What is an hour in the life of a major metropolis? An ambitious new project at New York’s High Line attempts to quantify that ephemeral idea through music, immersive performance, and community engagement. Hitting its first notes last Wednesday and running through Monday, 1,000 singers of all ages and backgrounds, culled from across the five boroughs and its many choral groups, have transformed the elevated park into a temporary stage to produce The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock, a collective, “freeform” piece that doubles as an innovative social experiment.
During its six-day stretch, visitors are active participants as they wander the scenic park, enveloping themselves in stories reenacted by singers and culled from hundreds of real New Yorkers. In an attempt to convey the feeling of living in a rapidly changing city through song, each singer is given a form of illumination—whether a light up visor or hat or simply the glow of an iPhone—to give the normally idyllic High Line a haunted glow.