Feel Good Friday – Philadelphia Opera Flash Mob

by admin on October 8, 2010

I love flash mob songs and dances! They are a joyous celebration that draws people in and makes their day.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

lkb October 8, 2010 at 7:49 am

Nice voices, nice music, nice attempt to bring opera to the masses.
However, I guess I’m a curmudgeon (like many of the people in the crowd). I wonder how many people there were simply trying to snag a quick bite to eat on their limited lunch break and were delayed by this performance. (Keep in mind that I seem to be the type of person who goes through the drive-thru for a Coke, only to be behind the family of 12 that hasn’t eaten for a year, each member having a special order to boot. LOL! So I’m sure this will happen to me at some point.)

Unfortunately opera still is looked on negatively by many. “Opera is where a guy gets stabbed in the back and instead of dying, he sings,” (Robert Benchley), usually screaming actually — and in Italian. I’m sure this was an effort to change that perception but some people did not look like they appreciated being sung to so loudly at close range.
This reminds me of an incident in college: The theater department decided to do a mime skit against (as I recall) nuclear war. They walked over as a group to the cafeteria and proceeded to do their thing. I’m sure they all thought it was very powerful and moving. Which it may well have been. But those of us who weren’t quietly snickering at the overwrought performance were just trying to eat lunch, dang it, and possibly trying to study for an exam, and didn’t need the theatrics at the moment.

While this was a nice thought, I’m not sure doing this in a very crowded food court was a good idea.
Just sayin’


QueenofAllThings October 8, 2010 at 7:55 am

I LOVE this! Particularly the brief glance of the hot dog vendor ‘conducting’. But who’s the killjoy plugging his ears? ;P


KarenK October 8, 2010 at 8:05 am

Fabulous! Just fabulous! The look on one guy’s face! I think he fell in love with the pretty blonde woman!


Qwisp October 8, 2010 at 8:42 am

I love flash mobs, I wish I could happen to be somewhere one was happening. They give me such a lift to watch, I can just imagine the lift I would get if they were seen in person!


kero October 8, 2010 at 9:03 am

I love flash mobs! It’s like a public Christmas gift with smiles everyhere. I wish I can be in one but wow these people are so talented!!


Princesssimmi October 8, 2010 at 9:06 am

I will never get sick of seeing this. Thanks for putting this up- I know my directions to this video probably weren’t that great!


Flora Louise October 8, 2010 at 9:21 am

Nothing like a little Verdi in the morning!

Thanks, E-hell.


lkb October 8, 2010 at 9:42 am

@Queen of all things: If it’s the person I think it is, the “killjoy” was on his cell phone. It seems to me that someone would not be using a cellphone in a crowded, noisy place as this unless absolutely necessary, so I sincerely hope that it wasn’t an emergency call of some sort that was obliterated by “some random opera singer” (as my son would call him). Another reason that I’ll be odd person out and not be enthralled by this.


David October 8, 2010 at 11:32 am

It’s probably a good thing the internet wasn’t around in my younger years, I always wanted to do stuff like this. I would love to be somewhere where one was happening.


Candra October 8, 2010 at 11:46 am

KarenK, I know! I thought the same thing.. awwww.


Ang October 8, 2010 at 11:48 am

@lkb Yeah. I have a limited lunch breake, much of which is taken by acquiring the lunch.
But I would love to experience a 3.30 minute performance of this kind during it.
And if the person on the phone is realy disturbed in some emercency call, he can distance himself from the event. By the way, I’m ‘afraid’ not very many people that are on the phone in these kind of places have really an emergency. Some people don’t get of the phone, period.


Sarah October 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

Opera singers frequently sing loud enough to project their voices in massive auditoriums without microphones, it’s probably reasonable to plug your ears for safety if they’re singing right in front of you. I don’t think they’d be offended, I think they’d understand!


Jillybean October 8, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Count me in with the people who would love to witness this kind of flash mob. 🙂 Fun stuff!


Nannyogg October 8, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Totally awesome! That really brought a smile to my face and the smiles on the faces of the people lucky enough to be there were amazing!


geekgirl October 8, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Oh my, the drinking song from my favourite opera! Even if I was trying to grab a quick bite to eat, I think having to wait a couple of moments to be served so I can hear such a gorgeous piece of music sung so beautifully would be more than worth it. Sometimes the best moments from life are the unexpected ones. They lift an ordinary day like any other into a sublime memory.

And I hope at least some of those people went home and discovered the joy of opera! (I’ll never forget taking a boyfriend of mine, who had never heard a note of opera and thought it was all fat men singing as they died, to see Wagner’s Flying Dutchman. He was utterly blown away, and loved every second)


BusyBee October 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Yet another reason to love the Reading Terminal Market!


gramma dishes October 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I would LOVE this and if I could ever be somewhere where something like this was happening it would really make my day — or my week — or my year! What a delightful experience!


QueenofAllThings October 8, 2010 at 5:21 pm

@IKB – the gentleman plugging his ears was plugging BOTH ears, so, no – he was not on his cell phone.


Victoria October 8, 2010 at 6:11 pm

For those looking to join, or just to find out where so you can watch…


You can find anything on google.

This was an awesome video. My first though when the singing started was “Ambitious much?” I didn’t even realize until the end that it was a professional group. Lovely singing, and I wish I’d seen it.


pinupgeek October 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm

What a great Flashmob–I couldn’t tell at first that they were actually singing, but it’s awesome that they were! I love Flash Mobs–I’ve participated in a dance one before for the Red Cross and it’s so much fun. And the best part is that no one’s too young or old or inexperienced for a Flash Mob. We had children as young as 6 or 7 and right in front me was a man in his 60s or 70s doing even the most strenuous movements. Check out http://www.flashmobamerica.com/ to find Flash Mobs in your area.


S October 8, 2010 at 7:22 pm

I don’t get this one. It looked to me like most of the people singing were the professional opera company members, who had those white badges on their shirts. The only people I saw singing who didn’t have those badges were the man in the red shirt and ballcap, and the man in the short-sleeved button-down. Am I to assume that they are ordinary people who 1) know the words to this song and 2) felt like singing it in public all of a sudden alongside professionals? Even if true, two people don’t really constitute a “mob.” Everyone else was basically standing around watching, with only a couple of people even swaying to the music. Not saying this wasn’t fun, but it looked to me more like an unannounced opera performance by professional singers, than a group of strangers spontaneously singing out of joy.

Every time I see a flash mob song/dance video, I always feel like I’m not really understanding something about it… Maybe this is because where I live, there are a number of groups that do unannounced song/dance performances in public, and everyone feels the proper thing to do is stand and watch them appreciatively, not join in–which would be seen as getting in the way or taking attention away from the “real” performers. From an etiquette perspective, how do you know whether you’re supposed to join in or not?


Lily October 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm

And this is why I truly love my city.


lkb October 9, 2010 at 6:21 am

I beg to differ: the gentleman to whom I was referring is the tall man in the blue shirt at approximately 1:11-1:13. In his right hand is a cell phone. One finger from his left hand is used to cover his ear so he can hear. (You can already see him at roughly 1:00-1:04 on the phone, so it seems he put up the other hand as he navigated through opera zone. You can see him later as he moves away, he has removed the other hand from his ear.) He is either trying to get out of the way to find someplace where he can hear the person on the phone or in line of people that is working its way through opera zone. From his expression, it is not likely the phone call was a life-and-death emergency — my mistake. But his call was still hampered by this performance (as evidenced by the finger in the ear).

Please don’t misunderstand. I know they are trying to bring a little joy and life to the area — I even like the song they sang. I just know that if I were trying to get through an obviously crowded place such as this — possibly to meet my train (which will not wait) and possibly having to take a call (no, we don’t know what kind of call it was — it may indeed been a passing-the-time-of-day call or a more important one), I would have been very annoyed.

To state it bluntly, for someone just trying to get where he or she needs to be and is delayed, there is no difference between this and someone blasting a boom-box of loud raucous music. It’s still inflicting one’s own musical tastes on a crowd of people who may not necessarily share it and interfering with their getting to where they need/want to be. Personally, I think that’s rude and inconsiderate.

Yes, it was only a 3-minute performance, but the bystanders didn’t know that, did they? So, it was “only” three minutes, when you need to be somewhere (Is Reading Terminal still a working terminal? I’m not from Philly.), three minutes can make all the difference in the world.

Sorry, this struck a nerve.


Zhoen October 9, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Anyone who doesn’t have time for three minutes of spontaneous joy, has more trouble than a flash mob. This is beautiful, and we all need to be shaken out of our complacency and preoccupation and open ourselves up to the wonderment of life lived. Stop and smell the flowers, watch the sunset, listen to the music when it’s there, because it won’t be there exactly when you want it.


QueenofAllThings October 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Thank you, Zhoen. I couldn’t have expressed it better.


Jillybean October 9, 2010 at 10:47 pm

@ikb – you say:

“for someone just trying to get where he or she needs to be and is delayed, there is no difference between this and someone blasting a boom-box of loud raucous music. It’s still inflicting one’s own musical tastes on a crowd of people who may not necessarily share it and interfering with their getting to where they need/want to be. Personally, I think that’s rude and inconsiderate.”

I’ll take that any day over all the people on their cellphones subjecting everyone to their marital problems, medical issues, shopping lists, arguments with their kids, play-by-play run down of their Friday night drinking binge, and on and on and on. People have no more right to a cell phone conversation in public than a group has to a spontaneous performance. Personally I think phone calls belong in private. I think people who talk on their cell phones in public (barring an emergency) are the ones who are inconsiderate and rude. To each their own, I suppose.


Kitten October 10, 2010 at 1:40 am

RTM is a marketplace, not a terminal. It’s a great place to grab a good lunch or hang out or get groceries, but it is not an awesome place for a super quick lunch (unless you go after three in the afternoon) or for long or short telephone conversations. Hell, I’ve had conversations on my cell there with my finger in my ear during the normal rush. It also has a piano you have to sign up to use but which is normally being played, so there’s normally live music going at the place. They used to have a jazz band come in every Friday and they’d move the lunch tables out of the way for it. It also features a ton of people talking and yelling at each other. It’s got events and large crowds caused by weird events are not that unusual. If you want a super quick and quiet lunch, there’s other options in the area too.

The long and short of it is, I would not have been weirded out by people singing randomly when I was having lunch there every day, nor would it have inconvenienced me in any significant manner.


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