but now it returns with a live, outdoor show using the quarry’s rock walls to naturally amplify sound.
“We believe that the power of the live operatic voice, just acoustically produced from the singer’s body, is actually the point of opera,” Patterson explains.
Tickets go on sale through Victory Hall’s website Saturday, and with just one performance planned and attendance limited to 50 people, Patterson predicts a speedy sell-out. At different points in the program, concert-goers will be invited to walk along the wood-chipped path that surrounds the quarry, and seating will be limited to a few portable stools. For more information, visit Victory Hall's website: