I got this from His Hermeneuticalness.

I don’t know about you, but I think this would be really fun.

Here is a flash mob with a difference. Over 30 members of the The Opera Company of Philadelphia burst into the “Brindisi” of La Traviata at the Reading Terminal Market Italian Festival. A fun video for a summer afternoon.

Can you imagine?

And try this one from the market in Valencia.  Again… La Traviata.

What is it about this opera that lends itself to markets?

And here it is again in of all places … Detroit?


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool, Lighter fare, SESSIUNCULA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Jayna says:

    That’s awesome. Not a bad way to advertise either. How many people there you think are giving opera a second thought?

  2. K. Marie says:

    That’s the best flash mob ever! I am totally passing this along even if my grandparents are the only people I can actually convince to watch it.(I will never understand why my fellow 16yr olds will listen to gangster rap, but not opera)

  3. scaron says:

    Pretty much the coolest thing I have seen in a very long time. Why doesn’t stuff like that ever happen to me?

  4. kat says:

    That was awesome.
    I assume most everyone here has already seen the Sound of Music one and…I know there’s another one somewhere like this too, in public and as a surprise

  5. AnAmericanMother says:

    Next: Gregorian Chant Flash Mob. I’d do it.

  6. RCOkie says:

    I’d love to have this happen to me while I was out sometime. What a lovely surprise it would be.

  7. Joe in Canada says:

    When I was young I went to a High Anglican College (which still has a chapter but has lost its Catholicism). We started ‘The Society for the Propogation of Gilbert and Sullivan at Inappropriate Moments’, which usually meant ‘Tit Willow’ after Grace at Formal Meal. We weren’t very brave, nor as cool as this bunch.

  8. Joe in Canada says:

    sorry, ‘chapel’.

  9. Bravissimi! Father, you made my day. Thanks for passing this along!

  10. robtbrown says:

    I know a woman who was eating at Romano’s Macaroni Grill with a friend. They jumped up and did a duet from an opera. The people were thrilled, and the manager came over, immediately offering them jobs. They politely declined, saying that they were already occupied as professors of voice at a university, who occasionally also performed.

  11. I hope to see a flash mob during Cardinal Mahoney’s Liturgical Horror-Fest Education Congress or something with the mob chanting “Te Deum” or “O salutaris”. Can’t wait to see the cardinal’s face.

    That would be…AWESOME!

  12. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Love it! Talk about musical immersion! haha.

    I wish it would happen in our area, although DC ain’t exactly the cultural capital of the world.

    I want to sing along when it does!

  13. Joan M says:

    What a wonderful start to my day!! Thank you Fr. Z. for posting that. It is wonderful.

  14. Philangelus says:

    Will there be flash mobs in Heaven? Large groups of angels suddenly putting on scenes from various operas and oratorios?

  15. GordonB says:

    Better yet, what about a flash Rosary mob– or a flash decade of the Rosary mob?

  16. introibo says:

    I’m not a huge opera fan(my tastes run more toward orchestral stuff) but this aria is so infectious…..love it!

  17. chironomo says:

    I, of course, suspect that this was arranged as a VERY CREATIVE advertising effort. Opera is seriously failing in most major urban markets. New ticket subscribers are desperately needed. What better way than to relate to people interested in Italian culture (this was an Italian Festival?) what absolute FUN and EXCITEMENT there is in Opera. It takes it out of the museum and brings it back to the streets. I would guess that there will be more of these ocurring around the metro area from time to time…

  18. susanna says:

    Bravi! Bravi! what fun advertising.

  19. If you look carefully at the “Italian Festival” signs over their heads, you’ll see that they advertise a special appearance by the opera company. They just don’t say when or where or how. :)

  20. irishgirl says:

    Oh, that was fun! Loved seeing the expressions on the spectators’ faces!

    I was bopping along to the tune here at the library. I’ve heard it many times before, but never knew it was from ‘La Traviata’!

    Would you do something like that, Fr. Z? Maybe in Gregorian chant?

    thepinyoncatholic-Ha! I’d love your idea!

  21. William says:

    Now that’s a class act! Multi, multi grazie!

  22. Jerry says:

    @Tina – “I wish it would happen in our area, although DC ain’t exactly the cultural capital of the world.”

    Is Baltimore close enough?


  23. Jason Keener says:

    Love it!

  24. marajoy says:

    I love the guy in the background, a ways into it, who is PLUGGING HIS EARS! lolol!

  25. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Pretty darn cool. I used to live in NYC, where we have Improv Everywhere (a comedy group), but that was a really neat Flashmob.

    The chorus is evidence that some folks are just built to sing opera. (FYI, I’m built to sing opera, too).

    Now if they’d only do a nice version of Va Pensiero….

  26. William says:

    Thanks, Rob Cartusciello. Guess what I’ll be humming for the rest of the day?

  27. Hans says:

    One of the related links is from the central market in Valencia last November:


    I like how they get the crowd involved.

  28. medievalist says:

    Next thing you know, Fr Finnigan whips out a field altar, Fr Blake sheds his trenchcoat to reveal a dalmatic, and Fr Z completes the flash mob with ‘Introibo ad altare Dei…’.

    Did I mention my flash mob takes place in the foyer of NCR…who promptly have heart attacks? Now where to find a willing cappa magna wielding bishop…

  29. Hans says:

    I dunno, medievalist, the earth’s crust might not be able to take the strain of such opposites in so close proximity. I thought Fr. Z standing in front of the NCR building would set off the New Madrid fault zone or discover fractures under the Missouri River.

  30. Hans: When I went to the HQ of the NCR I actually thought about that. I mean, think of how that fault is already being strained by the proximity of the NCR to Bp. Finn’s HQ!

  31. Konichiwa says:

    I would have liked to been able to sing with them. Of course, I’d need to do some serious practise and training.

  32. New Sister says:

    those filled me with GLEE! THANK YOU!!!

  33. The ending sign in the Valencia one says something like “See how much you like opera?”

  34. PostCatholic says:

    That’s the kind of drinking from chalices even I can get behind.

  35. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Jerry, Baltimore is close! even tho they cheated using the Washington Opera LOL. Time to go hang out at DCs Eastern Market just in case I guess.

  36. Robert_H says:

    Wonderful. Glorious. Thank you, Father Z.

  37. Hans says:

    Fr. John Zuhlsdorf wrote:

    Hans: When I went to the HQ of the NCR I actually thought about that. I mean, think of how that fault is already being strained by the proximity of the NCR to Bp. Finn’s HQ!


    I suppose it’s a demonstration of God’s mercy after the fashion of Genesis 18:20-32 (or 2 Peter 3:9, if you prefer).

  38. pvmkmyer says:

    Father, the reason for the popularity is obvious to anyone who knows La Traviata — it’s the most famous drinking song in all of opera!

  39. mysticalrose says:

    That rocks! But I wish I had known it was happening– I would have headed for the Market!

  40. Supertradmum says:

    I loved these. But, what is an “elephant ear”?

  41. Hans says:

    An elephant ear, Supertradmum, is either this fried dough or this plant.

  42. catholicmidwest says:

    These people are doing more for Western Culture than even they might imagine. When most people think of Western Culture, they think of business culture, 20th century authors and Tupperware. They need to hear the REAL thing to appreciate REAL Western culture.

    I concur that Catholics should have flash mobs, Latin flash mobs that sing Gregorian chant and Catholic classical music in unexpected places. You’d be surprised how many people are walking around on the edge of decision on how their lives should go. Most people have never heard such a thing and it can be a catalyst for good. Such a thing can have enormous consequences, even though it might seem small and merely humorous at the time.

  43. catholicmidewst: How about a roving Polyphonic Flash Mob which suddenly starts singing a Palestrina Mass during some parish’s Mass?

    That would be an “unexpected place”.

  44. AnAmericanMother says:


    Sign me up!


    We’ve done this occasionally in various semi-public places, my family covers all the parts and it’s a theatrical family so we have no shame at all. Byrd and Tallis motets, mostly, although when a local Italian restaurant sang ‘happy birthday’ to my dad in Italian, he stood up and favored them with a Mozart aria (wish I could remember which one).

    The most we’ve ever dared to do at somebody else’s Mass is sing descants.

    What’s amazing is the response that we’ve gotten in places like shopping malls or restaurants when we sing Byrd or Tallis. Not applause – a hush and soft murmuring. People seem to realize that it is sacred music.

  45. catholicmidwest says:

    SWEET! I’d love it.

  46. catholicmidwest says:

    I’m not just kidding though. A few “spontaneously planned” Catholic events would be a great thing. Some people never think about us because they can never identify us. We should fix that.

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