PLARIA (noun) is a portmanteau word that blends the words ‘play’ and ‘aria’. It is used to describe operatic works that have been written or adapted for staging as spoken/traditional plays with selected musical moments. As such, plarias might be best understood as being hybrid operatic musicals, performed by actors and singers, accompanied by live musicians or pre-recorded music.
The plaria art form was first developed in 2015 by Ella Marchment, the artistic director of Helios Collective, primarily as a means of (1) making opera works more accessible to non-opera audiences, and (2) offering traditional opera audiences alternatives to standard opera productions.
The first plaria – an adaptation of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger, written for the stage and directed by Ella Marchment – was performed by actors, singers, and musicians as a Helios Collective production, and it premiered to critical acclaim at Theatre N16 in London, in October 2015.