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Courtesy photo/Chris MacRae

Dressed-down opera

Black tie optional, costumes welcome at Halloween show

You don’t have to pay gala prices or wear black-tie attire to enjoy opera.

Not all the time, anyway.

Opera on Tap is something of a national movement that takes opera singers out of the metropolitan performance halls and puts them in dive bars and snug little pubs. Denton is a recurring spot for the North Texas singers of Opera on Tap, and the vocalists will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Abbey Underground, 100 Walnut St.

There’s no cover, and you can keep those ball caps on and knock back a beer while taking in the Halloween-themed show, “Pirates and Fairies and Creepy Clowns.”

The singers will be performing in costume and have chosen pieces to fit the spooky theme of the evening. There will be a costume contest for attendees, and a prize will be awarded for the best costume.

The North Texas chapter of Opera on Tap is led by artistic director Jeffrey Snider, who is also the chairman of the vocal studies division at the University of North Texas College of Music. He has pooled talent from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including current students, former students and aspiring professionals.

The performers choose which piece or pieces they want to perform, then Snider creates the set list. With such a myriad of personal schedules to contend with, the performers are not even required to attend the single rehearsal the group has before a performance. Some singers just show up at the venue, ascend the stage when it’s their turn, and sing.

The songs are from all different operas and performed in no particular order, so audience members can come and go as they please.

— Lucinda Breeding