Q: What is this? Is this an opera?
A: BLISS is an immersive performance art piece that replays three sublime minutes of The Marriage of Figaro with the same cast and same orchestra without pause for twelve hours. The scene, in which Count Almaviva pleads for, and ultimately wins, the Countess’s forgiveness, features some of the most heavenly music Mozart composed. BLISS creates the feeling of an eternal looped moment of repentance and grace, of free-falling in sublime transcendence in this immersive experience.
Q. The Michigan Building?
BLISS will mark the first live performance being performed in the iconic Michigan Building Theatre at 220 Bagley since its conversion to a parking center, breaking a fifty-year performance hiatus in the venue. Audiences are invited to come and go as they please, staying for 12 minutes or all 12 hours, with a “pay what you can” admission. This site-specific re-staging of the work by MOT Artistic Director Yuval Sharon aims to capture a state of wonder as sublime music and a landmark Detroit gem meet.
Q: Another garage? Will I have to drive through like Twilight: GODS?
A: Yes, we’re back in another garage but BLISS offers a different experience for our audience. This production is an immersive experience in an active parking garage, and access to the performance space requires walking up a ramp. As you make your way through the garage to the performance on the top floor, you will be able to see parts of the historic architecture that once was the Michigan Theater. Again, BLISS will be taking place in an active parking garage so please be mindful just in case cars are coming and going and keep a close eye on small children.
Q: I may need some help getting up the ramps. What should I do?
A: Patrons who require any assistance can note that when purchasing your ticket at michiganopera.org. Just click the box that says, “I will need mobility assistance,” and provide any details necessary to help us make this an enjoyable experience for you. If you previously purchased your tickets, simply advise any staff member and they will ensure safe transportation up the ramps.
Q: Do I have to stay all 12 hours?
A: Stay for 12 minutes or 12 hours, the choice is up to you! The singers and orchestra will be performing a marathon, repeating the same 3 minutes of music for 12 hours. You will be given a wristband upon exit that will allow you to come and go as you please.
Q: Whose crazy idea is this?
A: BLISS was conceived and first performed by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. Celebrated for his endurance-based performances and video installations, Ragnar Kjartansson incorporates all of the arts—musical, theatrical, literary, filmic, and plastic—into his opulent, ironic, and deeply human works, which he describes as “always about a feeling, but there’s no story.”
Q: Can people really sing and play an instrument for 12 hours straight with no break?
A: Any opera is like an extreme sport, requiring so much dedication and stamina. BLISS takes that notion and offers a marathon unlike any other. The superhuman feat of it, and watching the artists push through exhaustion, is part of what makes this project so inspiring for the audience.
Q: What does “pay what you can” mean?
A: We don’t want any barriers to stand in the way of you experiencing BLISS. We suggest each person pay $20 for the experience, but if that is challenging, pay 20 cents a person! And if you love the concept and want to support MOT in doing more work like BLISS, don’t hesitate to pay $200 a person! Bottom line: consider your ticket price a way to cheer on the artists and MOT at your comfort level.
Q: Where do I park?
A: Patrons are encouraged to park locally in any of the many surrounding parking areas. You can pay for parking ahead of time by visiting www.parkwhiz.com. In the search bar, type in the Michigan Building Theatre’s address, 220 Bagley Avenue, Detroit, MI. You’ll be shown several safe parking options. Be sure to adjust your arrival and departure date to September 25 and choose a time slot that works for you.
Q: Will this performance be streamed online?
A: This live experience is once-in-a-lifetime….You’ll just have to be there!
Q: If a time slot is full, does that mean the performance is sold out?
A: A small portion of reservations are available in advance. More tickets will be available at the Michigan Building Theater on a first-come, first-serve basis during the event. Just come on down!
Q: I’m vaccinated. Do I need a mask?
A: For the safety of all, facial coverings are required during BLISS, regardless of vaccination status. The safety of guests, artists, and staff is Michigan Opera Theatre’s greatest priority for performances and workplace conditions. Special edition masks will be available when you arrive to help you feel even more immersed in the experience.
Q: Am I able to bring snacks?
A: Beverages are allowed into the performance but please, no food. Before or after your BLISS experience, consider visiting one of the many local restaurants in the area such as Savannah Blue, Lumen, PAO, Buddy’s, The Royce, Cliff Bell’s and more. The options are endless; make your trip a day to support Detroit arts and businesses.
Q: Where can I use the restroom?
A: Luxury restroom stalls will be available for use on the ground floor.
Q: Immersive experience? Can I talk to the artists?
A: We highly encourage you to move throughout the performance space on the indicated pathways, but we ask that you remain silent during your stay. Please no flash photography.
Q. What if I want to buy tickets that day?
A: We encourage advance purchases, however, tickets will be available for purchase all day onsite. Credit card sales are preferred.
Q. What if it rains?
A: This is an indoor experience. Although it is covered, there are large open areas that allow outside air to flow into the structure. The garage is not climate controlled so please dress for the weather.
Q: Did I hear something about a gallery preview? Is it part of Bliss?
A: Before or after you experience BLISS, be sure to check out Ocean Body, a work by Helga Davis and Shara Nova, the new installation at Wasserman Projects in Eastern Market. It is open from 12 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. A free shuttle will run between the Michigan Theatre Building and Wasserman Projects from 12 noon to 9:00 p.m. For additional info, visit wassermanprojects.com. It is a separate experience and available for our guests via the shuttle if they choose.