Now that October is in full swing here in Hudson County, it’s time to put all of the Halloween-themed events on our radar for 2023. A unique event newer to the area is Zombie Opera — which was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic and features a lineup of professional opera singers. Zombie Opera is back for its fourth year and will be held on Saturday, October 28th, including an 80s-themed prom party in the park after the opera event. This year’s opera singer lineup also includes a former professional athlete. Read on for more details about the 2023 Zombie Opera, happening at Hamilton Park in Jersey City this October.
Zombie Opera 2023 Details
“This Halloween, opera rises from the grave ,” the Zombie Opera Instagram bio reads, marking the 4th year of this unique + exciting performance. The free event will be held at Hamilton Park in Jersey City on Saturday, October 28th and starts at 6PM — followed by an 80s Prom Party in the park.
Although the Zombie Opera event does not start until 6PM, face painters, as well as food and coffee vendors, will be setting up in the park starting at 4PM. The Zombie Opera will take place from 6PM-7:30PM, and the 80s Prom Party will begin at 8:30PM, featuring a DJ playing 80s pop classics.
Photo Credit: Zombie Opera + Half-Light Productions
This year’s opera will feature singers Yohji Daquio, Molly Dunn, Kofi Hayford, Rachelle Pike, Eliam Ramos, and former NFL defensive end Ta’u Pupu’a. The performers will be singing a variety of songs from “Faust,” “La Traviata,” “La Boheme,” “Carmen,” and “Rigoletto,” to name a few.
The orchestra, conducted by Carmine Aufiero, will feature members of NYC-based orchestra TerpsiKord, and will include a zombie chorus made up of North River Sing members, students from New Jersey City University, and the local community directed by choirmaster Dr. Robert Prowsethere. There will also be an American Sign Language interpreter present. The show is directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker and founder of Half-Light Productions, Catriona Rubenis-Stevens, and produced by Catriona Rubenis-Stevens, Molly Dunn, and Teresa Origenes.
Fun fact: Jersey City vintage store Another Man’s Treasure will take part in the costume design and styling for the event.
About Zombie Opera
Photo Credit: Suzanne Fiore
Incredibly, Zombie Opera was birthed out of a connection that Jersey City neighbors formed during COVID-19.
“Catriona, our Zombie Opera director and producer, introduced me to some neighbors as the ‘town opera singer’ and we got the idea to start Stoop Operas,” Molly told Opera Wire back in 2021. “We didn’t advertise and it was very casual, but still we had a huge turnout. People loved gathering safely outside to hear live music again. We even met new opera singers at Stoop Opera, and it became a monthly outdoor concert throughout the pandemic. With Halloween 2020 around the corner, we took a chance to do a zombie-themed opera concert, ‘The Zombie Opera Mask-erade.’”
The 2020 event — which was also a fundraiser for a local performing arts school, LUX Performing Arts, was a hit. Now, the team is back in 2023 for its fourth year of Zombie Opera. In the future, the production hopes to potentially expand to an entire street in order to create an immersive walk-through experience, which locals may be able to expect in the coming years. Just last year, the event attracted almost 4,000 people, compared to around 2,500 attendees at the 2021 concert.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and dress up in 80s prom costumes. To get involved, sign up for updates, or make a donation, you can click here — and be sure to follow along on the opera’s Instagram page here.