Duet, Anyone?

High-Culture Singles at the Opera and Symphony

LET'S SAY YOU LIVE in or around Seattle, but you don't live and die for indie rock. Maybe your taste runs a little more toward the Benny than the Croc. What to do? Where to find your soul mate?

One hot stop is Bravo!, a club for opera fans in their 20s and 30s. Started in 1996, it has about 450 members. While its primary purpose is to cultivate new young audiences for the Seattle Opera, the dating benefits can't be ignored.

Bravo!'s mission is "to open people's minds and hearts and artistic souls to music," says J.J. McKay, who heads its board of directors. But he notes, "Different people have wound up going out with different people. I'd say over 50 percent of the membership is single?and, you know, professional!"

Club dues are $60 annually, which include invitations to various parties and receptions, such as last year's holiday throw-down at Bada Lounge. For two nights during the run of each opera in the SO season, a room in McCaw Hall is set aside for Bravo! members to have a glass of wine together during intermission.

"I've gotten to know people and hung out with them outside of Bravo!," says Kirsten Nesholm, a first-grade teacher in Seattle, who was a founding board member. "I've had a few dates from it. One thing I like about it is we have some common ground, something to talk about." Asked whether a straight woman is likely to find her heart's desire among a crowd of Maria Callas devotees, she hazards that straight men probably comprise half the group.

The Seattle Symphony has a similar group called WolfGang, which organizes a preconcert get-together near Benaroya Hall a half-dozen times a year. Most members "don't have any background whatsoever in classical music," says board member Jonathan Van Valin, "but they think it might be nice to hang out with people who are interested in that." WolfGang "was not created to be a singles club," he says, "but it's fair to say it's predominantly single."

mfefer@seattleweekly.com

 
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